Kids Create Peace is known for helping students realize they don’t want to bully.
From Exec. Dir. Elena Chvany
“Kids Create Peace” is known for helping students realize they don’t want to bully.
As we say, “No one is born mean”. It comes from experience of it, or from fear.
Our research about bullying shows that bullies are often insecure. Treating others badly is a way to look tough, and so make themselves feel important. And to keep that the false feeling of strength, they continue to act that way.
Youth is a common time of “insecurity”, if only because it’s a time when kids and youth are trying to figure out “who they are”. And imitating others who seem to be looked up to, who seem strong and confident, can lead them to bullying others – showing they’re strong too.
Kids Create Peace typically begins offering to students when they are still young – 3rd or 4th grade. With KCP’s simple and easily-understood core principles, these students learn self-worth, and self-esteem. The principles: 1. Have empathy 2. Do no harm intentionally 3. Non-opposition (don’t give your energy to what you don’t want or like, but to what you do prefer.) 4. Responsiveness – No need to react, but to respond in the best way to what is going on.
KCP students also learn to treat themselves and others with respect. To honor diversity. To create together, as a team. And to change disagreements – even conflict – into peaceful and productive outcomes.
Does this work? We began our pilot year in mid-October, and as there were breaks for both Thanksgiving and then Christmas, we had been offering KCP for only a short time. In our first session with them after holidays, the students were sharing their holiday experience and feelings with each other.
One girl began crying, and when the KCP facilitator asked her why, she said, “Some kids were teasing my little brother in the hall just now.” She turned and looked at a large boy nearby: “And you were one of them!”
He immediately said, “I won’t ever do that again!” Obviously, he hadn’t known he was being a bully, and that wasn’t who he intended to be.
This young man is not alone, in “getting it” about bullying. The surveys we took with the students at the beginning of KCP’s sessions showed 79% with them witnessed or experienced bullying. But in the final survey, bullying had dropped to 39%: a decrease of 40%. And that change in attitude and behavior took effect in only 20 hours — our time with them.
By contrast, a lot of our country’s youth are having trouble, or there would not be the numbers of attempted, and successful, suicides.
Kids Create Peace clearly can alter the situations that lead youth to even consider suicide as an alternative.
And for those who might otherwise have put on a bully disguise, they’ll know how to follow KCP’s core principles so they can live and be their best selves.
Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24.
“Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 5,240 attempts by young people grades 7-12.”
From The Parent Resource Program, of the Jason Foundation