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

The Honor Project embarks upon a promising and optimistic social transformation. It’s an educational endeavor focused on creating a more beneficial relationship amongst individuals and their environment; and it emphasizes the necessity of a common goal whereby differences are valued, belief systems are explored, and strengths rather than limitations are reinforced.

This Project is a “we will do this together” philosophy where teachers, parents, and community members, take part in the learning and healing along with the children. The Honor Project is comprised of three phases.

Phase One: Prevention — introduces the Honor Set (a t-shirt and journal workbook titled My Right of Passage: An Adventure In Self-Discovery). This book is more than words and images, it’s the tool for personal and social transformation.

IN 1929, anthropologist Arnold Van Gennep coined the term “Rite of Passage” to describe the universal practice of ceremonializing life’s major events. Rites of passage were ways of consciously recognizing and supporting human identity and development throughout the life-span. The honoring of such events brings about an increased sense of stability and connection with the self, others, and the environment.

Rather than wait for serious aggression to unfold and send people to jail, the Honor Project embraces a value system and preventative healing strategies commonly used by indigenous cultures for thousands of years.

Phase Two: Intervention — introduces the Peace Village, which is an on-site structure set up to deal with personal issues, interpersonal conflict and problematic behavior. Facilitators assist individuals in resolving various situations by learning new ways of understanding and communicating. What is unique to the Peace Village concept is the opportunity for reintegration, that is the restoration of relationships and reputations. This is a process by which accountability and amends can generate forgiveness and repair where harm has been done. Because destructive behavior is driven by Infected Belief Systems (IBS), the problem exists beyond the individual manifesting symptoms. It extends outward to also reveal a larger social deficit. For this reason, family, school, and community members are encouraged to be involved in this process of problem solving and potential building.

Phase Three: Maintenance — Enthusiasm and validation will encourage individuals to apply their new principles outside of the Peace Village setting. Each school, with its student body and faculty, can participate in this phase by creating a symbolic Adawee Peace Pole, to be displayed on the school grounds. The visual presence of the Adawee Peace Pole would be a constant reminder of the common goal we are all striving to achieve. In addition, one day out of each month can be designated Honor Project day, where the student body and faculty all wear their Honor Project T-shirts.

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. We speculate that when young people feel supported and valued by the larger community, they will be less likely to rebel, vandalize or steal from those representing it.

Children are not cruel — they LEARN to be cruel and as our pilot project first grade teacher discovered, children can learn to HONOR.

The Honor Project is an attempt to meet developmental and educational needs by empowering individuals with a cultural value system that facilitates their right to unique expression, a place of belonging, and a sense of creative purpose. By cultivating the seeds of self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-discipline, individuals prepare for self-realization. We feel this adventure in self-discovery is a “right of passage” where being is of value…in and of itself.

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