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Youth

Youth

Providing Peaceful Alternatives for Youth

AFSC has youth programs in the United States and in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

We provide youth in the U.S. with information about alternatives to military service. We advocate to reduce the influence of the U.S. military in the nation’s public schools. We empower youth to become peacemakers in their communities and schools, and reduce the impact of handgun and other interpersonal violence in their lives.

Around the world, we work with young people affected by violence, especially in areas affected by armed conflict. We give voice to young people affected by police violence and work to reduce the impact of gangs in Guatemala. We welcome young people into peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts to create a more secure future in Palestine, Indonesia, Cambodia and Myanmar.

Portland Peace Program

The Portland Peace Program educates the public about the intolerably high human and economic costs of violence and war. The program exposes the harsh realities of military service and refutes false information provided by military recruiters by organizing innovative events, workshops, multi-media art, community partnerships and “Opt Out” campaigns to help youth opt out of contact with military recruiters. By embracing alternatives to violence, war and military enlistment, youth take leadership of themselves and their communities and actively participate in creating a culture of peace and nonviolence. 

Chicago Youth Peace Building and Justice Program

Veterans counsel students on alternative ways to serve their country
Photo: AFSC / Jesus Palafox

The Youth Peace Building and Justice Program in Chicago engages young adults, ages 16-20, in the development of educational and economic opportunities that benefit themselves and their communities. This program gives youth concrete alternatives to community violence and military involvement.

Forty students at two public high schools are learning artesian craftwork as an employment opportunity. Students make mosaics, jewelry, or other crafts and earn money for themselves; they also share half the proceeds with a community fund as part of a social enterprise model.

Five college students interning at AFSC mentor the high school students and elementary school students interested in mosaic crafts. The college students are forming themselves into a college work cooperative. Undocumented immigrant youth are a special focus of the program, and AFSC trains college interns to assist others with Deferred Action (DACA) applications.

Baltimore Peace by Piece

Farajii Muhammad, AFSC Baltimore Peace by Piece program director, speaks at the SOAR day of action against police brutality on January 15, 2015.

Photo: AFSC / Bryan Vana

Baltimore Peace by Piece works with people ages 16-35 to foster justice, unity, and peace in Baltimore communities.

Building relationships with residents, schools, and community organizations, the coalition connects young people with opportunities to serve their communities and to make their activism more impactful.

Guatemala

Photo: AFSC

In Guatemala, AFSC works to build peace in Guatemala City neighborhoods. Through partnerships with schools, universities, community-based organizations, and public institutions, we are building an urban peace network focused on youth that encourages young people and adults to work together to reduce violence in their communities.

In 10 of the city´s neighborhoods, youth have organized Local Peace Networks, which regularly meet to build understanding among neighbors and plan activities to promote nonviolence.

A new pilot project, Schools for Peace, promotes mediation and conflict transformation as ways to encourage a culture of peace and citizen participation in the schools. The project promotes greater collaboration among teachers, administrative staff, students, and parents.

In addition, we have established alliances with different public sector institutions such as the Crime Prevention Commission of the National Civil Police, the Social Welfare Secretary, and the Humans Rights Office. These alliances allow us to create spaces where youth and public authorities can talk and exchange ideas, which promotes joint peace-building efforts and counters the negative stereotypes that exist about young people. 

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