Several of our Board of Directors have been involved in the delivery of programs in the helping professions and in the educational setting for several years. Based on our experience, it is our collective opinion that children must be involved in these experiences over a period of time in order to realize maximize benefit. Preferably, they will be able to participate from the first day of involvement until they graduate from high school. This lengthy involvement will increase the likelihood that participants will have experienced a change in feeling toward and thinking about themselves, their peers, their families, their neighborhoods, and their environment. Therefore, our programs are being designed for children of all ages with sensitivity to cultures and neighborhood environments of our participants. Increasing levels of critical thinking and personal examination will be required at increasing age levels.
Our review of community organizations in the Denver metropolitan area has shown that very few programs exist that are similar in nature or presentation style to those that we are planning. Where similarities do exist, the length of program involvement is generally shorter than we are planning, the neighborhood is not one in which we will become involved, the program delivery methodology varies significantly from what we are planning, or we have established a working relationship with the organization offering the programs and will be cooperating with that organization in program delivery.
Our activity programs will provide the opportunity for participants to interact with each other to a high degree and will include the use of classroom programs, many art and music forms, group and individual discussion sessions, role- playing activities, recreational opportunities, relaxation and meditation practice sessions, theatrical performances, and a lecture series. Additionally, an array of musical programs will be available in our theater on a regular basis.
All programs will require that students use appropriate levels of critical thinking skills and will require that they explore their feelings about the topics and issues that are discussed or experienced.
We expect that participants will experience a reduction of conflict and violence in their families, in places where they study and play, in their neighborhoods, and in their schools. We also expect that participants will actively promote the development and maintenance of a peaceful family, neighborhood, and school environment. They will initiate and promote family, neighborhood, and school programs designed to preserve and responsibly use our environmental resources.
The programs will take place in the Our Center of Peace and where children naturally congregate in their communities. Children will be involved in these programs over an extended period of time so that the benefits will be maximally realized. The outreach programs will be conducted by trained volunteers and staff members in schools, churches, and community centers at least two times per month.
Two prepared courses will be used as part of the Center programs. One is the Course on Nonviolence being prepared by the Institute for Peace and Justice and the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence. The chair of our Development Committee was one of the reviewers of the course and has been involved in its development and test marketing. The other course is offered by the Institute for Peace and Justice and is written for use by teens. It is called Teens Acting for Peace. Both courses are interactive in nature and involve readings, role-playing, group discussions, and completion of worksheets for each lesson. The courses can extend over a period of several months and are modular, so that portions can be offered at various times. Other existing programs are now being examined for use during the initial program offering. Several local organizations that work with children have offered to discuss a working relationship with our foundation.
What follows is a description of the type of programs as well the atmosphere that will be established in each of the rooms in Our Center of Peace. We have chosen to describe the programs on a room-by-room basis because the atmosphere varies in each room and the equipment and materials needed to support the programs are different in each room.
The education room will be used for class sessions with a facilitator/leader who guides students through a series of interactive exercises that include readings, film clips, worksheets, discussions between students and facilitators and between individual students, as well as student presentations and role playing exercises.
The class sessions will include topics, e.g., learning respect for oneself, learning respect for others, respecting the environment, examination of race and cultural relations, the nature and impact of abusive verbal behavior, verbal and violent behavior in the family and the neighborhood, how to feel peace within yourself, how to feel peace in the world, how your own peaceful nature and actions impact others, why it is sometimes difficult to feel peaceful toward yourself and others, how to start activities and programs at home, in the neighborhood, and in school that promote peaceful actions and contribute to the happiness of your peers.
The evaluation of the impact of such programs will rely primarily on self, peer, and significant adult responses using formal surveys and informal interviews. These evaluations will take place when a program has been completed and periodically in the students' homes, school settings, and community gathering places.
Tables and chairs constructed to facilitate discussion and comfort will be the primary pieces of equipment. Several computer work stations as well as writing stations will be included. Audio/visual equipment will be necessary, along with chalk and white boards. Appropriate ceiling and station lighting will be available. The overall décor will not resemble a classroom, but rather comfortable and relaxing learning centers wherein several sessions can be conducted simultaneously.
