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Our Message

Kids Create Peace Message

"KCP CHANGED MY LIFE FOREVER!" - Francisco, alum now Soph. - P.S. H.S.

The approach of KCP is unique –It’s pre-emptive. It teaches kids how to prevent conflict before it begins, by increasing harmony and cooperation instead of competition in school, on the playground and home environments.

Program Goals: Students learn how to cooperate, to treat each other with respect, create together, and transform disagreements – even conflict – into peaceful and productive outcomes.

Attaining the Goals: Kids Create Peace is an hour in length, offered once a week, during or after the school day. A variety of methods engage the kids, including discussion, video clips, skits, student presentations, games, and role-playing. This direct experience of the shifts they can create in relationships, circumstances and events empowers them to carry what they now know to all parts of their lives.

Sites for the Program currently are public, charter and private schools in the Coachella Valley, California school districts. The pilot year (2011-12) was hosted by Vista del Monte Elementary, in Palm Springs. Its success, illustrated by videos and in parent, teacher and student surveys, brought invitations from four schools in Coachella for 2012-13; endorsed and funded by ASES – (After School Education and Safety), a program. Of the YMCA

KCP now serves 3rd,  4th, and 5th grades and soon will include middle school 6th grade. Because it is so effective, community interest and support for KCP is growing. We also serve local Boys & Girls Clubs.

Short-term goals: To have KCP statewide in three years and then a national presence in five.  Interest is already being expressed by people in other states such as Washington, New Mexico, Hawai’I, and countries such as Uganda and Switzerland.

KCP Endorsements

Kids Create Peace Endorsements

Kids, parents & teachers praise KCP’s value.

“It is my pleasure to write this letter in support of the Kids Create Peace program.  I hosted ‘Kids Create Peace’ in its pilot year, at my former school, Vista del Monte Elementary, and again the next year when the program was invited to be in three additional elementary schools through the ASES Program — now with 4th grade as well as 5th.”

“Kids Create Peace effected a positive change in my school.  The students in the program learned to respect themselves and others, and to know how to avoid conflict, or to resolve differences and disagreements.  It was particularly heartening to hear these students sharing what they learned with their classroom teachers, and become leaders in creating peace in the classroom.  Once our students in KCP understand the program’s core principles, including empathy, it affects how they act towards both their KCP friends and other classmates. Bullying overall is reduced – an average of 40%.”

“We saw also that our students paid better attention in their classroom.  They weren’t causing disruptions in class that were distracting to other kids or their teachers.  And as a result, many began to do better academically.  Though we do not yet have funding for this school year, I have already committed to hosting Kids Create Peace at my current school.  I think that’s a pretty clear indication of my support for this program for students!  If you have any questions about Kids Create Peace program, goals or the organization, please don’t hesitate to call or email me.
Joseph Scudder, Principal  Two Bunch Palms Elementary School, Desert Hot Springs, CA
Email: jscudder@psusd.us

“I am writing this to show my support for “Kids Create Peace, a program that provides youths the understanding and skills to create lives free of conflict and to achieve academic proficiency.  Our school has previously participated in the program and once students in KCP understand the core principles, including empathy, it affects how they act towards both their KCP friends and other classmates. Bullying overall is incredibly reduced – an average of 40%, as seen in surveys taken by kids and their teachers both before and after being in KCP.”

“Our students that participated in KCP show respect for themselves and others.  They practice strategies to avoid conflict as well as resolve differences and disagreements. Students who are able to resolve conflicts in a positive manner are also able to better pay attention in their classrooms. Some teachers have said that KCP students have positively affected the behavior of classmates not in the KCP program.”
Lisa Arseo, Principal, Bella Vista Elementary School, Desert Hot Springs, CA

“On behalf of the Boys & Girls Club of Cathedral City we would like to thank you for implementing your ‘Kids Create Peace’ (KCP) program these past two years at our Boys & Girls Club. KCP has complimented our culture of caring that we emphasize throughout our organization. In addition, KCP has supported our 4th & 5th Grade members as caring leaders in our Clubhouse.”

