March 27, 2013
Peace Learning Center is a wonderful resource for Indianapolis area teachers and community organizations. As campus minister at Providence Cristo Rey High School (2007-2012) I annually engaged a team of PLC facilitators to guide the freshman retreat. During the course of the day, the PLC leaders taught the PCR students principles of Conflict Resolution, team building processes, and communication skills for responding to others nonviolently. I always scheduled the retreat during the first month of the school year. I was always pleased to observe the students applying what they learned at the retreat as they met daily challenges. More recently, I have been volunteering as a facilitator with the Focus 2020 process. This is a well-conceived four phase project designed to generate a "grass roots" driven strategic plan to improve the quality of life for all who live and work in the greater Marion County area. The process begins with a listening session in which groups of residents (often intergenerational in make-up) talk about their current view of where the community is, then dream a vision for the future together before getting practical about what it will take to stimulate change. Participants then can choose from a variety of skill-building sessions, and engage with their peers in larger gatherings called Chatauquas. Those who complete the prerequisite hours then can apply for seed grants to help them initiate community improvement efforts. In each session that I have participated, I have been energized by the creativity and imagination, the commitment and determination of the attendees. As this process continues to unfold, I am sure we will see a number of wonderful projects unfold that will bring new vitality to Indianapolis neighborhoods. In addition to these efforts, I am grateful to the Peace Learning Center for sponsoring and co-sponsoring community-wide events like the annual MLK Jr. Day that enable me and others to broader our horizons as I have heard speakers who give me a window into the experience of racism and human rights violations in other parts of the world. I encourage all to visit the PLC website often PeaceLearningCenter.org to keep up to date on the variety of events they offer.
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