The United States is a diverse melting pot of cultures, religions, and ethnicities, since for much of the country's history it has drawn people from across the globe to what is known as the "land of opportunity." Unfortunately, much internal conflict also exists. Discrimination against people based on gender, religion, race, and sexual orientation can be felt in areas throughout the country, and in far too many cases violence is the result. And in light of today's political landscape, the country has become even more divided by its differences. While our current programming is in Los Angeles, over the years Play for Peace has worked extensively in Chicago, Denver, Baltimore and various other towns and cities.
The Heart of Los Angeles Club was started by 9th and 10th graders in Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA), an organization that gives underserved kids an equal chance to succeed through a comprehensive array of after school academic, arts, athletics and wellness programs. The group works in central L.A., an area which has a particularly high concentration of new immigrants and first generation Americans struggling to make their way, which can sometimes make for a volatile environment, vulnerable to poverty and crime.
Play for Peace is the centerpiece of the leadership programming at HOLA. High school age youth facilitators lead monthly cooperative play sessions with younger students, and over 300 elementary and middle school age participants benefit from these activities.
"There has been a big impact on both the students who are receiving and those who are giving the Practice Peace sessions. Both students have increased their cooperative skills and also improved harmony in the group."
Senior Program Director,
Heart of Los Angeles Club
Heart of Los Angeles Club (HOLA)
Los Angeles, California
Gems of Idaho Club
Chicago Goode Club
Play for Peace is not just an organization. It is a family of peace builders trying to change the world. The Play for Peace connection is strong—so strong that it recently brought together a group of Play for Peace members and former members in Chicago, who are very devoted to spreading Play for Peace in their communities.
As part of our most recent Global Games for Interfaith Harmony Week, this week we hosted an exchange between the HOLA club in Los Angeles, California, and the Cantel Club in Guatemala. Our clubs' shared their visions and the work they are doing, and had a blast in the process!
This month we hosted our first-ever Playshop Connect—with much success! Not only did the group—an organization based in the Chicago area—learn about Play for Peace, but they also took part in a series of fun, interactive challenges and activities that created connection and community among team members.