“We found the KCP Program enhanced the kids’ foundation of core value characteristics, and thus had a positive effect on how they relate to one another.  Through the KCP discussion groups, the kids learned to respect and have empathy for all others. KCP helped give these children a voice that is often never heard before KCP. Through this empowerment, these students are armed with skills to overcome the many obstacles youth face in today’s society.”

“As a non-profit serving at-risk youth, and with limited financial resources, we are not able to pay for outreach programs. However, as new funding sources are developed for KCP, it is our intention and desire to continue our partnership with Kids Create Peace to provide life-learning lessons for our youth. We would like to implement a 20-week KCP program for our kids during the 2017-2018 school year.
Knowing our shared commitment, let’s keep working together to create better lives for our kids, one child at a time!
Thanks again!”
Scott Robinson, Executive Director Boys & Girls Club of Cathedral City, CA

“From many years as a school administrator and K-8 educator, I’ve learned that teasing, taunting, and name-calling – what we call “bullying” – can, unfortunately, begin in those early years. When schools do not counter such behavior, the chances of kids turning to a dysfunctional lifestyle increase greatly. The Kids Create Peace program teaches them how to avoid conflict by not responding with aggression to that of others, but instead changing a hostile environment to a cooperative one. These skills will serve a lifetime.”
David Damico, Executive Director, Achievement and Innovation at Napa Valley Unified School District and Director of Information Technology at Sweetwater Union High School District.
Past: Ecademy California and Chula Vista Elementary School District


“The program, Kids Create Peace, is timed perfectly to help young students change potentially stressful situations in their lives, teamwork, school, home, and play – to ones of cooperation and team-work. They are at a developmental stage at 3rd, 4th and 5th grade where their imagination and intellect are especially receptive to learning the new information and social strategies that Kids Create Peace teaches. I say this based on many years of teaching, elementary through high school, and special education kids. I wholeheartedly endorse this KCP program!”

Donna D’Alessio, MA Education, H. S. Teacher, Language Arts, Kauai, HI
 KCP Advisory Board

“I look forward to the day that Kids Create Peace steps foot onto my high school campus in our effort to plug the cracks through which all too many students seem to be falling: an issue of concern at schools throughout America. It’s never too early to address this problem and, most definitely, never too late. Lives can be changed through this unique program, Kids Create Peace. As education is a team effort of students, families, and educators, no one should stand on the sidelines watching our kids fall through the cracks. Allow Kids Create Peace to extend a caring hand to your students in need.
Sam Messler, Teacher, West Shores High School, Salton City, California

“Through my work as a school counselor, I see the profound need for our countries’ children to develop an understanding of the world around them and their responses to it. Kids Create Peace presents a practical and life-affirming foundation through a logical set of principles. The program they teach is one that not only strengthens children’s academic and social abilities, but also enhances the culture of schools and the community at large. I look forward to the day when Kids Create Peace will have reached national recognition. That will be a day of peace.”
Jessamyn Dean, MA, CDPT – High School Counselor: Middle College High School, Seattle, WA,
KCP Advisory Board

Our Team

Kids Create Peace Team


Elena Chvany – Executive Director, Co-founder

After graduating with honors from Radcliffe College, Elena had a successful career of more than 20 years in philanthropy, raising money for major institutions – among them, Dartmouth College and Harvard University.

She also offered independent – and often free — consultation for non-profits throughout the U.S. serving many sectors of society – children and youth, the arts, women’s issues, healthcare and wellness, nature and the environment, human development, and peace. This service brought Elena citations in “Who’s Who of American Women” (12th Edition) and “Who’s Who in the West” (Silver Edition).

Through her work, Elena was moved by observing and working with hundreds of people who contributed their talents and time, as well as money, to support the common good. “Kids Create Peace” invokes that generous spirit again. The program is unique in giving young people the understanding and skills required to create lives free of conflict. Continuing her service, Elena has served as a member of the Palm Springs Human Rights Commission.

