Seeds of Peace

     Published on   Tagged under:    District News   

Since 2011, through its city high schools, Syracuse has been the home of a new program named Seeds of Peace. The program is the result of a partnership between the Syracuse Chapter of Say Yes to Education, Syracuse City School District, Seeds of Peace, and InterFaith Works
The goal of the program is to bring American-born and new-American Syracuse City School District high school students together, both within schools and across the district, to build strategic relationships, teach conflict management skills, provide tools to address bullying, and assist Seeds and their adult allies to transform their school communities into communities of peace and justice.
This year, for two weeks, 23 Syracuse high school students participated in the Seeds of Peace camp in Otsfield, Maine.  The group comprised students from all five  high schools. Six of the 23 students were returning Seeds or Peer Supporters (PS), who participated in a leadership training program designed for returning Seeds, and the remaining 17 students were first-time campers.  InterFaith Works, through its Community Wide Dialogue program, conducted dialogue training sessions for the Syracuse campers, with sessions addressing issues pertaining to identity, stereotypes, inequality (e.g., gender, orientation, racial, economic, ability, etc.), bullying, and related issues. The sessions challenged students to think about their identity as human beings, their place as citizens, and their role in fostering justice and peace in their schools and communities at large.
Seeds Voices (excerpts):
The experience that marked me the most was when me and Damian were a team in the High Ropes challenge. I couldn’t believe my own eyes […] when I think back at that time , the moment I was so  scared that I dared not to take one more step to get to the other pole, he constantly encouraged  me  by staying side-by-side and hand-in-hand;  he helped me so much , that I [now] realize [the importance of] Team Work. [An Kha, First-Year Camper, Fowler High School]

The Seeds of Peace [camp] is a life changing experience. It has thought me to be a great leader and has made realize that there always a way to solve problems without violence. [Abdinoor Mohamed, Peer Support, Nottingham High School]

           Seeds of Peace is your needs answered. It’s every vibrant emotion bottled into 30,160 minutes best known as two weeks. 2 weeks that will allow you to wipe away the     grime that defiles the window you look at life through, 2 weeks in which you form bonds like no other. 2 weeks that will change your life forever. Sometimes, in life, certain events and circumstances allow us to be brought to our knees. I soon learned that Seeds of Peace was the place that would equip me with the ability to not only deal with these instances but grow through them. [Cimone Jordan, Peer  Support, Fowler High School]
Acknowledging that two weeks are not enough to instill the values required for Dialogue and to tackle the heart-felt issues that are faced by our youth in our high schools, InterFaith Works’ Community Wide Dialogue plans to further engage the Seeds in their high schools during the course of the school year. In addition to post-camp continuity, the program would benefit from sending more Seeds to camp in future years. For instance, instilling an atmosphere of peace and dealing with such complex issues as discrimination and bullying, would be best served by developing an army of Seeds trained in Dialogue, allowing for a reasonable number of representatives per school.
The students who participated in the 2013 Seeds of Peace Camp were:
Peer Supporters (returning Seeds)
Abdi Ali                                                 Henninger High School
Abdinoor Mohamed                          Corcoran High School
Anna Nguyen                                      Fowler High School
Cimone Jordan                                  Fowler High School
Ella Neville                                          Nottingham High School
Raiss Muya                                         Formerly Henninger High School
New Seeds
Suleiman Abukar                              Fowler High School
Latricia Amidon-Gonzalez               Fowler High School
Damien Austin                                  Henninger High School
Michael Capers                                Fowler High School
Joseph Crisafulli                              Fowler High School
Duong Diep                                       Fowler High School
Osman Hassan                               Nottingham High School
Nazere Jones-Clarke                      Corcoran High School
Yousif Kareem                                  Nottingham High School
An Kha                                                Fowler High School
Haji Mohamud                                  Nottingham High School
Javiyun Mosley                                  ITC
Hassan Musa                                   Nottingham High School
Priscila  Romero                              Henninger High School
Thuy-Tram Nguyen                          Henninger High School
Denzel Rawls                                   Fowler High School
Ranya Shannon                               Nottingham High School
Community Wide Dialogue Facilitators
Derrick Dorsey, Director of the Community Wide Dialogue program at InterFaith Works
Jose Cossa