February 2015 Newsletter    
Dear Friends,

Five years ago, we launched the first Jerusalem Peacebuilders (JPB) Leadership Camp at Acer Farm in Brattleboro. Kids4Peace provided the first eleven campers.  Answering pleas for volunteers, our dear friends Angie and Stuart Kensinger and various educators rearranged their summer plans to be with us. 


Since that first summer, our partnership with Kids4Peace has expanded. Educators from around the world work with the campers, and the JPB staff and volunteers have become a practiced team. JPB  programs advance leadership, social justice, spiritual resilience, interfaith understanding and friendships.

In 2014, JPB operated two Leadership Camp sessions in Brattleboro, an intermediate camp in Houston and a family program in Jerusalem.  Next year, we plan to operate three leadership sessions in Vermont and an expanded program in Texas, involving 100 teens!

Reconnecting with young leaders at the Notre Dame Hotel in Jerusalem

Today JPB stands ready for its next steps as an effective peace-building organization. To expand our scope, capacity and impact in 2015, we intend to accomplish the following:

1. Harness Israeli and Palestinian expertise for the improvement of JPB's educational designs. 

2. Develop experiential programs in Israel and Palestine to reach more families.

3. Design peace and leadership programs for schools in the U.S. and Jerusalem.

4. Place a program coordinator in Jerusalem to assist local partners actively with their programming.     


By trusting, volunteering and supporting JPB, you made possible this opportunity to reach more families.  The hard work, giving and prayers needed for the summer peace camps fuels the momentum we enjoy today. 

Dorothy joins me in thanking you for your friendship, confidence and generosity.  You dared to believe that peace is possible in Jerusalem, and we are deeply grateful.  


Five years ago, we planted a promise of peace in the hearts of eleven Israeli, Palestinian and American teens.  May the Almighty bless us as we share this promise with more teens and their families.

Peace, Fr. Nicholas + 
Because the Future of Jerusalem is the Future of the World
2014 Financial Overview and 2015 Budget:   
Thanks to your friendship, trust and generosity, JPB Leadership Camp in Brattleboro experienced record growth in 2014. Revenue increased from just under $100,000 in 2013 to $127,000 in 2014 - a 30% increase in donor support!  But the important story is how your gifts changed the lives of the teens participating in the camp programs.

You helped the Leadership Camp to operate two sessions at Acer Farm in Brattleboro; you funded an internship dedicated to improving JPB's program design; and you provided scholarships for talented young leaders. More teens participated in the camp, more families became committed and more communities received needed hope because of your gifts.

In addition, JPB expanded its educational outreach in New England, raising our public profile and engaging new people. Our goal is to reach an international audience with examples of hope and opportunities to engage and respond.
Clearly, you had enormous impact in 2014 and made this year's opportunities possible. While many peace-building organizations receive significant government or corporate funding, JPB is supported by the generosity and the involvement of dedicated individuals. Thank you for your generosity in 2014 and for your continued passion for our pioneering work in 2015.
Because the Future of Jerusalem is the Future of the World
Jerusalem Report

January brought a visit to Jerusalem. JPB Treasurer Stuart Kensinger and Assistant Camp Director Jack Karn joined me on this ten-day trip.


Our purpose was three-fold: 1) to attend the Kids4Peace International (K4P) Board meeting, 2) to meet with incoming campers and alumni, and 3) to pursue program leads in Israel and Palestine. Throughout our stay, we renewed friendships, met fellow peace-builders and gained a greater sense of realities in the Holy Land since the recent war in Gaza.


Along with our responsibilities for JPB in Houston and Brattleboro, both Stuart and I are members of the K4P board.  This K4P meeting involved approving the draft 2015 budget and crafting a long-term strategy. The board's plans to develop its U.S. programs will provide JPB with new opportunities.  


Psalm 87

On the holy mountain stands the city God has founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.


Glorious things are spoken of you, 

O city of our God.


"I count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me; behold Philistia, Tyre, and Ethiopia: in Zion were they born."


Of Zion it shall be said, "Everyone was born in her, and the Most High himself shall sustain her."


The LORD will record as he enrolls the peoples, "These also were born there."

Stuart, Jack and I also met with the incoming campers and their parents. They are a promising and dynamic bunch. Time with JPB's impressive alumni was a blessing too. Many are preparing for college or military-service; all remain committed to each other and to peace.


Between snow-storms, we met with fellow peace-builders in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Two afternoons were spent with a project involving  families in Jerusalem. Another two focused on exploring  possibilities for adults and older teens.
Leadership Camp Staff Reunion in Tel Aviv with Karin, Jack and Sarah 

The trip convinced us of the need to broaden JPB's programs and deepen JPB's partnerships so that we may honor our calling as peacemakers and builders of a new Jerusalem.
Shalom, salaam, Fr. Nicholas +
West Bank hiking trip with local youth

Our Interfaith Work Recognized:
News story in the Fairfield Citizen
Click Here
Because the Future of Jerusalem is the Future of the World
Catching up with Leadership Counselor: Guy Saar Ruso 

Describe your background in JPB-K4P?
I am an Israeli living in Ein Karem, a small village near Jerusalem, where I have two young children and a loving wife. I come from a diplomatic family and speak English, Spanish and Hebrew.  Entering my fourth year with K4P, I serve as the Jewish adviser for the leadership program. This will be my third year at JPB's Acer Farm Leadership Camp.    

How did you get involved in JPB-K4P?
After serving as a special forces Sargent in Gaza for two years, it was my course in life to become a peace worker. Looking to be more involved in the conflict I grew up with, I took an invitation to join K4P. For the past two years, I have served as the Israeli counselor for the Leadership Camp in Brattleboro. I am currently involved in running K4P's leadership program in Jerusalem.

How have your experiences in JPB-K4P influenced your thinking and actions?

This work helps me wake up in the morning with a renewed sense of hope and faith. With G-d's help, we can work together to recover what has been lost in the land of Israel and Palestine and see each other for who we are again.

In Memoriam
+ + +
Joan Neiley of Fairfield, Ct died on 15 January 2015 after a courageous struggle with ALS.  A devoted mother, Episcopalian and patron of JPB, Joan helped to organize fund-raising events in Connecticut for the Leadership Camp at Acer Farm.  Her humor, curiosity and determination are already missed.  May she rest in peace and rise in the Lord's glory.
+ + +  

Easy On-line Giving


The greatest investment is Peace

Donate on-line by clicking our logo 
Donation cheques should be payable to
"K4P Int. - Leadership Camp"
and sent to:
Kids4Peace International, 
3300 Chimney Rock, Suite 301, 
Houston, TX 77056 USA

JPB's fiscal sponsor, Kids4Peace Int., Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization (EIN 20-5419759) and all donations are tax-deductible


Impact Evaluation


In December, the SIT Graduate Institute Monitoring and Evaluation project with JPB successfully concluded. The three evaluation teams delivered their findings in formal presentations and written reports. Their recommendations were: 1) to extend the leadership camp program, 2) to strengthen preparation for the specific application of skills when youth return home, 3) and to expand our work to involve other organizations. 
We welcome their recommendations.  Accordingly, we added a day to the 2015 leadership camp schedule, and we will devote ample program-time to prepare our youth for the application of their leadership skills upon their return home.  We are also actively exploring new relationships with local area high schools, youth groups and non-profits.
SIT graduate students deliver their final reports to Fr. Nicholas
2015 Summer Camp Dates:  
  Brattleboro: 21 July - 2 August
  Houston: 5 August - 16 August   
Because the Future of Jerusalem is the Future of the World