Elena was fortunate also in raising three talented and well-balanced sons.

Contact: elenajc@onevoiceofpeace.org

Isaiah Landers, Co-founder, Program Developer

Isaiah’s major in psychology, his early career as a business owner, success in sales and marketing and as National Director of Supervision and Training for a restaurant chain, provided a lab course in how to navigate in the “real world” without struggle and fear.

The next 30-plus years, he studied with many awakened teachers sourced in various cultures and traditions. Isaiah has served as a child, family, and spiritual counselor for over 45 years. For five years he led an SYDA meditation center and guided a successful spiritual community In Ojai California for 12 years. Also 12 years as director of Solar Winds Enterprises, including a large natural food market, restaurant, fresh food manufacturing & distribution, Gateway Books & Boutique and Ojai Valley Taxi Service,

Isaiah was Founder and Director of Youth Express, a Youth Video Production, Santa Fe, NM, and a Youth Leadership Program also in NM. He acted as director of Earthome Foundation for Sustainable Community, also in NM.

Since 1986 he has offered Personal Transformation Seminars and retreats in Canada and the U.S., Hawai’i, and Switzerland.

Elena Chvany and Isaiah conceived the idea for One Voice of Peace in 1999 while living in Hawai’i, leading to the formation of a non-profit to support and expand its work. IRS approval as a 501-C3 was granted in June of 2009. Its first initiative is the after school program Kids Create Peace.

Contact: isaiah@onevoiceofpeace.org

Christine Dura, Lead Facilitator, Program Developer

Christine Dura brings unique styles of music to “Kids Create Peace”. It is her passion for music that brought her to One Voice of Peace in its pilot year (2012-13). From that, she’s moved to become a facilitator of the weekly KCP Sessions.

A published singer/songwriter, Christine is also an experienced teacher. She has worked with pre-school children at the McCarthy Center, where she was known as “The Music Lady”. Here, she brought free dance, drums, freestyle art, dramatic play, songwriting, journaling, and much more.

Christine has worked with children in one-on-one sessions, helping them discover their true selves, through music.

She’s also taught teachers of children how to bring music into the classrooms through varied learning and self-discovery techniques, such as drama play, dance, voice, drums, mirror work, and freestyle painting

Christine’s approach to music encourages learning, promotes self-help skills and understanding of the power of words, and helps all who are involved recognize the connection between oneself and others.

Contact: christinedura@netzero.com

Melinda (Melly) Vida, Facilitator

Kim Chasen, Co-Facilitator

Advisory Board

Kids Create Peace Advisory Board


GARY HALL, Senior Vice President with the Private Bank at Wells Fargo

Gary Hall has decades in financial services and is a long-time leader for the Private Bank and community leader for Wells Fargo. He runs a significant business for Wells Fargo and continues to give countless volunteer hours to his community. Mr. Hall is instrumental in getting significant Wells Fargo dollars to our community non-profits. He is the founding Chairman of the Coachella Valley Repertory Theater board, Vice Chairman of Primecare Healthcare, trustee and co-chair of the Educational Outreach of the Palm Springs Art Museum, director for The Palm Springs International Film Festival and member of the Community Outreach Committee, director for the McCallum Theater and McCallum Theater Institute committee member, director of the United Way of the Desert, director of the Rancho Mirage Library Foundation, former director and advocate of the College of the Desert Foundation, and advocate for numerous charities in the Coachella Valley, including One Voice of Peace and Kids Create Peace.

