On Monday, August 23, 2010, three of us from the Peace Alliance visited Lauren's House for Positive Change in East Palo Alto. The group included myself, Nancy Merritt (Director of the Northern California Peace Alliance)and Nancy Kivette (San Francisco leader for the Peace Alliance).
Lauren's House is a group operated by one woman who realized that she wanted to help some of the children in her community to thrive in a safe space. The kids range from 7-18 years old, and the several that we met on Monday were breathtakingly smart and wonderful kids. Many of them were starting school the next day, so we only got a couple of hours to interact with them.
I led a civics lesson, replete with a hand-out that every single child completed. I taught them about the different levels of government and how it is vital to know that you can contact any elected representative to have your voice be heard. Three of them had already written letters to the President and had gotten responses back. They seemed very interested in learning how to participiate in government, and one child had been selected to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the upcoming first day of school.
After the civics lesson, Nancy and Nancy talked about the legislation that the Peace Alliance is trying to promote; namely, HR808 to create a U.S. Department of Peace, and HR1064/S434, the Youth PROMISE Act. All the students, and their illustrious leader, were enthusiastic about trying to find peaceful solutions to the violence that plagues so many communities in the country. The evening rounded out with some postcard writing to Senators Feinstein and Boxer.
For more information on these pieces of legislation and the goals of The Peace Alliance, visit: www.ThePeaceAlliance.org and www.youthpromiseaction.org