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On Saturday, March 19th, our Service Learning Leadership class hosted its Peace4Kids Day at Peninsula High School for the second year in a row. Peace4Kids is a non-profit organization that provides youth in foster care with services, stability, and safety; employing an approach that the organization refers to as “Community As Family”. Last year, Service Learning collaborated with the organization to create an event that brought together Peninsula students and faculty with the P4K youth; and both sides worked together again to organize an equally successful event.

The P4K youth had a wide variety of activities to choose from throughout the day, ranging from basketball and dance to science rangers to cooking and art. All of these activities were run by Peninsula students and faculty who volunteered their services for the event. Along with these activities, the Peninsula volunteers and Peace4Kids youth were also involved in a COMPASSION IT activity during lunchtime. Service Learning has worked with COMPASSION IT on numerous occasions, and was fortunate enough to be able to include the organization--and its extremely positive message--in the Peace4Kids event. The P4K youth were incredibly engaged and thoughtful throughout the activity, providing insightful observations and ideas about the causes of and responses to bullying. After lunch, the activities continued on until it was almost time to say goodbye.

As the day came to a close, everyone reunited in the gym for another thoughtful and heart-warming activity. Each person--both P4K youth and advisors, along with Peninsula students and faculty--traced the outline of our hands on a piece of paper and wrote what we felt friendship meant to each of us personally. Once we had written our answers, we attached them to a poster that SLL hopes to continue using at future Peace4Kids events that take place at Peninsula. Answers about the meaning of friendship ranged from “happiness” to “love” to “the family we get to choose”. Each answer was incredibly thoughtful and personal, and proved to be a great way to start wrapping up the event. Once the poster had been completed, the group who had taken the dance class activity performed for everyone, and Peace4Kid’s executive director Zaid Gayle closed the event with a few laughs and kind words. At the end of the eventful day, the Peninsula volunteers waved off the P4K buses and reflected upon the event as a group; the responses were overwhelmingly positive.

Both our Service Learning students and the other Peninsula volunteers learned a great deal from the P4K youth during this event. Each volunteer was given the opportunity to bond with children whom they would’ve otherwise not have had the chance to interact with. Building trust, forming positive relationships, and learning to open up are all very important aspects of the Peace4Kids program, and along with bettering the lives of the foster youth in the program, it provides volunteers like us with the opportunity to improve as well. After another successful event, Service Learning Leadership looks forward to working with Peace4Kids again in the future and creating a long-lasting tradition. (For privacy reasons, we can not post photos of the kids, but believe us, it was a fun day!)

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