The News Room

PeaceJam Slam Report
Posted 12/1/2009 at 11:26 AM by Donna G in PJ Slam
Affiliate: Upper Midwest
- PeaceJam Slam Report -
October 24th, 2009

Registration ran from 9:00 am to 9:50 am. Thanks to the help of 5 dedicated registration volunteers, registration ran as smoothly as we could have hoped. Registration took place in the Northrup Foyer. The space worked very well as it allowed for good “flow” through the registration process.

Participants liked the detailed preliminary e-mails they received leading up to the event: advisors, this year, felt, “more prepared than ever,” registration instructions distributed before the event and just before registration allowed the advisory groups to move quickly through the registration process, advisors commented that the new table set up during registration (four alphabetized tables) really worked wonders in preventing crowding and back-up.

Callie took the opportunity to walk each registration volunteer through their individualized volunteer task descriptions. The description detailed every step of their volunteer role. Volunteers, this year, seemed to be much more comfortable and competent with regard to fulfilling their roles.

Registration Statistics:
- 225 youth participants
- 30 adult participants
- 60 college mentors
- 5 youthrive and University YMCA volunteers
- 30 youthrive staff, members of the PeaceJam Club at the University of Minnesota, youthrive Leadership Team members, University YMCA staff and youthrive Board members

Sites included:
Como Park High School
Covent of the Visitation
Edison High School
Faith Chapel
Farnsworth Aerospace
Brooklyn’s Youth Council
Highland Park High School
ISD 622
Marshall High School
Minneapolis Youth Congress
Minneapolis YMCA
PEASE Academy
Northside Youth Stand UP
Ramsey Int’l Fine Arts High School
Sage Academy
Skills For Tomorrow Charter School
South St. Paul High School
St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church
Victoria Peace Jam Club
Washburn High School
West Side Citizens Organization
Wisconsin Youth Company
White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church
Youth Action Hudson
Youth Coordinating Board
youthrive Leadership Team

Laura Schenke and Lauren Randall, members of the student board at the University YMCA, spent fall semester 2009 recruiting mentors for the PeaceJam Slam. Their committee of leadership staff did grassroots recruiting for the event, chalking sidewalks and handing out flyers in the mall on the University of Minnesota campus. Lauren dressed up in the big red Y mascot while she and Laura visited all of the activity fairs to get students involved. They used their internet savvy as well, recruiting mentors through Facebook and departmental listservs at the U of M, finding many students in the Spanish/Portuguese and Child Psychology departments. In the end, 60 mentors were trained, and all of them participated in the Slam. They were enthusiastic during the training sessions, responding to Stef and Rachel from youthrive and Hedy from the U-Y in team building and strategic conversations about peace, violence, and racism.

The day of the event there were at least two mentors per family group and many family groups led by three mentors. The students enjoyed interacting with their mentors, going to workshops, small group sessions and of course doing the giant 'beat box' at the end of the day. After a long day, they wrapped up by dancing to the beats of Maria Isa and youthrive LIVE. The students are motivated to begin their PeaceJam work and plan their service projects. The mentors are excited to come back in the spring.

Workshops topics were focused around the Global Call to Action. Presenters were approached with phone calls and emails regarding presenting their topic at the conference. We recruited in two ways; those topic areas we have had in the past that were successful, and others we had discovered at various networking events. We looked for those presenters who had experience and knowledge working with and presenting to young people. Once presenters showed interest in presenting, they were sent a workshop request form, requesting contact information, title and description of their presentation, and AV needs they would have. The forms were a great success; the follow up was easier with the proper contact information for presenters.

There was a great variety of workshop choices for both youth and adults:
• From Global to Local by Thuy Nguyen-Tran of Circle of Giving
• Voices in Prevention by Rebecca Weisgrau of Tubman
• Learning about HIV/AIDS Prevention and Compassion by Elise Adair of One Heartland
• Find Your Inner Peace by Thupten Dadak
• Get Your Service-Learning Swag On by Farnaaz Farnzanehkia, Maddy Wegner, Ruth Adu-Gyamfi and Khymyle Mims of NYLC
• The Hate Free Zone by Kathy Seipp of The Advocates for Human Rights
• Teenagers Change the World Everyday – Determine Yours! By Irene Fernando of STLF
• Show Up! Speak Truth! Change Yourself! Lead! Circle Up! By Pam McBride and youth leaders
• Photography, Creative Writing as Outlets to Overcoming Struggles by Lauren Randall of the University YMCA
• How to Heal your Mind and Soul on the Inside by Pat Culliton of the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing

Our media relations plan included pre-event news releases and outreach. We also took the opportunity to make related announcements during the same time period to further increase awareness – including announcing confirmation of Rigoberta Menchu Tum for PeaceJam, April 24th and 25th, the related community-wide service project in South Minneapolis, as well as our new host university partnership with the University of Minnesota in partnership with the YMCA.

Media coverage of PeaceJam Slam included one or more stories by the Minnesota Daily.

youthrive’s Associate Director, Callie Aguilar, checked in with the advisors to gather feedback. Advisors were overwhelmingly positive and energized about returning to their communities utilize the curriculum and prepare for Rigoberta Menchu Tum’s visit to PeaceJam. Dr. James Toole ran the advisor session and curriculum training, which was highly interactive and thorough. Pam McBride, coordinator of the South Minneapolis Service Project Planning Team presented the advisors with information about this spring’s service project and answered questions relating to the PeaceJam participants’ role in the project. Roxanne Hart, youthrive’s Program Evaluation consultant, laid out her new evaluation plan, calling upon advisors to return to their sites and complete the RMC Research pre and post PeaceJam program surveys with the young people they work with.

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Brett E wrote:
really great update, glad to hear it went well and to see all the participation!
posted 12/1/2009 at 1:05 PM
Dawn E wrote:
Good work, Youthrive, our Upper Midwest Regional affiliate!
posted 12/2/2009 at 9:08 AM