Young people have the imagination and intelligence necessary to develop creative solutions to the difficult problems of conflict and confrontation in their communities and lives. But they need to be taught to look beyond violence in their attempts to resolve their differences and be given opportunities to learn the cooperative skills essential to peaceably live in today's challenging world. Through critical thinking on the origins of conflict and the means of resolving conflict, today's young people can become tomorrow's successful problem solvers.
Community Impact helps sponsor the Peace by PEACE Program in New York City to encourage young people to recognize non-violent conflict resolution alternatives and give them the necessary tools to peaceably solve their conflicts. The Program sends groups of Columbia University volunteers into elementary school classrooms in Harlem. The schools are only about a 10 minute walk from Columbia campus.
All Peace by PEACE volunteers receive training in conflict resolution, curriculum instruction and general teaching strategies along with discussions on cultural and ethnic sensitivity. Throughout the program, volunteers meet regularly to share teaching experiences and strategies, as well as to evaluate the curriculum.
We have programs throughout both the Fall and Spring semesters. Volunteers teach for 1 hour a week in the classroom in which they conduct discussions on the origins and nature of conflict, role-play scenarios that focus on the students' personal conflicts. They teach through a series of interactive games, activities, skits, and art. The students take a critical look at conflict in both their communitites and their own lives and learn how to resolve problems through compromise and mediation. Moreover, students are given the opportunity to learn through "win-win" games that emphasize cooperation as opposed to competition.