Interactions for Peace

The Cathedral is celebrating The Annual International Day of Peace by featuring three events. In addition to showing a beautiful an Academy Award nominated film Tangerines, Saturday, Sept. 19, the other two events will feature Ms. Eden Steele from the Interactions for Peace in the forum on Sunday, Sept. 20 and a follow-up workshop on October 3rd. The following article describes the courageous work Ms. Steele has been doing over the past twenty years. I commend this article to you. –
The Rev Richard Lief
Interactions for Peace – Bullying Prevention/Peace Education 
In 1989 as a classroom teacher, I observed the sensitivity of our youth and their desire to have an environment where they could be safe and accepted. My beliefs and variety of educational experiences led me to develop the first I4p ~ Peace Patrol © where upper grade students learned and practiced the skills and strategies needed to resolve conflicts peacefully.  In 1994 when Peace Patrol-Creating a New Generation of Problem Solvers and Peacemakers was published, I wrote about our experiences spreading Peace Patrols to other schools expanding our dream for a more peaceful world. 
And the journey that began with Peace Patrol continued on!
The elementary school students who had learned the Peace Patrol process, moved on to middle schools and high schools where there were no peer mediation programs.  In order to foster the continuation of non-violent conflict resolution, the middle/high school implementation program was developed. The next step on our journey was to ensure the continuation of successful curriculum and processes through the middle/high school.  We use the tried and true skills and strategies of the Peace Patrol curriculum with adaptations to meet the maturity and experiential needs of older students.
As we entered a new millennium, our nation was devastated with the increase of school violence where students not only bullied one another, but also killed and injured one another. We reflected upon what action must now be taken to intensify our efforts to teach our youth to be peacemakers today.  The words of Mahatma Gandhi rang loud and clear, “If we are to have real peace in the world, we must begin with the children.”   Thus, the I4P ~ Primary Peacemakers Program was born.  Kaye Pesavento shared her experiences, expertise and love for children as we developed this unique program. We know that our little ones are able to experience and learn how to live in a peaceful place. Our pre-school/kindergarten through second/third grade students now have appropriate curriculum and can look forward to being Peace Patrol members. 
In 2000 we also focused our attention on bullying.  What is it?  Who does it? What does the research tell us about the aggressor, the target, and the bystander? In studying the answers to these questions, the I4P Bullying Prevention Program was born. Mary Lou Fredrickson, I4P Middle School Director, researched, developed and implemented bully prevention lessons at Irving Middle School in Lincoln, Nebraska. This curriculum was shared with schools throughout the United States.
In 2008 our Global Peace Patrol began!  Carol Macagba and Eden Steele started a Peace Patrol program in the LORMA School in San Juan La Union Philippines. And in 2009, the Homing Dove International Schools in Adjumani, Arua and Moyo Uganda Africa welcomed our Peace Patrol trainers, Wadri Patrick and Stacy Calderon.  Teachers, Administrators and students were trained in peaceful conflict resolution in both locations. In 2012 we are working with organizations in Nepal and Kenya to spread peaceful interactions.
In 2011, I4P organized and completed a Bullying Behavior Research Project, getting over 700 responses from people of all ages and in all locations throughout San Diego County. We formed a coalition of organizations in San Diego to develop and implement a regional Bullying Behavior Symposium held at the University of San Diego. Our new publication, Bullying Awareness, contains the original lessons to develop skills and strategies, and current research as well as the Bullying Behavior Research Project results. Information is also included about the new, Tunnel of Bullying Experience.
Our journey continues as we participate in community service events and projects throughout our area.
INTERACTIONS FOR PEACE© now includes a complete curriculum and a range of activities, experiences, workshops and programs to meet the needs of our youngest children, the complex needs of adolescents and the multifaceted needs of adults in the 21st century. The incredible power of having a seamless system of integrated programs which empower and inspire our youth to discover the peacemaker within themselves and to serve their community through peaceful interactions, has the potential of changing how a new generation meets bullying and conflict.
And our journey continues!  We welcome you to join us!
Eden Steele
I4P Founder and Executive Director

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