Since there is a wide range of healing requirements, to attempt to cover all areas of all human requirements may be too large of a scope for Our Center of Peace. It is for this reason that we envision there being two aspects of the Rejuvenation Room, one that offers referrals to well known successful and well established outside agencies, and the second aspect being workshops that will help participants learn about various methods of physical, mental, and spiritual rejuvenation at Our Center of Peace.
Within Our Center of Peace's Rejuvenation Room, there will be an atmosphere of safety, security, comfort, calm and peace. People of all ages will come and find an opportunity to be uplifted and learn about the area(s) they might see as helpful.
The outside agencies that Our Center of Peace will be making referrals to will be for those people seeking professional-level help (such as psychotherapy/counseling) and can also include crises management type needs (for example, help for domestic violence victims and their families).
Onsite information and workshops about healing at Our Center of Peace may include any or all of the following:
- Nontraditional methods of healing such as Reiki and other energy healing modalities, acupuncture, rolfing, past life regression healing, coaching, etc.
- Teaching tools and techniques to assist people in their own healing. This could include teaching meditation techniques, so the person can be in touch with their inner guidance, find healing within and also become empowered and self-aware.
- Support groups for different areas as needed.
There should be a qualified professional who can make an accurate assessment of the needs of the people coming to Our Center of Peace for information about rejuvenation, with regards to whether the person needs a referral to an outside agency or can find information within Our Center of Peace's Rejuvenation room.
We also envision that the teachers at Our Center of Peace will either volunteer their time or base their instruction fee on a sliding scale.
The recreation room will be a safe haven for youth and a place where they can interact with their peers in a variety of activities. Counselors will be available as part of the recreation staff so that student to student interactions can be observed and intervention and teaching can be instantaneous. Activities will usually include a time for discussion of how the participants felt about the game, the interaction, and what might have been learned, both personally and as a group. The evaluation and discussion aspect of these activities is what will differentiate this program from the normal recreation programs.
The indoor games will include a wide variety of table games, educational arcade games, a big screen TV with gaming capability, and plenty of couches on which to relax. The outdoor game area will include a basketball area, a place for croquet, a small area for soccer, football and other field sports, and a tennis court.
The primary purpose of these activities will be to help students learn to interact with their peers in a positive way, how to resolve any conflict that might occur, and how to develop leadership skills.
The creation will be light and open. Its décor will be earth tones, pastels, high ceilings, with water decorations. It will be an open space with the necessary basic equipment for each of the art areas. Earthen tile, natural floors, wood trimmings on walls, windows, and ceilings will enhance the earthy feeling.
Plasma walls will be used to project digital images of works. The appropriate sound systems will be installed. Video equipment and internet connections will be available.
Artist specialties will include fine art, pottery, digital film, photography, sculpture, jewelry design and crafting, metal works, wood carving, film, graphic design, poetry, books, light, music, sound, and color. Volunteer artists in each of these areas will work with participants to help them find their creative spirits and to help them express their feelings of peace in art forms.
The appreciation room will contain materials and interactive educational devices to allow Center visitors to learn about visionaries and thinkers who have demonstrated the art of living lives of peace, love, humanity, self respect, and loving-kindness. Persons to be included will be Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The Dalai Lama, Jesus, Mohammed, Mother Theresa and other peace leaders from around the world.
A museum and library feeling and environment will be established in this room. Visitors will feel an energy of reverence when they walk in. Pictures of peace visionaries and activist, framed peace documents, speeches, and quotes will be hanging from the walls. A bookcase will contain the biographies of the great leaders. A low background audio tape will be playing that narrates a journey of all the great leaders. Comfortable reading facilities will be available.
