Hands of Peace is an interfaith organization that empowers young people to raise their voices as leaders of change. Through the power of dialogue, Palestinians, Israelis and Americans partner to pursue peace, equality, freedom and justice. Hands of Peace believes the future depends on the leadership of the next generation. Since 2003, Hands of Peace (HOP) has held an annual 19-day Summer Program in Chicago and a year-round, community-service intensive Alumni Club Program in the U.S. and in the Middle East. In the summer of 2014, Hands of Peace launched a second Summer Program in San Diego. Funds from Rotary International will support Year Five of this successful Summer Program which promotes world understanding, leadership, and global citizenship among San Diego, Israeli, and Palestinian teenagers and adults.
HOP's 2018 San Diego Summer Program will bring together approximately 45 American, Israeli, and Palestinian teenagers (age 15-17) for intensive daily dialogue sessions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, led by professional facilitators. Our participants build conflict resolution and leadership skills and complete educational and community service activities. Activities for 2017 have included a community mural-painting project, a peace film-making project, a non-violence workshop with Azim Khamisa (a celebrated non-violence and restorative justice activist), and a student-led leadership workshop alongside Mr. Khamisa and a local at-risk community. Our program also directly benefits more than 1,000 San Diego beneficiaries—including volunteers, local families who host our Middle East participants, staff members, and partner organizations.
Hands of Peace fills a vital need that is not addressed by other organizations serving the San Diego and international communities. We offer American teenagers and adult volunteers a powerful global engagement experience that enables them to become personally involved in promoting conflict resolution in their home communities and abroad. Our participants examine the multiple narratives of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, reflect on the role of the United States in world affairs, develop advanced communication and listening skills, and form lasting friendships. Likewise, HOP fills a vital need in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by humanizing the "other" and evoking compassion and understanding in a time of ongoing conflict. Prior to the Summer Program, many of our Middle Eastern students had never met an individual from the other side of the conflict outside of a military checkpoint. Through HOP, these students build meaningful, personal relationships with individuals from the other side. Through this grant, Rotary International will help train global leaders of the future and promote world understanding and co-existence within our diverse San Diego community and abroad. Specifically, support will fund the following activities and expenses during the 2018 San Diego Summer Program
For clubs that wish to directly sponsor an Israeli or Palestinian teenage participant, they can do so for $3,500.
For clubs that want to sponsor specific activities within the summer program, they can consider:
Low and high team-building ropes course (teens face fears together and build trust, camaraderie, and communication skills in the process): $2,000
Student Directed Peace Films Project in which our teens create powerful two-minute films about the dialogue process: $500 per film; the teens break up into two groups and create five videos for a total of $2,500
Culture night during which students cook traditional meals and perform skits: $1,200
Kosher/Halal meals during the Summer Program (heavily discounted by local restaurants): $1,000 for four meals
Bus transportation and park permit costs for day at the border during which Hands of Peace participants engage in a dialogue with students from Mexico: $2,000 (includes transportation, lunch, the park permit, and snacks)
Supplies for an Peace-Mural Painting Project in which students come together to paint a peace mural: $1,000
Bus transportation expenses for visits to a church, synagogue, and Mosque in which students learn about diverse faiths: $1,500 (each trip is roughly $500)
Stipends for guest speakers, including religious leaders and a non-violence and restorative justice activist: $500
Stipends for four professional Israeli and Palestinian facilitators who lead intensive daily 2.5 hour dialogue sessions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict throughout the 18-day summer program ($1,700 stipend for each faciliator): $6,800
Any additional funds contributed above the total amount of the grant will go to additional enriching program activity expenses.
The goals of the Hands of Peace San Diego Summer Program are to:
1) Nurture and inspire empathetic future leaders and provide teen participants with the tools to work towards peace in their home communities.
2) Educate participants and volunteers in conflict resolution and mediation and deepen their understanding of diverse cultural and religious perspectives.
3) Foster global engagement and demonstrate the power that human connection and dialogue have to break down barriers.
Rotary Club members have the opportunity to take an active role in the July 2018 Summer Programs by attending activities, volunteering their time, hosting international students, and taking part in our Farewell Celebration.
We would additionally like to note that, Hands of Peace Founder, Gretchen Grad, has been awarded two awards by Rotary International: 1) The Willie Frankel Award for Harmony and Understanding from the Rotary Club of Wilmette, and 2) She was named a "Paul Harris Fellow" from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. In addition, Hands of Peace Executive Director, Rick Rosenfeld, is a former executive with The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International in Evanston. Rick managed Donor Services and Recognition from 1988 through 2004, during the peak of the original Polio Plus fundraising campaign.
In addition, we now have club members from SD Downtown, Chula Vista Sunrise, Del Mar/Solana Beach, La Jolla Golden Triangle, Encinitas Coastal Rotary Club, Encinitas Inland Club, SD Coastal Rotary Club and San Diego e-Club involved in this program, via hosting teens, volunteering at events and attending and supporting activities and events. We currently have three supporting Rotary clubs in the Chicago area as well.
We would also like to reach out to Rotary's "anonymous donor" who is dedicating $1,000 contributions to "healing and learning" projects; our program seems like the perfect fit.