JOSEPH SCUDDER M.A. M.B. – Principal, Two Bunch Palms Elementary School, Desert Hot Springs, CA

Joseph Scudder was raised in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County. He earned his B.A. in Liberal Studies at Cal State Los Angeles and his M.S. at Pepperdine University. He has worked in the field of education for over 30 years, as a paraprofessional in special education, classroom teacher, district-level coordinator and for 13 years as a school principal. In his experience, he has repeatedly witnessed students who needed support in dealing with the social-emotional stresses that can affect children at home and at school. In 2010 Mr. Scudder became acquainted with the Kids Create Peace program and since then has continued to be impressed with the empowerment that is provided to students who participated in the program, and their improved ability to cope with social-emotional stress.



Karen’s professional experience encompasses over 25 years in private and non-profit leadership and management, building successful collaborations and community relationships.

As a consultant, Karen has experience in branding and marketing, special event planning, corporate and volunteer solicitation, board and fund development. She has worked with agencies and foundations to create synergies and cost savings, capacity, efficiency, and effectiveness. Her personal charitable community involvement includes Honorary and Silent Auction Gala Chairperson, Capital Development Committee, Board of Director and Advisory positions, and a host of committee member appointments.

Karen was one of four women in America honored as a national recipient of Family Circle Magazine 7th Annual Halo Award for Women Who Make A Difference. She was also highlighted on Woman to Woman and Giving Woman of South Florida. She appeared on NBC6 South Florida Today, and in numerous stories in the Miami Herald and the Sun Sentinel.


Jessamyn is a contemplative psychotherapist with many years of psychological and educational experience. Her philosophy is integral, and her professional life has been focused on various aspects of health and wellness. Her first careers included yoga and fitness instructor, personal trainer, meditation instructor and nutritional therapist.

She has a private practice in Seattle, Washington and provides counseling services at a High School for at risk teens. Jessamyn specializes in family systems, addiction-focused psycho-education, with an emphasis on teaching healthy coping skills and thought habits to young people.

Jessamyn also facilitates Intensive Outpatient treatment at an all women’s treatment facility. Jessamyn continues to develop her career through ongoing education in addiction, adolescent counseling and systems theory.


Jerry is a teacher for Palm Springs Unified School District. He is also a certified mediator/ arbitrator for Riverside County. He works In the court system as a mediator.

Jerry works with Community Action Partnership non-profit agency, as a community workshop instructor. These workshops teach students the skills for resolving conflict through mediation. This Peer Mediation course is used widely throughout Riverside County. He has served on the Palm Springs City Human Rights Commission.

He also served on the board for Palm Springs LGBT Community Center.


An educator for most of her adult life, Donna was an early advisor /consultant during the gestation period of One Voice of Peace. Bringing her many years of experience teaching both elementary school and high school, her views of teaching the ‘whole child’, were an inspiration that helped with the metamorphosis of Kids Create Peace.

Donna has been teaching Language Arts at a high school in Kauai, Hawai’i.



DAVID DAMICO, BA, MA, Administrator and Teacher

David holds a Bachelors degree from San Diego State University and a Masters degree from the University of San Diego and was a post-graduate member of the Institute for Dialogical Psychotherapy.

Prior to public school administration, he was an executive director for a non-profit organization where he wrote and published two books: “The Faces of Rage”, and “The Influential Parent”

David has been a public school educator and administrator since 1997 and is currently Executive Director, Achievement, and Innovation at Napa Valley Unified School District and Director of Information Technology at Sweetwater Union High School District.

Past: Ecademy California and Chula Vista Elementary School District.


Shout-Outs for Kids Create Peace

Kids, parents & teachers praise KCP’s value.

From Students:

Alfredo: “Because of what I learned in KCP I will never be mean to my friends again.”

Rosalind: wrote, “KCP has taught me what empathy and compassion mean.”

Juliette asked: Is KCP a class, and Manuel spoke up, “No, it is teaching us about life.”

About half way through our 20 week KCP program at Katherine Finchy Elementary School in Palm Springs, a small 4th grade boy had to leave early, but as he jumped up to leave, he called out to the whole class and said, “I love all of you!” and then went to as many kids as he could, gave each a warm hug, then dashed out the door. We all looked at each other, smiling.

