Janet Seltman, a program committee member for the Empowering Voices for Peace and Justice Program in Pittsburgh, leads a group as they reflect on the US occupation of Iraq.
The Help Increase the Peace (HIP) program was developed by the American Friends Service Committee staff in Syracuse, New York, in 1991 as a youth-oriented program to address the epidemic of violence in schools. HIP is based on the conviction that nonviolence and participation in our communities can better each of us and our world.
Workshops focus on three themes: options to violence; dealing with racism, prejudices, and our differences; and the belief that we can each participate in our communities to bring about positive social change.
HIP training is composed of three levels of workshops, each three days long, with increases in skills. The building blocks of the workshops are affirmation, communication, cooperation, conflict resolution, and prejudice reduction. HIP uses cooperative games, discussions, role-playing, and lively group activities to build skills.
A number of young people who have gone through HIP have become workshop leaders or assistants. HIP facilitators are of various ages, races, and genders-- reflecting the different audiences of HIP.
HIP has been effectively applied in middle and high schools where administrators, teachers, and staff members enjoyed and praised the program. It has also been used with adults and mixed ages in community centers, church basements, offices, and on college campuses. HIP teaches leadership skills, builds community, and increases participants' self-esteem. It is, by design, fun, easy to replicate, and can be adapted for different audiences and situations. HIP can go anywhere!
Peace by Piece is a youth program that builds peace one young person at a time. It engages, employs, and empowers young people to be peace leaders in their schools and communities. The program facilitates the use of artistic expression to demonstrate alternatives to violence. The program is coordinated by AFSC's New Orleans office and works closely with youth and young adults to promote peace using peer-to-peer learning strategies, arts, and organizing.
Using interactive workshops, young people share tools to address violence in their neighborhoods and schools. The program focuses on the arts as an alternative means of self-expression and healing. Peace by Piece youth interns use a variety of art forms including dance, hip hop, and drawing to teach principled solutions to conflict.