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 5th grade classrooms throughout New York City's Upper West Side.
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.
The educational outreach portion of the Program begins in early October and early February and each lasts for eight consecutive weeks. The program volunteers teach 60-90 minute sessions in which they conduct discussions on the origins and nature of conflict, role-play scenerios that focus on the students' personal conflicts, make the peace games, and facilitate other interactive activities. 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 games than emphasize cooperation as opposed to competition.
One key teaching tool is the invention, production and presentation by the students of "win-win games" - games that result in "win-win" situations for players who work together to reach a common goal. Working in small groups, the students are encouraged to address concerns from their lives as themes for the games. Once the students have completed the Peace by PEACE Curriculum, they will have learned both the skills of peace and the application of these skills by creating an original project.