Magazine article UN Chronicle

Building Peaceful Communities

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Building Peaceful Communities

Article excerpt

No easy answers exist to the problems of youth violence, poverty and hopelessness, but as United States Secretary of State Colin Powell once stated, "sometimes the best single thing you can do for an inner-city kid is to show him or her that there's a whole different world beyond the neighbourhoods where they live, and that he or she can achieve a rewarding career in that other world." It is precisely this sense of empowerment that the Peacemaker Corps strives to instill not only in the youths who participate in the training programme but also in the adults who lead the peacemaking workshops.

It is the goal of PCA to recruit trainers from the local community, primarily women from low-income backgrounds, people who know first-hand the issues of violence and conflict that young people have to face every day. Volunteers complete a comprehensive two-day interactive programme and have the opportunity to hone their new-found peacemaking skills by participating as junior facilitators in the youth training. As graduates of the facilitation-training programme, they become consultants for the Peacemaker Corps and are compensated for each youth training session they conduct.

Most recently, PCA has formed alliances with organizations such as Jim Brown's Amer-I-Can/Unity One, Small Kindness, Parents of Watts, Chrysalis and Younglife Urban to find adults who are eager to be trained and help the Peacemaker Corps accomplish its mission of empowering the young in the art of making peace. Explains Darryl Jones of Younglife Urban: "The Peacemaker Corps gives tools and resources to the adults who know what the problems in their community are and inspires them, as well as the kids, to encourage others to focus on those problems. …

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