Project PEACE Presented with 2019 Peacemaker in Our Midst Award
- Pennsylvania Bar Association
Project PEACE was honored by the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg with the 2019 Peacemaker in Our Midst Award during its annual Peace Symposium on Saturday, September 21, 20919 at Elizabethtown College. Project PEACE (Peaceful Endings through Authorities, Children and Educators) is a peer mediation, anti-bullying and youth court training program implemented in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office that provides the Commonwealth’s children with the ability to peacefully resolve disputes. David Trevaskis, developer and original trainer for Project PEACE represented the Pennsylvania Bar Association at the event. Jerry Mitchell, outreach specialist for the Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General, represented General Josh Shapiro.
Under the program, young students are educated in the skills of conflict resolution that are necessary for civic participation. Bullying prevention education is also provided to staff, parents, students and the community through the Olweus Bullying Prevention program. Around fifth grade, youth courts are introduced. This public-private partnership introduces dispute resolution techniques to elementary school students throughout the Commonwealth.
Originally brought to Pennsylvania by then Attorney General Mike Fisher in 1999 and then-PBA President Lou Teti, after the tragedy at Columbine High School, the program has continued to flourish under seven subsequent Attorney Generals including Attorney General Shapiro. Twenty presidents of the PBA, including current President Anne John, have endorsed the program and over the past twenty years Project PEACE has brought conflict resolution and antiviolence programming, directly and indirectly, to nearly 300 Pennsylvania schools.
All schools, regardless of socioeconomic status, diversity and location, have been forced by outbreaks of violence, large and small, to confront the issue of conflict among school students, and to help students address and resolve such conflict before it escalates into violence.
Project PEACE’s initial efforts at tackling the problem of violence has led to a broader look at building involved communities, first at the school level, and then beyond. In this era of high stakes testing, when double periods of math and reading are taking the place traditionally reserved for social studies in the early grades, Project PEACE also provides a valuable means of providing civic learning in the schools.
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