This spring, ten students enrolled in tutoring as part of CentroNía’s Studio R.O.C.K.S. program had the opportunity to participate in the Peace, Justice, and Inclusion Project in partnership with American University and DC Reads The Peace, Justice, and Inclusion Project is a pilot program initiated by two master’s students from American University as part of the “Pay It Forward” grant from SIS International Peace Day Competition. The program brought together 24 elementary school students, 24 high school students, and 24 college students to participate in three workshops led by professors from American University. For CentroNía’s students, this was a unique opportunity to meet with peers from various age groups and backgrounds.

The workshops focused specifically on the dynamics of conflict and promoting peacemaking in our homes, schools, and communities. It gave a glimpse into many organizations working hard to inspire peace across the globe. Students also learned about human rights, ethics, and causes people advocate for around the world. For example, one of CentroNía’s students discovered her interest in protecting the environment and helped create better recycling programs in her community.

“This was a unique opportunity for me” says Kayla. “Through this project I was exposed to new ideas and activities. We got to learn about peace and how to be peace makers in our community” she adds.

In addition to being exposed to a college experience at a young age, the Peace Justice and Inclusion Project also gave CentroNía students the chance to visit New York, many for the first time. During the trip, students and chaperones were given tours of the United Nations and visited UNICEF where they learned about their efforts to make peace and provide resources to developing countries around the world. At UNICEF the students heard from three employees about their work on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They received an overview on the 17 goals and focused specifically on the fourth goal of quality education and how different education systems look around the world. At night, the students boarded a tour bus to see the lights of Manhattan and learn about the city. Although the rain was relentless, the students enjoyed sitting on the top level of the double-decker bus and taking pictures of the skyscrapers.

CentroNía is grateful to our partners from American University and DC Reads for inviting our students to be a part of this experience. This project allowed them to practice public speaking skills, engage in research, and raise their voice for important causes in their lives.