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Local organization developing curriculum to teach peace to students

The program's goal is to teach peace concepts to students through documentary films
Courtesy of Twitter @peaceworkstv

An organization based in Waterloo Region is hoping to spread their message of peace to young minds. 

Peaceworks currently runs both live and online programming for students with the goal of encouraging kids to become peacemakers themselves. 

"Peace is a very large subject and there could be all sorts of things that feed into that," Stephen Jarnick, Director of Peaceworks tells "But basically empowering student peacemakers is our tagline."

Currently, their major focus is their annual Peace Day Ontario, which invites students out to the Paris Fair Grounds and includes guest speakers to help spread the message. 

According to Jarnick, they are currently in the process of developing a subscription based curriculum that he hopes to spread internationally. 

"We are finding as we move forward we are getting into other teen and pre-teen issues. So the ways that we can help kids navigate their way through all the things that all the things teenagers have traditionally always faced." 

Along with their partners Kids Help Phone, Mennonite Central Committee and World Vision the program will use documentary films to help teach kids the concept of peace. One of the films being adapted into the curriculum is The Elmira Case, a documentary focussing on an Ontario judge's decision in Waterloo Region that began the Restorative Justice Movement around the world.

"Restorative justice is just so important for peace," Jarnick says. "The idea of somebody does something wrong, a crime, in society we automatically go to punish them, lock them up or in extreme cases execute them. But I think for peace builders the idea is to change those people's hearts and hopefully turn them around." 

While the program will be open to anyone, Peaceworks will be offering discounted rates to school boards who want to enroll multiple students. There will also be offers made to police departments, as Jarnick believes a target audience for the program will be kids who have violent tendencies and anger issues. 

"If we talk about the extreme's pretty obvious that they will be less violent and more likely to think about the other person's perspective, have some compassion and empathy for other people, which sometimes does not come naturally. We are hoping we can elevate that in kids that are maybe tough kids sometimes."

The program is going to be a source of revenue for the organization so they can continue to spread their message. They plan to officially launch their new curriculum program at their Peace Day Ontario on May 30. 



Dana Roberts

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