May 21, 2015

Peace a priority for Edgewater

From Eastern Courier, May 19 2015
By Meghan Lawrence

Peace a priority

Solving conflict and creating a peaceful environment is top priority for 50 students taking part in Youth Peace Ambassador Training. Twenty-five Edgewater College students and the same number from De La Salle College have been selected to take part in The Peace Foundation pilot project.

The aim of the youth-led programme is to teach high school students how to solve conflict in a peaceful way. Peace Foundation youth coordinator ​Lucy Stewart says the aim of the programme is to empower young people.

"It is really about enabling them to identify conflict in their school, family or community and teaching them how they can be a positive influence and deal with conflict in a constructive way," she says.

"The students really direct the process and tell us what their needs are, what is going on in the school and community and where the conflicts are."

Year 9 student Briana Valgre says the training has helped her in several areas.

"It will definitely help me at home with my sisters and parents. If I get into an argument with them I will not just walk away but I will know how to solve it more constructively," she says.

Valgre says peace ambassadors need to know how to stay calm and listen. The main skills taught in the training are how to be a constructive listener, effective questioner, how to define conflict and how to respond to it in positive ways.

Year 9 student Hayley Gatward says the training made her think a lot about how people act in certain situations.

"It teaches you how to deal with your emotions and trains you to be someone that others can trust and speak to," she says.

"Now we don't have to rely on teachers to solve conflict, we as students can do it on a more regular basis."

The Youth Peace Ambassador Training project is funded by the Ministry of Youth Development and provides schools with three intensive training sessions.

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