People always say children are our future. Each generation will grow up to become the leaders of tomorrow and shape our world. How do we ensure that we help youth become the best versions of themselves?
, a PDF grantee, has found a way.
After seeing Chicago communities torn apart by violence and meeting young people affected by trauma, Changing Worlds created a project to begin the healing process. Their innovative school-based peace project integrates arts with academics to promote long-term academic and social success. The project helps students develop self-identity and promote civic engagement practices to support peacemaking.
Students are encouraged to reflect on the concepts of peace and empathy, and then channel those reflections into their interactions with others in the community.
For Oral History Day, students interviewed community members. They gained understanding about the people interviewed and their personal commitment to their neighborhood’s overall well-being. Students also connected the various cultures and backgrounds they all share through the creation of a mural.
Other students that were part of the project brainstormed three topics; what peace looks like, what they would like to express to Mr. Trump, and things they would like to see happen in their neighborhood. Students used these topics as the subjects of spoken world poems that were performed at Community Day. This project was so successful that it has been expanded to three new schools.
Last year, Changing Worlds was able to impact 1,598 students through direct programming. While the numbers are impressive, what is more impressive is the impact. As one student said, "One thing I learned is to always use your voice because your voice is the weapon to fight injustice...your voice matters."