Klub Inteligencji Katolickiej is a key Play for Peace partner organization. According to KIK - KIK was founded in 1956 and is one of the oldest associations in Poland. From the beginning of its existence, KIK was an organization gathering Christians who wanted to change the world around them for the better. KIK shared with us their activities in 4 areas;
Firstly, we support the development of civil society. We talk about important issues in our country and we support organizations abroad. Since 2014, we have also been cooperating with organizations from Ukraine. We supported the protesters during the Revolution of Dignity, we collaborated with Ukrainian artists, educational organizations and others.
Second, we help. We have carried out or are carrying out aid operations in Syria and Iraq. During the war in Donbass, we supported children who lost their parents at the front. Our volunteers help migrants and refugees forced by the Belarusian regime to cross the border in Polish forests. Since February, we have also been helping Ukraine and Ukrainians. We run a Ukrainian school in Warsaw, we conducted evacuation operations, we transported hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid, we received refugees in our homes.
Thirdly, we are building our community of believers, committed and responsible for others.
Fourth, we educate. For 50 years, we have been developing a unique method of upbringing, somewhat similar to scouting, based on close contact with nature, positive motivation, learning to be brave and supporting the holistic development of children and youth. We educate to be brave and resourceful. We avoid comfort, but we allow children to establish lasting relationships and experience good adventures. Our activities bring results. We educate successive generations of young creative and responsible people, many of whom achieve success in their workplaces, become politicians, work in local governments, build non-governmental organizations and help others."
Together, KIK and Play for Peace are working to build bridges of healing and peace between Ukrainian and Polish young people. Maria Loskot at KIK is in regular touch with the Play for Peace Executive Director Sarah Gough. Maria, who is a psychology student is the one leading the way in starting a new Play for Peace Club in Warsaw. Maria has already recruited a Ukrainian woman as a co-leader and is in the process of finding Ukrainian and Polish teens to start the club.
Sarah is providing ongoing mentorship to Maria and other leaders involved in this effort to bring Play for Peace to Poland. Sarah is also providing virtual training for club members and leaders. Richard Rutschman, a Play for Peace Trainer, is heading back to Poland in October to continue his efforts to train youth and leaders in the area and do another workshop for teachers. In May, Rich trained thirty young adults as facilitators and bridge builders using Play for Peace activities and methods. And then thirty more facilitators were trained to accommodate the need for camp counselors for 14 summer camps.
Play for Peace and Kikori App are providing everyone involved with free membership to Kikori App. This gives them full access to all of the activities, playlists and facilitation guidance in the app. And dozens of activities have already been translated into Polish and Ukrainian.
And we are very excited that Maria is planning to come to the United State to further her training and is especially interested in learning about motivational interviewing, experiential education and the mind/body connection.
As a real sign of the impact of using cooperative play to make a difference, Maria explained that at one of the camps she led, the only thing that some of the teens felt safe enough to participate in were the games. These youth, who were otherwise disengaged in camp, allowed the activities to pull them in and made it possible for them to interact with the other youth, opening the door to many possibilities.