November Update

Since February a lot has happened here at The Growing Peace Project

-Our Vermont and Minnesota schools continued to work together through letters, Skype, and their community projects.  One school focused on climate change and global warming, and the other focused on bullying.  They held an anti-bullying day at their school and educated the other students on where and how bullying happens.

-We had a very successful fundraising campaign that allowed us to fly 9 students and 2 teachers from Minnesota for our summer retreat.  We were also able to host students from Virginia, New York, and of course Vermont.  Funding is always a challenge; we hope to do a major campaign this year to help us become more self-sustaining.

-The retreat was held in August.  Our theme was “conflict” – internal, interpersonal, family, community, global.  We held workshops, did role plays, and worked in small and large groups to better understand the nature of conflict and develop strategies for dealing with it.  We added 3 pieces this year that were a big hit – a storyteller, a guest speaker, and a staff member all sharing experiences with conflict through spoken word and movement.   See our Facebook page for some great photos!

-When I started The Growing Peace Project my initial vision was that over time we would empower a cadre of student activists.  At the 2013 retreat we had students returning for their 2nd and 3rd years, and they’re eager to participate in future leadership roles.  It’s exciting to work with these students and watch them mature and take on issues that are important to them.

-We invited our Minneapolis school to work with us for a second year.  They’re collaborating this 2013-14 school year with a school in Houston, Texas.  Both schools happen to be charters with similar goals and cultures, although their communities look very different.  They have begun their letter exchanges and are just now beginning to think about social justice and issues in their communities.  We have a Skype call planned for December.

-I have been to Houston twice, first to meet the students and then to meet their parents. It was thoroughly enjoyable both times.  Although I already know many of the Minneapolis kids I hope to get to their school this year and see them on their home turf!


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