This week at Kids4Peace Jerusalem was a packed one! With a Counselors in Training (CIT) skill development workshop for the 10th-12th grade Youth Action Program (YAP), an overnight seminar for the 9th grade Leadership group and a sports day for the 6th and 7th grade Pathways to Peace group, our kids and staff were kept engaged and busy.
At the skill development workshop, the nine youth in attendance started out the afternoon by talking about expectations and what it means to be a counselor in Kids4Peace. “I keep coming back to Kids4Peace because of the people. From the beginning, I felt very comfortable, and the counselors helped me feel that way,” Adan said. The others in the room nodded and Charlie chimed in: “Yeah, the counselors were really fun, which helped us connect to one another more. We learned a lot from them – what it meant to be in Kids4Peace, what it meant to be a leader.”
The whole group again murmured their agreement. Guy, the YAP coordinator, asked the group to continue thinking about how the counselors affected their involvement in K4P and what it was like to be in Kids4Peace when they were younger. “The counselors treated us well, because they understood how it felt to be a youth in Kids4Peace, they could relate to our experiences. Everyone in Kids4Peace was friendly and easy to approach, because we all came with the same purpose to make friends and get to know one another,” Zeena said.
The rest of the evening was filled with learning and training activities. They talked about boundaries, about responsibilities, how to react to different scenarios. They talked about the 6th and 7th grade Pathways to Peace summer camp which they will be counselors for and went over details and plans. The whole evening was very exciting for this group, who have been waiting to be counselors and follow in the footsteps of their older friends and role models in Kids4Peace for years. They have another skill development workshop next week, and we can’t wait to see the amazing and inspiring group of counselors they are going to become!
Thank you to USAID for making this Skill Development Workshop possible.
Next stop that same evening was the 9th grade Leadership overnight seminar. Upon arrival, the group excitedly hugged each other and caught up. First on the agenda was filling out a questionnaire that they had also filled out over a year ago. This questionnaire will serve as an impact report and internal Kids4Peace review, as we study our impact over the years and how opinions and values change or stay the same depending on time and programmatic schema.
After filling out the questionnaire, the group gathered together to begin talking about their expectations for the next year, as they get ready to join the 10th-12th grade Youth Action Program. They talked about ideas for action they can take in their neighborhoods and Jerusalem as a whole. They brainstormed in groups, discussing what it means to be leaders of change in their communities, in Jerusalem, and what skills they hope to gain in the next few months which will allow them to become those leaders.
After dinner, the group sat in a circle inside and began talking about their most exciting program yet: the 2017 Summer Washington D.C. Global Institute. In D.C., this group will meet politicians, academics and activists. They will tell their stories and learn more about public advocacy and storytelling. They will volunteer, explore the monuments, learn about U.S. History and activism, learn what it really means to be a leader for, and within, their generation. To end the first night of activities, two of the YAP participants, Adan and Zeena, came to speak to the group about their experiences in D.C. last summer, and the staff watched as they already put their counselor in training skills to work, leading and facilitating the discussion.
Adan talked about what it meant to her to speak to politicians in Washington: “We were able to turn our frustrations into public speaking. We sat with American leaders and were able to share our stories and tell them why this conflict matters, and how it is affecting us. Public speaking is challenging, you have to be vulnerable, to speak about what matters to you and help them understand what it is we are doing. Show them why you matter, why your story matters, why they should help this generation.” Zeena nodded in agreement and said, “It’s an amazing opportunity. Take it. They are meeting with you and want to hear your story. The Global Institute helped me understand that we can have an impact on the people listening, we actually have that power.”
Adan and Zeena are pictured below, in the top right corner speaking to the group.
The next morning was the 6th and 7th grade Pathways to Peace Sports Day! The day consisted of different teams going from station to station, which included Lacrosse, Tennis, Baseball, Art and Relay Race. Thanks to Israel Lacrosse, Baseball leKulam, Freddie Krivine – Tennis for volunteering your time and energy to join us and teach our youth these sports!
Thank you to USAID for making Sports Day possible.