Question to students at end of KCP’s program:

“Compared to how I felt about myself before I began the KCP program, I like myself … “
“Better” or “The Same”.    Then: “Please say why”

These kids checked “Better”:

  • “Because I don’t want to be a bully, and I want to help others.” (A. L.)
  • “When KCP wasn’t here I was mean, but when they came I’m nicer.” (D. G.)
  • “Because I was learning at your program.” (E. M.)
  • ‘I’m better because I like being here at this program.” (F. R.)
  • ‘Because I’m in this program (G. J.)
  • “Helps me not calling people names.” (G.P.)
  • “It helps me understand about myself.” (M. A.)
  • “Because I’m more cool.” (S. T.)
  • “Because I didn’t know things.” (J. K.)
  • “Because people bullied me. So instead I walk away now.” (K. J.)
  • ‘Because KCP helps us from bullying and what to do if you are being bullied.” (M. H.)
  • ‘Because I learned to respect others.” (V. G.)
  • ‘I stayed the same but now I know how to solve problems, not run away.” (V. C.)

Next question: “Compared to how I felt before I began the KCP program, when someone says something mean to me that’s not true“ (Number of students who checked answers)

   2           “I get upset and react the same way I used to.”
   5           “I know it’s not true and it’s about them, not about me.”
   8           “I remember what I learned in the KCP program and tell the person that being mean is not appropriate.”
  10         “I walk away. Better not to get involved.”

Question:   What I have learned from the program so far:


  • “I learned it is bad to bully.” (A. L.)
  • “To be more respectful, kindness and becoming stronger than before.” (D. G.)
  • “I’m not mean to others.” (E. M.)
  • “What I learned from this program is not to bully people because they will too.’ (F. R.)
  • “To care about others.” (G. J.)
  • “To not bully people, and learning more (G..”P.)
  • “I learned to care about people.” (I. C.)
  • ‘I learned not to bully kids.”(M. A.)
  • To always respect others (S. T.)


  • “To respect & learn there is nothing to get upset about and how to treat people nice!” (J. K.)
  • “Always walk away from bullies.” (K. J.)
  • “Not to bully, to just walk away, be respectful, not to say mean things back just walk away and tell an adult.” (M. H.)
  • “When people say mean things about you, it proves something is wrong in their life.” (S. R.)
  • “If someone says something mean to me I ignore them because it is not true.” (V. G.)
  • “How to face problems. If serious tell an adult and not to run away from problems.” (V. C.)


  • “Generally, students are much better at solving their own problems and when they make a mistake, they usually apologize without any prompting.”
  • “As a class, the KCP students are great at finding alternative solutions to fighting or bullying behavior. Please feel free to quote me. We all appreciate your program and your help with our students.”
    Scott Powell, VDM 5th Grade
  • “One of the things I’ve noticed regarding my students who’re in KCP is their willingness to work with others and their disposition in *how* they work with others.  They bring a positive and cooperative mindset to the group process.   What I’m seeing right now is improvement across-the-board in attitude, homework, and activities in class.  In fact, one of your KCP kids received “student of the month” award.”
    Norman McKee – 5th-grade teacher in language arts, at Edward Wenzlaff Elementary
  • Ever since KCP has come to our school, we have seen an improvement in our students.  The bullying is a lot less.  Thank you so much!  I really appreciate you guys being here.”
    Shirley Morales – ASES Lead Supervisor
  • “I would be happy to implement KCP strategies to improve classroom management and academic proficiency.  I would like to participate in KCP instructional sessions for teachers when you are able to offer them.”
    N.M, Bella Vista Elementary
  • “Regarding the kids who’re in KCP, they are more willing to help out.  Because there are so few of my students in your program, it’s hard for them to change the culture of disruption. However, they have changed *themselves*.   This does mean there are that many fewer kids disrupting, and that is good.”
  • “I would be willing to attend classes to learn the tools that KCP uses with the students.”
    Denise Spoto – 5th-grade teacher