Since the inception of Peacebuilders Initiative in 2001, hundreds of unique Peace Projects have been developed and implemented by high school youth in their schools, parishes, and communities throughout the Chicagoland area. The following selection of Peace Projects illustrates the diversity of constituents served, issues addressed, and institutions impacted by our participants.
- “Bringing Elders and Teens Together”: St. Giles Parish – Concerned with the loneliness experienced by elders in her community, this Peacebuilder started a committee of youth who would regularly visit a low-income elderly community in her neighborhood.
- “Freedom Through Song”:Nazareth Academy – Inspired by the work of Harmony, Hope and Healing where she served during the summer program, this Peacebuilder built a bridge between her school choir and the choir at St. Martin de Porres House of Hope. Together, they performed at the school’s Christmas prayer service.
- “Gad’s Hill Outreach”: Cristo Rey Jesuit High School–Wanting to work toward reconciliation and lessen gang-related violence, a participant mobilized her fellow Cristo Rey students to create an ongoing after school tutoring program at Gad's Hill Center in a low-income community on Chicago's Westside.
- “His Enthusiastic Youth (H.E.Y.!)”: St. James Parish – Interested in opening the eyes of youth in their parish, these two Peacebuilders started an organization of youth, led by youth committed to service, breaking down social barriers and building strong relationships within the church.
- “Switch It Up”: San Miguel School– Frustrated by the negative way their neighborhood is typically portrayed in the local media, this pair of Peacebuilders produced, directed, and edited an 18-minute documentary that sheds light on all the positive people and organizations that make them proud to live in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. The film made its debut at the community dance they organized to celebrate and expand the peacemaking efforts alive in their neighborhood.
Other possible projects might include:
- Developing a joint retreat program between racially diverse high schools with a focus on cultural diversity and tolerance.
- Researching well-known and/or local Peacebuilders. Create educational tools such as a video, one-act play, art show, musical concert to convey their stories, struggles and accomplishments in the areas of peace and reconciliation.
- Becoming a "Peace Educator" by giving talks or creating skits about peace and non-violent strategies for relationship building to elementary schools.
- Organizing and hosting a lecture series on racial tensions.
- Organizing field trips to service sites for fellow students interested in seeing Catholic peacebuilding in action. Invite guest speakers from each site to come to your school, youth group, or parish
- Hosting a workshop on conflict resolution and reconciliation.
- Beginning a Recycling Program.
- Starting a "Read To Feed" program in your parish school community with Heifer International, an organization dedicated to world hunger through sustainable agriculture and livestock.
- Hosting Special Olympics events.
- Beginning a chapter of Pax Christi or Amnesty International in your school or parish community.
- Sponsoring a Hunger Awareness Week.
Participants develop the project in consultation with the Peacebuilders partner from their school or parish and their mentors. As they prepare and implement the project, the partners and mentors help the participants reflect on the way such activities deepen and express their faith.
Click Here to Learn About the Peace Project Process