Peace Practices has a made a tremendous difference in the lives of the children and adults learning Conflict Done Well together. Our expected funding has fallen through at the same time that our client schools have been forced by financial realities to cut back. If that information is all you need to donate now, then please do so as generously as you can. If you'd like to know more of the story, please read on.
I've been told that the benefits and value of Peace Practices are not clear to everyone, until they have had a chance to participate. Asking for support is always an attempt to cross that barrier, because important work lives or dies by your choice to spend your money and time. A parent of a particularly fiery girl wrote: "In the past, she has had poor conflict resolution and can get very frustrated. I was thrilled when Peace Practices came. Although I knew she'd be resistant, I know that deep down inside it's helping her resolve conflicts in a new way. I truly hope you continue your program."
With your help, I hope so too.
Before saying goodbye, as we complete our last class with the children, we ask what they liked and did not like, and test what they learned during Peace Practices. This year they expressed its value better than I ever can: "I like the grabbing and turning, the rolling, the games, and practicing what I will say and do when somebody tries to hurt me, tells me I am wrong, or that it is my fault. Now my body knows that I can do something when I feel afraid without having to be The Bad Guy."
Thank you for your support of Peace Practices over the past two successful years. With your help, we developed a respected peace training that has been adopted by children and adults across the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2015, we accepted an invitation to bring Peace Practices to an international peace conference in Greece. Until recently, we offered pay-what-you-can classes to adults of all descriptions in Downtown Oakland, as well as to young adults, children and their parents in Berkeley. This month we were invited to offer a Peace Practices seminar at to CSU East Bay during the winter quarter to respond to the post-election environment, and are in negotiations to train entrepreneurs and school children in China later in 2017. We need your help to reach that far.
Our primary source of funding over the past two years has come from a private international foundation and was supposed to extend through 2017. In May 2016, we reported success in every essential area but reaching financial independence, and looked forward to our third year of funding to make our operations fully sustainable. After submitting a revised report in June, the only response we have received is a promise that it would be submitted. We can only assume the foundation has met with misfortune since it has not responded to our queries.
We served an excellent new client school in the fall that allowed us to continue a trickle of teaching but provided no funds for keeping the larger project alive. They have let us know that their census dropped, and that they can't afford to continue until that changes. Since last summer we have accrued a small operating debt, in order to keep the doors open, and administration and development has happened on a volunteer basis, because the children, adults, and work are that important to us.
We seem to be in a "perfect storm" of circumstances. It is to our community that we turn for help in our hour of need. If you are able, it would mean the world to us, and to the children and adults with whom we practice Conflict Done Well, if you would:
- Donate today and receive a tax deduction.
- Hire us to offer Conflict Done Well leadership and teamwork training.
- Host a Peace Practices seminar for the educators or parents in your life.
- Volunteer your professional experience, especially in planning, administration, or fundraising and development. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this season of generosity, when peace seems so tenuous and in need of nurturing,
Please help lift us up!
Peace Practices Director
P.S. On a personal note, given the chance that it will take some time to bring Peace Practices back to health, I would appreciate any help in finding lecturer positions in psychology, literature, or religious studies, or employment as an executive, consultant, or teamwork trainer.
We do our best to focus while we observe the lesson and prepare to work together.
Suzuki Sensei can tell we are almost too excited to wait for class to begin!
Brandon Sensei loves it when we play and learn at the same time.
How would your daily interactions change—with your boss, your significant other, the stranger cutting in line at the grocery store? How much more would you speak your truth? How much more would you trust others? How much more would you forgive and understand? If we can create this culture, how will the world change?
If conflict were seen as normal, expected, everyone could train for Peace like you would a martial art. We would expect nonviolent responses to all kinds of conflict, for this learning to be a daily part of general education, and this Martial Nonviolence would be a pre-requisite for any leadership position.
Without practice, even these best of intentions can fall by the wayside under the intense pressure of complex situations. Now more than ever, there is an urgent need for a mastery of peaceful action in moments of conflict. The problems we face today seem to be growing, despite sincere commitments to end them. How is it that terrorist attacks and industrial warfare are still possible, when so many around the world aspire to live in peace?
That was the question most raised at Training Across Borders 2015, the international conference at which curriculum author Brandon WilliamsCraig was invited to introduce Peace Practices to leaders who practice the peaceful art of aikido (a core part of his curriculum) while living in conflict zones. Aikido practitioners from around the world gathered to train together and build relationships, because aikido practice can reveal whatever stops us from practicing peace when we are faced with conflict. These conflict professionals noticed their own avoidance of difficult issues, even while sharing tools for reshaping the fear of conflict into an opportunity to train in nonviolence. As colleagues, we noticed how easy it is to play it safe, to do whatever we have always done. Perhaps this is what Peace Practices really offers during this season of gratitude and new beginnings. One can discover a new practice of peace on earth, and resolve to keep a "beginner's mind" once again, and return to being a student so that we might all train together.
