Youth Resources for Art, Poetry & Community Action Projects
A Force More Powerful
A Force More Powerful is a book, a movie, and a video game! These resources teach about nonviolent strategies for social change. The powerful movie shows images of anti-segregation lunch counter sit-ins in Nashville, Gandhi's march to the sea to obtain independence for India, and other non-violent movements in Poland, South Africa, Denmark, and Chile. Here is a link to my video interview about using A Force More Powerful.
Against All Odds: The game that lets you experience what it’s like to be a refugee
The game is haunting, but there are numerous teacher resources to help you understand the issues and take action on behalf of refugees.
American Friends Service Committee: Youth and Militarism Project
At the Youth and Militarism homepage of AFSC, selective service, conscientious objector, and military in schools information is featured.
Art Miles Mural Project
The founders express this wish, “By growing up in a world of bigotry and racism, sexism, and all the other "isms" that exist, this mural project works like an electric eraser. They wash away the years of tears, the injured heart, the clipped wings, the prisons and ropes that always get in the way of letting us care, really care, about each other….” View murals on various themes or create a mural with your own school or community group.
Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream
We may like their ice cream, but check out their activism to see the power of business to promote the social good! “We seek and support nonviolent ways to achieve peace and justice. We believe government resources are more productively used in meeting human needs than in building and maintaining weapons systems.” There are links to such issues as environmentally healthy farming, living wage for workers, fair trade products, and more.
Dream Flag Project
This site allows students and teachers to read student poems about peace and other dreams and hopes. Classes are invited to participate in making their own Dream Flags. Inspired by the poetry of Langston Hughes and the prayer flags of Nepal, the program originated in the Philadelphia area, but invites worldwide participation in its annual events.
Canadian Red Cross: Global Issues Youth Club
These pages give step-by-step advice on setting up a youth club and taking action on issues you care about. Click around to find good ideas on picking an issue, setting up a group, getting out your message, and taking action.
Friends Center for National Legislation [FCNL]
The FCNL is a lobbying group whose mission is “to advance social and economic justice, peace, and good government.” Here are links to help you spread your own message to your local leaders and your community. How to start a letter campaign, how to write an op-ed to the newspaper, how to handle a talk show—advice is given here.
- Peace Toolbox
FCNL provides helpful fact sheets on various issues. This link leads to the Peace Toolbox, with information on the cost of war and prevention of deadly conflict. Search the site for materials to help you take action on other issues.
Hague Appeal for Peace
A Time to Abolish War: a youth-created handbook for peace education with case studies of different war areas and youth suggestions/actions for peace. Includes bios of peace people, readable activities summaries, and good contacts lists. An excellent classroom resource, this link leads to a free pdf download.
A project of the Alliance for Climate Protection, page lists actions and ideas of youth climate activists.
This children's peace project invites children from all parts of the world to create paintings the same size as Pablo Picasso's Guernica (3.5 m × 7.8m) to express their hopes for peace and their protests of war. Many of these paintings are viewable on the site, and instructions for joining the project are clear and welcoming.
Founded by Holocaust Survivor Gerda Klein and her husband Kurt, the Klein Foundation “creates the opportunity for young people to understand the world and translate that understanding into positive action.” The Foundation “teaches tolerance and respect for others, and encourages community service focusing on ending hunger.” Links on the site provide access to other service organizations, as well as materials developed in partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center (see more at http://www.splcenter.org/center/splcreport/article.jsp?aid=147 )
PeaceJam.org is an organization that brings young people and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates together to work on peace projects. Their excellent website provides biographies, speeches, and background information on the 12 Laureates who work with PeaceJam. These include Oscar Arias, the Dalai Lama, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Rigoberta Menchu Tum. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Betty Williams. Examples of student-initiated action projects are available on this richly linked site. Action project ideas abound.
Roots & Shoots
“Founded by Dr. Jane Goodall, the Roots & Shoots program inspires youth of all ages to make a difference by becoming involved in their communities. Each Roots & Shoots group plans and implements service-learning projects that promote care and concern for animals, the environment, and the human community.” The website provides curriculum materials for activism and global awareness for student groups from elementary to university settings.
United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization [UNESCO]
UNESCO introduced the Power of Peace Network to invite youth around the world to use video and new media to communicate across cultures and foster “cultural self-expression, mutual understanding, the reduction of conflict incidents, and the support of sustainable living.” Youth-created videos are available to view on a wide variety of peacebuilding topics. Create a video!
United States Institute of Peace
An independent and nonpartisan organization, “USIP provides the analysis, training and tools that prevent and end conflicts, promotes stability and professionalizes the field of peacebuilding….” This video encourages youth to become involved in global peacebuilding, showing examples of youth from Iraq, for example, who have started programs in their own countries. Follow the site for news of the Global Peacebuilding Center in Washington, DC.
- National Peace Essay Contest This USIP contest for high school students promotes thinking and action about such questions as this one from the 2012 contest: “How can new media best be leveraged to help build peace and prevent conflict?”
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation site has videos, poetry, and links for youth outreach.