A monthly educational series that focuses on famous peace activists will be scheduled. Writers who have written books or articles about peace will be invited to give lectures. Events will be held that will honor the birthdays and significant dates in each of the peace activists lives. There will be a monthly program conducted by staff that will focus on the philosophies of the great peace activists. Programs will be offered that will examine what the world would be like if the famous peace leaders of yesterday had not existed or if they took a less purposeful path. Discussion will also include participant's visions of how a peaceful community and world would look and feel. Schools will be invited to conduct role playing exercises that highlight of the great leaders. Local playwrights will be invited to present original plays about the life of one of the leaders. The Play Back Theater troupe will be invited to adlib I format of a live audience about great scenes from a leader's life. An outreach educational series on great leaders will be presented in the schools. Outreach programs will be presented to corporations to help them learn how to contribute to peace.
In this room, visitors to the Center can learn about peace, love, humanity, and loving-kindness through utilization of visuals, feeling methodologies, and auditory sensory materials. Guidance will be provided to other rooms and venues that can assist our visitors and members to uncover the answers that they are seeking to their questions about living peaceful lives.
Information will be provided in a variety of formats because people learn in different modes. Visual, kinesthetic, and auditory materials and devices will be used.
Visual materials to be included will be books, videos, maps, graphs, charts collages computers to access Websites, art works from children and artists the community and around the world that displaying peace and love and dance therapy information.
Kinesthetic materials will include works of art that involve softness, warm fuzzy places to sit and feel, animal visits, and things to touch.
Auditory devices will include audio tapes, music, singing, voice lessons, and public speaking lessons.
Visitors will be able to check out materials as well as share materials of theirs for use in the room. Meeting areas will be established for visitors to share information gathered and being studied. Access to websites will be provided. Guides will be available to help visitors find the learning methodology that bets fits their styles. Structured and unstructured material discussion groups will be available with the guidance of staff if desired.
Periodically, speakers will be available who have written some of the materials and recorded some of the tapes. Schedules will be set for artist to explain the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic aspects of peace.
Events will be scheduled that will include a Day of Peace, Warm Fuzzy Day, Inner color Day, Dance your Inner Happiness Day, Live Your Dream Day, Touch Another Spirit Day, Room to Grow Day, Body Awareness Day, Realizing the Spiritual and Human Being Oneness Day, and the "How To" Days.
Purpose: To show the natural order of our environment and what happens when nature or humans interfere with this order. The environments go from global to country to community to home to internal. This is a visual teaching tool.
Setting: All walls would work as movie screens. A projector would be mounted in the center of the room on the ceiling. The projections would show the natural order of life, recycling. There would be hands-on interactive areas in the room. A visitor could perform a selected activity. The video would respond to the activity and show the altered results. Such activities would include polluting vehicles, trash dumps, erosion, lead paint, cleaning chemicals, smoking, drugs, negative thinking, stress, obesity, war, extinction, etc. Also, there would be activities such as exercise, balanced diets, xeriscape, recycling, and energy efficient vehicles, peace, etc.
As the settings in the room change from global to internal, a sound is emanating from the area of the projector. It starts out very soft, distant. It increases with volume and intensity as the environment changes from one dimension to the next. The closer to the internal environment the louder it gets. The sound is a heartbeat. When the environment at any level is according to nature, the heartbeat is rhythmic, when there is interference, the heartbeat is changed.
Someone would be available in the room to answers questions and suggest reading material whish would be available in another room at the Center.
This room will be a place for people of all ages to be entertained, enlightened and inspired through a series of performing artist's interpretations of peace. Musicians, poets, actors, clowns and speakers will capture the imagination of the audience and leave them pondering the question of what peace means to them. The Imagination room is a theater atmosphere.
Scheduled evenings will be dedicated to children's theater, family entertainment and some adult only evenings. The theater will be utilized for specific workshops and audience participation events.
The theater will hold between 900-1200 people and the stage will be versatile and have state of the art sound and musical equipment. Seating will be arranged so that every seat will be a desirable location. The newest style in comfortable seating will be installed.
The theater will be a place to assist in raising funds to support the Center. Tickets will range from $5.00 to $50.00 depending on the performance and the artist. Children, student, senior, family, and Center membership discounts will be offered.
Corporate sponsorship will be used to support the programs of the theater. Specific event sponsorship will be solicited for support. A full time event manager and necessary facility staff will be employed to manage the theater.