By continuing to use our site, you consent to the processing of cookies, user data. If you do not want your data to be processed, please leave the site. Find our full Privacy Policy here.

Planting the Seeds of a Play for Peace Club in Chicago

“I understand how I can use Play for Peace to better my groups.” - Staff member and training participant at Kelly High School in Chicago

If you have ever wondered how we go about planting the seeds for a new Play for Peace Club here in the United States, we’ve got a great story to share. Back in August, veteran trainer Chaun Pridgeon conducted a two-day training for counselors and teachers at Thomas Kelly High School, the third-largest public high school in Chicago. Located in Brighton Park on Chicago’s southwest side, its population is 80 percent Hispanic. When the school expressed interest in possibly forming a Play for Peace Club, the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council agreed to sponsor the training. Before the start of the 2016-2017 school year, Chaun introduced the counselors, teachers, and a few students to Play for Peace and our unique approach to peace education. 

Using a format shared by trainers around the world, the first day of training included an introduction to Play for Peace, ice breakers and activities, and a discussion about techniques used in conflict resolution and experiential education. On the second day of the training, Chaun introduced the group to Play for Peace cooperative games, as well as different facilitation techniques, and showed them how they could adapt their facilitation to the needs of different audiences. The teachers and counselors easily saw how Play for Peace games and related techniques could be useful to their work with students at Kelly High School.

Some of the feedback they shared included: “I understand how I can use Play for Peace to better my groups.” “I can see how this builds confidence in shy students.” “Great activities to break the ice with my students.” Since the school had been part of Richard Rutschman’s Gear Up Program at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) several years ago, Chaun remembers bringing Play for Peace games to Kelly High School in the past. He expressed his hope that the training would help rekindle their connection with Play for Peace. “The training was a wonderful experience,” Chaun said. “The staff was great, the students were great, and I hope they will form a Play for Peace Club. Because they are linked to an elementary school in their neighborhood, there would be a possibility for youth leaders at Kelly High School to bring Play for Peace to the elementary school children.” We hope the seeds that Chaun planted at Kelly High School will continue to grow. We will share updates with you here!