Students, parents and teachers turned Boise’s Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial into a makeshift classroom the afternoon of Sept. 24. The students' so called “Program For Peace” is a local leadership program of seventh and eighth graders from Boise’s Sacred Heart and Saint Joseph’s Catholic School. The program intends to promote kindness, conflict resolution and mediation on their playgrounds and in communities.
“It’s not a popularity contest,” said Kathleen Curtis, the schools program coordinator for “Program For Peace.” “Its just kids that want to make a difference.”
The program identifies students in the school that demonstrate a passion for good will and the maturity to cultivate that same kindness in fellow classmates. Each year twelve nominated students from St. Joe’s, called Children of Peace, and twelve nominated students from Sacred Heart, called Peace Leaders, meet for afternoon sessions where they consider issues such as conflict training.
This year's “Program For Peace” was held at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial where the 24 peace-leaders gathered for training on spotting and responding to school bullying, aiding youth through reflective and active listening skills, crafting leadership, and public awareness of human rights and responsibilities.
“The Anne Frank Memorial stands as a testament to our faith in humanity,” said Curtis. “Program For Peace” strongly supports this notion that the students mean to develop in this world.
Real world dealing with relationship difficulties, rumor and gossip, cheating and stealing, racial and cultural confrontations, classroom or extracurricular disputes, and bullying help to establish a sense of responsibility not only for these students but for the general public as well. It starts with these kids, acting in a few schools that grow to a few more. It’s an idea worth spreading in a time when cruelty and injustice seem acceptable. These students want to lead by example and we need to watch.