BENEFITING: Friends Peace Teams, Inc.
HOURS PLEDGED: 1,400
THEY CALLED HIM “THE AGITATOR”
During a weekend non-violence workshop with youth and adults at a church in Zacatecoluca, El Salvador, some of the teenagers in the group played a basketball game one evening. I went to watch the game with the other facilitators and our hosts. The guys were really good, competing against a team with players at least ten years older than themselves.
One of the players from our workshop, known as “The Agitator” to his teammates, wrote in his workshop evaluation the next day that normally he would have been more reactive and angry during the game, but he remembered what he had learned in the workshop--to think before he reacts. That helped him to play more calmly, without living up to his negative reputation.
From this story, you can see how important our work is to youth because they immediately apply what they learn through the conflict resolution activities offered in the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) three-day workshops.
AVP workshops began as a collaboration between Quakers and inmates in U.S. prisons in the 1970's at the request of the inmates to find ways to reduce violence within the prisons. AVP is now used around the world in 58 countries to offer guidance to participants on how to resolve conflicts creatively and non-violently through experiential activities that explore following: affirmation and self-esteem, cooperation, community-building, communication, and the transformation of conflicts in creative and non-violent ways.
VOLUNTEERING IN EL SALVADOR
As you know, I’ve been living in El Salvador for the past year, volunteering with Peacebuilding en las Américas (PLA), a program that funds and organizes AVP, as well as Trauma Healing, workshops in Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
PLA is one of three initiatives of Friends Peace Teams, which is a Spirit-led organization working around the world to develop long-term relationships with communities in conflict and to create programs for peacebuilding, healing, and reconciliation.
GANG-INVOLVED SALVADORAN YOUTH
In June, Salvadoran facilitators began working with a youth detention center in El Salvador, called El Espino, where we did 45 hours of Basic AVP workshops with 40 youth who voluntarily took the workshops and who are now interested to continue with the Advanced AVP workshop.
Almost all of the 200 youth in the center, who are between 15 and 22 years old, are gang-involved. As you know, gangs are a primary source of violence in this country. Despite that, in our short experience with the youth at El Espino, we have received a respectful and friendly welcome.
Would you like to partner with me in supporting this program?
HOW YOU CAN HELP
I am reaching out to ask for your support to help administer this program at El Espino over the next five months. PLA needs $4,000 by the end of August in order to continue this important work to help reduce violence in El Salvador.
With this money, we can offer at least four workshops in the coming months. We already have our first $500, and I thank those who are already helping us work towards this goal.
PLA also offers Trauma Healing workshops that focus on building safety and trust, on integrating trauma experiences into people’s everyday lives (so that the trauma is less likely to be the focal point of the person’s life), and on reconnecting and rebuilding relationships. After the Advanced AVP workshops at the El Espino, we hope to offer the Trauma Healing workshops in order to support the youth to reflect on the trauma, violence, and losses they have experienced.
I would like to invite you to be a sponsor in this healing work.
Your donation is tax-deductible and will go directly to our youth workshops. If you prefer to donate by check, please make checks payable to ‘Peacebuilding en las Américas’, or just ‘PLA’, and write in the memo, “Amy Rymer / El Espino.” You can mail checks to: Friends Peace Teams, 1001 Park Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63104
With gratitude for your support, whether it’s money or sending a positive thought. You are so appreciated.