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Inspirational Tuesday: Peace First

July 13, 2010

Eric D. Dawson believes that in order to create a world where people live in peace, you must start with children. He founded Peace First with the idea that, if we can eradicate violence from our schools, we can build from there.

Dawson says the first step is changing the way we view children. Usually, adults quickly assume command when a fight breaks out at school. They divide the kids into categories: perpetrators, victims, and witnesses, and dish out punishments. But this approach fails to engage the students as problem solvers, so little improves in the long run.

Peace First strives to empower and teach kids to be peacemakers. For almost 20 years, the organization has taught techniques of nonviolence to tens of thousands of elementary and middle school kids in the U.S. and abroad. “School culture” completely changes, and the students become peacemakers.

Photo credit: Jessica McWade

“Kids get Peace First as a class every year from kindergarten to eighth grade taught by young adult mentors from the community. We do intensive work with classroom teachers to focus on their work with kids, [as well as] with the school principal to focus on the school culture and climate.

They spend the first half of the year learning the concepts: fairness, perspective-taking, empathy. In the second half of the year, they apply it to community problem-solving. So by January we’ll have thousands of kids who will go out into their communities and make a difference.”

World peace one school at a time.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 16, 2010 5:07 pm

    That is so cool! Hopefully those lessons will stay with them through their lives. That’s the benefit of starting young, right?

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