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Volume 1, Issue 1 Featured School


Success Stories


GCA Project Updates


Southeast News




HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO: Casey Grennan (1/21) Rody Thompson (2/6) Jordan Bilbrew (2/23) India Williams (2/27)

Find us on PeaceJam Southeast @PeaceJamSE

Along with my partners, Felicia and Sarah, I coach fourth-graders at Astoria Park Elementary School. We coach after school and our normal group size is about 10 students. We are usually there for about an hour and spend about one hour a week planning our lesson for the day. Last semester, we introduced our students to three Nobel Peace Laureates: Alfred Nobel, The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. With each story, we played games with the kids and led them in activities and discussions. To begin each session, we ask our students to tell us about something peaceful they had done in the past week and challenge them to do peaceful things purposefully. Afterwards, we usually play a game with them since it was already about 4:30 p.m. and they had in class all day, we use this as a way for them to release all that natural energy children have. Next, we moved into PeaceJam curriculum and had them read the story aloud. Afterwards, we have them do an

February 2013

activity or a journal. Our first story was Alfred Nobel and the students learned the meaning of peace and why the Nobel Peace Prize was created. As games, we did mainly icebreaker style games to get to know them better. An activity we did was have them create Nobel Peace Prizes to give to someone who they felt deserved one. Our second story was the Dalai Lama. His story teaches the value of being caring and compassionate. One day, we played a PeaceJam themed charades type game with them. For journal activities, we had them draw a picture of themselves doing something compassionate and share it with the group. We also had other writing topics. The next story we did was Desmond Tutu and the theme of his story was patience and anger management. I taught the students a South African children’s game called “Mbube, Mbube” which is similar to Continued on page 2

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The Peace Diaries

“One of the most rewarding aspects of being a coach is seeing the individual growth within each of your students. We personally love the “aha” moments that occur when a student connects what they’ve previously learned to the current material.” - Ashley Whiting, coach at Hartsfield Elementary “One week, we had the students write in their Peace Journals about what they did over the holiday break. We usually choose a few kids to come to the front of the group and read aloud their journal entry. I would say that a success story for these kids is that

after time.” - India Wells, coach at Oak Ridge Elementary

despite being giggled at and sometimes interrupted by their classmates as they read their entries, they continue to raise their hands and volunteer to share their stories time

“Yesterday in class, we had a journal involving drastic changes in your life and how did you deal/handle it. Many of our students opened up. One student said that one morning, he woke up and just wanted to be better, so now he is making sure he goes to school and does work. - Amanda Merced, coach at Palmer Munroe Teen Center

the American game “Hot and Cold,” and the students loved it. We used it as an incentive for them to behave in sessions. One of the activities we did with them was a patience scenario about what would they do if their best friend broke their favorite toy. The story of Desmond Tutu created really great group discussions for our students. Our students are all African-American except for Destiny, who is Caucasian. Tutu’s story explained the Apartheid in South Africa and all of the students related the Apartheid back to race-related issues here in the United States. They shared how they felt about racial segregation and stories they heard in their families. One of our students, Destiny, shared a story about her Caucasian grandmother getting in trouble as a child for trying to help an AfricanAmerican. I truly enjoyed the experience of coaching and I’m glad that I can continue it next semester. I love hearing our students’ reactions, stories, and insights. Also, I truly enjoy working with my coaching partners Felicia and Sarah. Both of them have been amazing to work with and are so good at coaching. -Leanna Lakeram, coach at Astoria Park Elementary

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“We are in the brainstorming phase of our GCA. They really want to do something to benefit women and children in poverty. This week, they decided that they want to work with a bigger organization that has local offices in Tallahassee and do some type of fundraiser in order to benefit the organization. We are still looking and researching what organization we want to work with in order to benefit women and children.” -Catherine Weisz, coach at Montford Middle School “Our group at Lincoln High school consists of about 15 girls that have

The Peace Diaries

chosen “Rights for Women and Children and their Role as Leaders” as their GCA- how fitting! While we have discussed plans to fund-raise for various organizations that support this crucial population, we have shifted our focus to empowering the girls that sit in our own classroom. Lincoln has a diverse group of students with a variety of backgrounds. Every Thursday, we put that all aside and get together to share in positivity and support. Since our start last semester, we have seen tremendous growth among a few of our members in particular. One student comes from a large family and can sometimes be

reserved, fearing that she will not be heard. She is now one of our most passionate attendees, always bringing laughter to our group. Another is shy but full of great ideas and overflowing with potential. She is taking leadership in many ways and we feel strongly that she will help to carry the PeaceJam torch through her high school experience. We're excited to see how our "sisterhood" continues to develop into amazing young leaders! “ -Taylor Fabrega, coach at Lincoln High School

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This past weekend, members of PeaceJam Southeast had the chance to travel to Nashville, Tennessee to help implement the first ever Mid-South PeaceJam Conference! Michelle Avaroma, Desirae Brown, Amy Correia, Matthew Madonia and I integrated ourselves into the mentor group made up of Belmont University students, and helped them begin their journey through the PeaceJam process. From training, to team building games, to overall conference logistics, PeaceJam Southeast was able to help ignite the flame within these Mid-South

The Peace Diaries

students and help them put on an extremely successful conference. It was incredible being able to see the students, both the mentors and participants, grow throughout the weekend and strengthen their ideas of social justice and what it means to make a difference in our world. Furthermore, such an experience made the global perspective and scope of PeaceJam come to life and allowed us to witness how sustainable and far-reaching this program can be. It strengthened our bond as Southeast mentors, as well as our connection to PeaceJam

as a whole. The weekend was definitely unforgettable and we can't way to see the Mid-South flourish in the coming years! -Ashley Hilmer, coach at Rickards High and Education Chair for Student Leadership Council.

WORK WITH NOBEL PEACE LAUREATES! MENTOR AT THE 2013 PEACEJAM CONFERENCE! APPLICATIONS DUE FEB. 8TH Inspire youth alongside Nobel Peace Laureate, Oscar Arias-Sanchez, former President of Costa Rica! We are currently recruiting for mentors, who will facilitate high school groups of approximately 15 students during the PeaceJam Conference, April 13th14th, 2013. Training is required, but no prior mentorship experience is necessary. Mentors will work closely with our visiting Nobel Peace Laureate, Oscar Arias Sanchez from Costa Rica. Applications are available online, and are due February 8th by 11:59pm. No late applications will be accepted. To find out more about this opportunity, please visit or contact Jaime Bayo at

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Photo Credit: Ashley Hilmer

Volume 1, Issue 1

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Thank you to all of the PeaceJam Southeast Coaches for their hard work and contribution to our program!

Newsletter Design: Leanna Lakeram

For more information, please contact: Rody Thompson, PeaceJam Southeast Director E-mail: Phone: (850) 645-8782

Feb 2013 Newsletter  

PeaceJam Southeast's Newsletter