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Young people are leaders in the Church right here, right now. We at Peacebuilders take seriously their capability to exercise this leadership as agents of transformation in their schools, parishes, neighborhoods, and beyond.
Each spring we invite roughly fifty high-school sophomores and juniors from around Chicagoland to join Peacebuilders Initiative for a yearlong adventure of self-discovery, growth, and faith. The remarkable young people that participate, motivated by their abiding faith in a God of love, learn how to use their gifts in order to redress the violence and injustice they see around them.
Peacebuilders Initiative hires a team of talented mentors to serve as companions for the participants’ yearlong journey. Our mentors come from a variety of backgrounds, foreign countries, and ministries, but are alike in their ability to work with young people and in their passion for calling forth and enabling leadership.
Mentors work collaboratively with the Peacebuilders staff to coordinate and facilitate daily activities during the summer program and during the fall and spring retreats. Throughout the yearlong program, mentors will accompany a small group of participants in their peacebuilding journey by maintaining an ongoing and supportive relationship with them.
Our partners help the dreams of our participants come alive! During the school year that follows the summer program, the contact people at our partnering schools and parishes work closely with the participants on their peace projects, which seek to bring about the participants’ vision of a transformed community - one that is more peaceful, loving, and just. Our “partner contacts” at these institutions also help recruit students to participate in the program, and are invited to participate in continuing education opportunities at Catholic Theological Union. The continuity provided by the contact people at each partnering school or parish helps integrate and enhance the Peacebuilders experience for each student.
The Peacebuilders staff oversees the content for and coordinates the logistics of all programming components, including the summer program and the fall and spring retreats. Additionally, they select the participant group, hire and supervise the mentor team, and work collaboratively with the Advisory Board to ensure the sustainability of the program.