But we need your help to get this curriculum into the hands of teachers and the hearts of children around the world.
Supporting Peace Practices through a donation, helps us directly and immensely. An introduction to a philanthropist you know, or to a friend with a passion for finding funding to make the world a better place would widen our horizon and deepen our impact. A gift of your time can make a new relationship or deepen our existing sense of community - of working together to really make a difference.
During the holiday season we come together in gratitude and celebration, and open our hearts to helping others and to making the world a better place. (1) This year, your generosity can help thousands of students learn to create a more peaceful world through practice. If you wish for Peace on Earth, now you have the opportunity to directly support and join alongside those who work for peace.
We are ready to bring classes, instructional videos, group facilitations, and toolkits that can reach around the world, through translation and peace partnership projects, into classrooms and board rooms. We have local, national, and international partners, all of whose fingers are crossed that you will help expand our organization’s capacity to reach them. Your donation toward our $15,000 goal can put a map toward Peace on Earth in the hands of thousands more students (2) of all backgrounds and position us to better meet leaders across diverse communities who are ready to commit to a trained peaceful existence. Together we can shift from avoiding or escalating conflict toward actively training ourselves and our children in peaceful means for when it matter most.
Learn more about Peace Practices, and watch videos of some of our children's classes here.
This Giving Tuesday, give true Peace on Earth: Donate
(1) This is the time of year that charitable giving reaches its highest level. A Blackbaud Idea Lab report (https://www.blackbaud.com/files/resources/downloads/2014/2013.CharitableGivingReport.pdf) looking at 2013 showed that over 33 percent of charitable giving happened from October 2013 through the end of the year, with 17.5 percent in December alone. This year, as you decide where you will invest your generosity, let's make a commitment together that we can take action on in a very real way: a communal new year’s resolution that allows thousands of students to be impacted this next year and positions Peace Practices to serve more communities.
(2) To put our goal in context, $15,000 could pay for 3 classes a week for 3,120 potential students for one year, and portable mats which can be brought to open spaces wherever folks are ready to train. We are committed to both partnering with institutions and making entirely free classes available so that there are no obstacles to practicing peace.
$7,800 for trained Peace Practices instructors teaching 3 classes a week for 1 year (a total of 156 classes with potential 20 students in each impacts 3,120 students)
$2,285.37 for travel mats for classes (three sets plus tax and shipping)
$4,914 for 4.5 average base admin. hours a week over a year of meetings with community leaders, ongoing location sourcing, safety requirements and accreditations, partnership building with local communities, and promotion of classes.
Brandon here. I've just returned home as you read this, am back at my desk, looking out my window over the the San Francisco Bay Area. I know that my children and I are very likely to eat and read together tonight, and go to bed in safety. While I sift my "Developed World" challenges for solutions, sometimes it seems that Those People Over There are the ones to change how conflict works, if anybody can, because they are in the thick of violence. Sometimes I forget that they are supremely vulnerable and just trying to survive.
The amazing participants in Training Across Borders have just completed an event which has nothing comparable to follow it. They are amazing, inspirational, beautiful people, who engaged Peace Practices with their hearts, minds, and an eye to the future. I am thankful for being able to share their time on earth. Several are considering long term involvement with Peace Practices.
Even if just for them, I wish each attempt to gather people to actually practice peace didn't feel like beginning from scratch. Momentum builds over decades as people suffer needlessly and die today. Perhaps this is as the world has always been. I am certain that it doesn't have to be this way any more, if we insist.
The work of making actual peace happen, by practicing Conflict Done Well™ with as many people as possible, is in our hands---those of us who aren't in harm's way and have the capacity to train for and insist on peace with as much commitment as those who train for war. That is why nonviolence is a martial art. That is why peace is something we must practice so that we may be models for our children and insist on results from the politicians we elect. That is why Peace Practices is the most important project you will ever support.
Please help us build infrastructure that will last. Donate, please, but also help us connect with foundations and individuals who fund far reaching, sustainable solutions. You may not think you know somebody like that, but you do, or are separated by one mutual friend. Advocate for us, and those dedicated to building a better world will come to you. If you are ready to truly make a difference, but don't know what next step to take, please contact us now and hear a few suggestions. We need you and, more importantly, so do the children being born into war zones as you read this.