Friday, March 28, 2014

On Being a Seed of Peace

By Cimone Jordan

Seeds of Peace is your needs answered. It’s every vibrant emotion bottled into 30,160 minutes best known as two weeks. 2 weeks that will allow you to wipe away the grime that defiles the window you look at life through, 2 weeks in which you form bonds like no other. 2 weeks that will change your life forever. Sometimes, in life, certain events and circumstances allow us to be brought to our knees. I soon learned that Seed of Peace was the place that would equip me with the ability to not only deal with these instances but grow through them.

Based on my camp experience last year and this year, I would love it if I have every student in the Syracuse City School District attend camp for at least one summer. Seeing how this is impossible, I think it’s important that we bring the best parts of camp back to Syracuse and interlace them with the clubs and curriculum we already have. Since there’s a Seeds of Peace club in every high school, I believe that’s where we should start. First, we should allow the Seeds in the entire district to get to know each other better. This way we can all work on one accord. We could hold small events where students are given the chance to interact with one another in a relaxed setting. Just as kids need to know each other and get involved so should parents. An idea came from the Maine Seeds that we should hold a cafe night for the parents also. This way we could teach parents about the message of SOP and their child’s intentions as a part of the organization.
Photo by Bobbie Gottschalk, Co-Founder, Seeds of Peace
 Being a PS allowed me to see that dialogue was truly the heart of what camp is about. I think it would be remarkable to bring dialogue into our communities especially since the city schools in Syracuse are so diverse. When we get a lot of new members to join the club in the schools, we could conduct dialogue sessions. If the PSs took a short training course that taught about leadership through mediation, we could act as the facilitators for the sessions. Although adults can also help out, I think that if educated students acted as the facilitators, students would feel more relaxed and comfortable sharing. The sessions could be conducted during the club meetings after school. But taking it a step further, I think that it would be awesome if we could have dialogue as a block in school. We could make it the last block or period in our schedule, this way, if and when dialogue gets hard, students won’t have to worry about being unfocused during the rest of their classes since it’s the end of the day. Although spreading the SOP message around school is awesome, it would be cool if we could get involved with other organizations that promote peace.

One thing I learned at camp was to extend myself and to speak up not only for myself but for others. Many of topics we talked about in dialogue included Bullying, Women’s Rights, and Strife in warring countries. If these are topics that the members of our SOP clubs feel strongly about, we should get involved. For example, the SOP club at Fowler High School showed interest in LINK Liberation (Liberty in North Korea). Our goal would then be to raise money to help fund escape missions for oppressed North Koreans. SOP students that went to camp could to get the chance to exercise their ability to lead when it comes to fundraising projects. Meanwhile, more students could get involved throughout our school district. However, these events shouldn’t only be limited to the members of the SOP club. We could totally work with and incorporate students in the ESL divisions of our school. This way, everyone is learning about other cultures and making new friends.

One event that is making headlines in the Seeds of Peace news is the Bridges to Peace fundraising campaign. this is an example of one of the things Seeds could take part in when it comes to linking the club back to the organization. Students could attend the walk or we could hold our own small fundraisers so that we can still donate money to the cause. and when this event ends, any fundraisers the clubs put on can go towards the Seeds of Peace organization or even charities.

As we give to others, one of my intentions is that we all end up benefiting from Seeds of Peace-whether you went to camp or not. The SOP message embodies that fact that we are all different many ways, but there is always a common ground, a place where we can set aside differences and become one. When we do this, we will be able to progress, step by step. One quote that is used continuously in camp would be one from Rumi- “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there” Getting the chance to go to camp is amazing because when you arrive, before you stands that great field-biased to none, inviting to all. It is wonderful because you feel that this quote is alive and real but as we travel throughout life, we must realize that the field is in us. We must ultimately weed out the unkempt parts of our heart and sow seeds of peace. After this, we can then embrace the diversity in our community and fight ignorance.