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PEACE VILLAGE SANCTUARY

A conceptual model for building Trauma-Informed Schools, Homes and Communities
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The Honor Project

The Honor Project (HP) is based on an ecological point of view, which focuses on creating a more beneficial and enduring link between individuals and their environment. HP further emphasizes a common goal, whereby differences are valued, expectations are redefined, and strengths rather than limitations are reinforced. This undertaking is comprised of three educational phases:

Phase One — The Honor Project embarks upon a promising and optimistic social transformation which begins by supplementing the traditional educational monologue with an interactive experience of dialogue. To bring about this dialogue, each child receives a personal journal titled “My Right of Passage: An Adventure in Self-Discovery”. The Journal is broken up into 12 monthly themes representing 12 Universal Principles. These principles serve to develop critical thinking, interpersonal skill, social responsibility and estimable character. The journal consists of:

1. The Creation Story — a mythical story about how this concept was conceived;
2. The Adawee Pledge — a mission statement that depicts our common goal and commitment to the striving of Harmony and Equality. Together the Honor Code and the Adawee Pledge make up our Universal Code of Ethics;

3. The Honor Code — an introduction to principles for planetary citizenship;
4. Daily Reminder Statements — reminders that inspire and affirm a daily common goal pertaining to the monthly theme;
5. Action Questions — reflective questions that explore various assumptions, ideas, values and beliefs, evoking expression of the intellect, the imagination, and the heart.

Group interaction with the Journal provides an atmosphere where identity and voice are shared and valued equally by all participants. Exposure to diverse perceptions can be intellectually stimulating and be an instrument for social harmony. Topics such as identity, the power of words, fear, decision making, and self-worth, are elicited and explored. We believe, as children play more of a role in shaping their educational experience, they will be empowered by self understanding and the unifying social rewards of acceptance and respect.

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Phase Two — The Honor Project introduces the “Peace Village”. This is an on site Mentoring room that deals with issues such as conflict resolution, academic progress, behavioral challenges, and health and well-being. Facilitators assist individuals in understanding and resolving various situations by learning viable coping strategies, new ways of communicating, and behavior modification. Family, Community, and School members need to become involved and participate in this process of problem solving and potential building. The philosophy behind the Peace Village is to bring back a tribunal sense of community where everyone participates in rule and decision making, everyone has an important and valuable contribution, and everyone feels a responsibility toward the well-being of each other and the environment. Initially the Peace Village may deal with deep seated attitudes and beliefs that at first might seem resistant to change. However, as individuals experience this environment as a safe place for self-expression, and as they develop trust in the program, new attitudes begin to emerge bringing about new choices and behaviors that will impact the school environment. As in our own lives, we identify change as a process, one which entails new tactics for appraisal, new tools for adaptation and time for practice.

Phase Three — The Honor Project is the Maintenance stage. Maintenance in the sense that enthusiasm and validation will encourage individuals to apply their new principles outside of the Peace Village setting. Each school or institution, with it’s student body and faculty, can participate in this phase by creating a symbolic personalized Adawee Peace Pole to be displayed on the school grounds. The visual presence of the Adawee Peace Pole will be a constant reminder of the common goal we are all striving to achieve. In addition, families, community members, and businesses can support this educational transformation by a simple gesture, such as Honor Project bumper stickers or a poster in the window. Again, this will be effective in encouraging and reinforcing our common goal. We speculate that when young people feel they are supported and valued by their families and the larger community, they will be less likely to rebel, vandalize or steal from those representing it.

My Right of Passage — An Adventure in Self-Discovery Journal that contains artwork done by multi-cultural artists. This artwork has been transferred onto t-shirts. We suggest one of the school days in each week be an Awareness day. On that day, all of the students and faculty wear their Honor project t-shirt in recognition of their efforts and commitment to our common goal. These t-shirts can be made available for sale to the larger community.

We believe every child has the potential for greatness. However, we must first expand our idea of the individual and our concept of greatness. Second, we must provide our children with a nurturing environment which allows all aspects of their being to develop and mature. Along the way we must guide their individual natural rhythms while teaching them to consider their impact on others and the environment. If we desire a world where people are happy and productive members of society, then we must educate more then their minds…we must prepare them to be human beings.