Request a Kids As Peacemakers DVD from The National Exchange Club to show your group.
Find a group of kids to participate through a school, youth program, community center, or church. Work closely with this organization to establish the timeline and lesson plan. By creating a plan, you will have an agenda to work from to keep the program on schedule. This is especially helpful when working with older children.
Follow the plans provided or modify for your group.
For the physical part of the project, secure a sheet of smooth plywood, 4’ x 8’, for mural your club plans to create.
Paint both sides of each sheet of plywood with white sealant paint. This presents a blank canvas for painting the mural. (Check with merchants for discounts, etc.)
Use a stencil, vinyl letters, or even freehand paint, the words "Kids As Peacemakers" on each piece of plywood.
Deliver plywood to your participating group.
Show the "Kids As Peacemakers" DVD, narrated by award winning ABC journalist Jay Schadler.
Establish behavior guidelines so that everyone feels comfortable joining in the discussion.
Brainstorm and record words that relate to PEACE.
Brainstorm and record words that relate to VIOLENCE. Discuss items 3 and 4.
Follow up the visualizations of the word "peace" with small, quick "thumbnail" sketches by each child or by several volunteers.
Ask each participant to describe his or her picture. No criticism is allowed at this point.
Now compare pictures. Are there any that look or sound alike, that use the same ideas? Could they be combined? Is one particularly persuasive to the group?
At this point, the kids will need help getting to the final design. Make suggestions on how to put their thoughts into the mural, but please do your best to stick to what they have said or described. As long as it is "theirs," the children are more willing to stay involved and give their artistic best.
The next step is to paint the mural. Move to the next page for instructions.
Talk about ordinary people who had ideas for a better world. Talk about Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity, and Dan West, founder of Heifer International. Discuss. Why were they successful?
Assign each student to research and be prepared to report at the next meeting, on a peacemaker of their choice or one of the following: Oscar Arias, Mahatma Gandhi, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., St. Francis of Assisi, Desmond Tutu, Oscar Romero, Helen Prejean, Jim Wallis, Bono, etc.
Begin by having each student report on their research assignment.
Discuss some or all of the following questions: do they know any peace leaders in their community? Do their schools recognize youth for peaceful activities? Do they know anyone who has received a peace award? How do they feel about the granting of such awards? If they could nominate a person for the Nobel Peace Prize, who would that be? Why?
This is the culmination of our current study of peace issues. The next step is to move from study and reflection to become actual peace mural makers.
Brainstorm: have everyone give his/her ideas for design of the mural. No criticisms allowed! Thumbnail sketches may be used and explained.
Come to consensus on the design, without hurting the feelings of other students. Consensus building is the essence of becoming a peacemaker.
The next step is painting the mural. Follow the instructions below.
Make a sketch on the plywood to guide your group with painting. Assign sections or items that each child can be responsible for. You may want to use acrylic paints due to ease of cleanup and permanence when dry. Other water-based paints may require use of clear coat to assure permanence.
Display your mural for the general public to see! Assure that your mural is mounted safely to your building, a fence, or a stand to prevent it from becoming airborne in a storm.
Ask students to record their thoughts on being part of the mural program. You may want to combine them into a book.
Youth groups may want to get together with their peers in other groups to discuss their murals.
Take pictures and share them with the organizations involved, and the local paper and other media to generate interest in your murals.
Congratulations! Your group has completed the project. Tell friends, family, and neighbors to visit the mural and see all the hard work accomplished by the group. Take pictures of the mural to remember the fun you had creating it, and to show others and encourage them to start their own mural.
The hope of this program is to spread the message of peace throughout communities nationwide and give a sense of pride and interest. The future lies in our children, who will soon be the leaders and decision-makers. If they learn to work together at an early age, there is no limit to what they can achieve through strong communication and good relationships built on tolerance, respect, and compassion.