‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ This recognized saying has been at the forefront of conversation throughout the week, as our youth discussed what it means to be a leader and the responsibility and obligation that come with leadership. As the participants accepted their Certificate of Achievement in recognition of the completion of the Global Institute, they knew of the responsibility that they were taking upon themselves by becoming young leaders. This moment of acceptance was one that they had been preparing for over the course of the past 10 days, and throughout their involvement in Kids4Peace over the years. Every piece of information, skill learned, tool gained, and outcome of their participation in this program has allowed them to grow and use their capabilities towards creating a positive change. Now, as they move on to the next phase of their work with Kids4Peace and take charge as the youth leaders helping to lead the movement, they are even more encouraged and prepared to create real change.
“I consider all of you my colleagues” – Fr. Josh, Director of Kids4Peace International
Two final important aspects of the Global Institute took place today, before they became graduates. The youth spent time this morning creating a plan for how they were going to bring what they gained from the Global Institute home with them and work towards creating a positive change in their own communities. Whether that overlapped with their continued involvement in Kids4Peace chapters back home, or expanded past the Kid4Peace community, these young leaders were so excited and passionate about this next phase of their story. In Jerusalem, the youth will move on to the YAP track of the chapter there and are already thinking of new programs and ideas to increase their impact on creating peace. In the US, every person thought about issues going on in the country and specifically in their hometowns and began working on plans for how to overcome these issues.
“I want to work on poverty in my community and finds ways to end poverty there. I will take the leadership and advocacy skills that I’ve gained to help spread the word and get more people involved in coming together to solve this issue”– Risa, Jewish, Seattle
Kids4Peace will be there for each and every person, as they continue on their journey towards making a change, and this community and family will always remain as tight-knitted as it is tonight. Additionally, the youth know that the communities around them back home can be important tools to help them in their work.
“I now know how important it is to utilize your community and the people you have around you” – Monica, Christian, Seattle
The second, concluding aspect of these past 10 days, was community service acts. The group divided into three and volunteered at the Urban Greens Farm, The D.C. Central Kitchen, and the Common Goods City Farm. Even when it started to rain, the kids who were working on the farms continued their work until they weren’t able to anymore. It was a really important and meaningful aspect of the program, and a perfect way to conclude this experience where they have learned so much about giving back.
“‘If we’re not going to do it, who else will’ is a lesson that we’ve learned over these 10 days and we’re applying it to our work here, today.” – Kareem, Muslim, Jerusalem
This group of incredible and devoted people are the leaders of tomorrow. They are the future of change and the future of peace. And tonight, they became official graduates of the Global Institute and began their journey to the next phase of peace and advocacy work. It was an emotional night, filled with tears of joy and tears of sadness to be separating from these friends whom they have made such deep connections with. These past 10 days, though intense, flew by fast and though they might not want to leave these memories behind, they are more than ready for the next steps.
“While this might be a graduation ceremony, it is only the beginning of your next phase in Kids4Peace, and we can’t wait to see what you accomplish in the future.” – Jordan Goldwarg, Director of the Global Institute