|Community Service Learning|
Community Service Learning Community Service Learning Projects, or Peacemaker Projects, are a key component of Peace First’s signature program. Through a guided process that emphasizes “student voice”, classmates choose an issue of concern to them in their school or community and work together to identify a creative solution that has lasting impact. Below are a few examples of the thousands of Peacemaker Projects our students have completed.
A three-year, school-wide project connected Peace First students with local high school art students and a community agency to reclaim a three-block long fence that had been vandalized. Peace First students worked all spring one year to create a peace mural along one section of the fence. Each year, the team extended the mural, section by section, to sustain the impact of this project. As a result, school-community collaboration was strengthened and students were able to transform their neighborhood. Since then, we have worked with the school to create additional peacemaker murals to beautify the school and showcase their commitment to peacemaking.
A first grade class chose to focus on the issue of homelessness for their Peace First Community Service Learning project. They decided to collect books, stuffed animals, games, and clothes, and donated them to a local shelter for battered women and children who became homeless. The students not only learned about the complexity of homelessness as a social problem; they also learned that they have the power to contribute to a positive solution. Since that time, Peace First students across our regions have made a commitment to serving the homeless through various service projects.
Recycling Project: In the spring of 2009, a Peace First kindergarten class in New York wanted to highlight the waste of styrofoam lunch trays they saw piling up each day. They decided to collect every used tray over two lunch periods and build a structure of all of the freestanding trays. The structure sat by the auditorium entrance with a posted explanation and photos, and was later moved to the school yard, to raise more awareness in the school. The principal showcased the project to community guests that spring, which caught the attention of the city’s Mayor. As a result of the students’ protests about school waste, the Mayor instituted a widespread initiative to reduce tray waste in schools, demonstrating the lasting impact of these students’ efforts.