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Featured Sites

PeacePartners, Inc. honors our valued partners by celebrating their passion for peace, their creative ideas, and the wonderful implementation strategies they incorporate.

As we continue to support our partners, it is our privilege to showcase PeaceBuilders sites. Don't just take our word for it. Read about some featured sites as they explored their problems, developed their PeaceBuilders solution, and discovered positive outcomes! We invite you to sit back and explore the fantastic PeaceBuilding events happening throughout the United States and U.S. Territories.

Lakeside Middle School - Lakeside, CA
PeaceBuilders teens want to help make the decisions that shape their school. They want a voice in developing a safe yet authentic and fun school culture.

At Lakeside Middle School, students help decide both the expression and the direction of PeaceBuilders at their site. They have a say in how the program is implemented and in what it looks like. Because of their wise input, PeaceBuilders has taken a strong hold at this amazing school.

Recently, a group of teens at LMS completed PeaceBuilders' PeaceMediator training - an intensive two day workshop to teach teens at PeaceBuilders sites the skills of peer mediation.

Not only did they shine during the training, gaining insight and specialized skills, they showed enthusiasm and an inclusive attitude that was inspirational.

One training activity, called the Put-Down Minefield, demonstrates the importance of careful listening, clear communication, and team-work. Students training to be peer mediators work in pairs to navigate through a minefield of put-downs. (They are asked to brainstorm put-downs that commonly occur at their school and then write them down on pieces of construction paper to serve as the mines.) Each team has a guide and a blind-folded partner. It is the guide's mission to safely lead his or her blind-folded partner through the put-down minefield.

It is the blind-folded partner's job to listen carefully and follow instructions in order to avoid the put-down mines! These partners navigated their way through the minefield with no problem.

Among many skills necessary for peer mediation, effective listening and communication skills are taught and practiced during the training and in follow up sessions with adult advisors. During the training, the mediation process is broken down into concrete steps that PeaceMediators will follow in order to help their peers tell their story, hear the other side, identify the real problem(s), and find a win-win solution to their conflict.

The young people also engage in numerous role-plays that help prepare them for the challenges they will face when they begin to mediate conflicts with peers. Conflict resolution skills prove invaluable to students and staff at the middle and high school level, but they are also important life skills. The ability to mediate conflicts benefits young people as they enter the job market and is equally helpful in their interpersonal relationships.

To help establish bonds and to create a sense of collaboration at the end of each training day, students at LMS enthusiastically engaged in activities during which they gave each other praise and encouragement.

On day one, they formed PraiseTrains by clipping a piece of construction paper to their backs and walking around the room filling each other's pages with praise for what they accomplished and how the behaved throughout the day.



After a few short minutes everyone's page was getting filled with praise!

At the end of the second day, they all participated in a PraiseWeb. Passing a ball of yarn, they took turns praising each other for their abilities and attitude.

They began by sitting in a circle. After being praised, each person wrapped the yarn around his or her hand and passed it to someone else along with words of praise.

Fairly quickly, the web began to develop.

Their teacher and advisor, Ms. Mary Goins, was pulled into the web when she received praise from one of her appreciative students.

At the end, when everyone had given and received praise, a powerful visual was created. The teens could clearly see how praise could be used to unite and strengthen them as a team. These young people, who were already leaders at their school, could better understand the need for them to work together and be wise people for each other and all their peers.

When young people step up to the plate and take on the responsibility of creating the change they want to see at their site, they become true PeaceBuilders. They become strong, effective leaders. We are proud of the staff at Lakeside Middle School for their continuing efforts to give their students a strong voice. We are proud of the students for expressing themselves peacefully.

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