Growing up shouldn't have to be a tough job but sometimes it can be. Kids in school already go through a lot and if you add in being picked on or bullied, it can make going to school a nightmare for some students. Thankfully Cedar Rapids Schools are trying to put an end to fights and bullying with the Youth Peace Project.

Unsplash - Scott Webb
Unsplash - Scott Webb

According to Kids First Iowa, "the Cedar Rapids community has seen a surge in violence among youth, with sometimes lethal results. Conflicts that occur in school have spilled over and led to greater violence in the community at large."

Peace facilitators are looking to address issues before they become a bigger problem. Most of the time the facilitators hear about conflicts through word of mouth. They've already heard about fights that have been prevented by addressing problems early. Judy Goldberg is the Coordinators of Kids First Youth Peach Project and she told KCRG,

We get referrals from the students themselves, from teachers, from administration. We know that we have prevented fights for example, because when we hear rumblings we’re getting those kids together

One of the toughest parts for kids, when they have a problem, is knowing who to talk to or when they can go for help. The Youth Peace project does a fantastic job of eliminating that problem and gives kids a direct line of communication to resolve conflicts.

Angelina Ramirez is a Kids First Peace Facilitator at McKinley & Metro and she was part of resolving a conflict when she heard about two students who had a fallout over the summer. She told KCRG

I met with each of them individually and when I talked to them individually right they told me they actually didn’t want to fight but they thought they had to.

What I find funny about kids who are having a problem is when they can find a way to resolve the issue respectfully, they always somehow end up being friends. Those two students who used the Kids First Peace Project now sit together at lunch every day, according to Ramirez.

The Youth Peace Project has added three facilitators this year and now has a total of 7 at 10 Cedar Rapids Schools.

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