Kids For Peace Expands Programs and Outreach in Response to Incidents of School Bullying and Violence

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Kids for Peace, a global non-profit and creator of The Great Kindness Challenge, is driven to expand kindness and peace-building programs in the wake of increased school bullying and worldwide violence against students.

We feel the urgent need for kindness and peace in schools. Act by act, we can each make an immediate and significant difference in creating safe, respectful and joyful school climates, worldwide.

Kids for Peace is officially expanding peace-building efforts in Pakistan in direct response to the mass shooting in Peshawar* and just weeks after visiting local Pakistani schools and government officials in early December. In addition, the organization is continuing to aggressively grow their bully-prevention initiative, The Great Kindness Challenge, to two million students domestically by January 2015 to help solve the school climate crisis in the United States.

The expansion of Kids for Peace into Pakistan was driven by a visit there in early December to local Kids for Peace chapters in Quetta. Kids for Peace has launched over 250 chapters, across the globe, and Co-Founder Jill McManigal visits the chapters where peace work is needed most. “Kids for Peace was compelled to travel to Pakistan to meet our chapter leaders, strategize peace plans, and cheer on the Kids for Peace children. I was overwhelmed by the kindness and bravery of the students and leaders. Upon returning from the trip I was heartbroken by the tragedy and violence at the school in Peshawar and feel that peace-building among students, teachers and the community is now even more crucial.” McManigal had already begun development of a national plan for Kids for Peace in Pakistan, but is now actively seeking grants to underwrite hiring staff immediately to begin the work. “It is important to respond to violence with a solid plan of peace,” explains McManigal. “Now, more than ever, Pakistani students need Kids for Peace and we will work to provide them with the means to start chapters nationwide.”

Kids for Peace is also busy domestically, working tirelessly to promote and enroll schools in their ever-growing bully-prevention program, The Great Kindness Challenge. The program, which was created in 2011 in response to an outcry against school bullying, has grown from three schools in 2012 to 1099 schools with 554,486 students in 2014. The program is provided at no cost and takes place over one week in January (January 26-30, 2015). Students are provided with a checklist of 50 kind acts and they take the challenge to prove that “kindness is strength and bullying is weak.” Schools, administrators and students agree, testifying that The Great Kindness Challenge week is uniquely special and provides a fresh start to the new year by creating a culture of kindness. With studies to back her up, McManigal strongly believes, “When students perform kind act after kind act, kindness becomes a habit. And when kindness becomes a habit, then peace becomes possible.” The Great Kindness Challenge is currently on target to have over two million students enrolled for 2015, which will amount to 100 million acts of kindness in schools nationwide. “The prevalence of stories about school bullying aren’t telling the whole story. There is a kindness movement rippling through the education system and the transformations that are taking place are magical,” explains McManigal.

With goals to build a national platform for Kids for Peace in Pakistan, while also growing and hosting The Great Kindness Challenge domestically, McManigal and her volunteers, staff and students will be busy, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. McManigal states, "Kids for Peace is humbled to perform this work. We feel the urgent need for kindness and peace in schools. Act by act, we can each make an immediate and significant difference in creating safe, respectful and joyful school climates, worldwide."

Schools interested in enrolling in The Great Kindness Challenge taking place January 26-30 2015 can enroll online at: http://www.TheGreatKindnessChallenge.org. Those interested in funding Kids for Peace programs in Pakistan, volunteering with the organization or starting a chapter are invited to go to their website for more information: http://www.KidsforPeaceGlobal.org

The Great Kindness Challenge is made possible by the generosity of presenting sponsor Dignity Health and supporting sponsors: ExaMobile, The Code Crew, ViaSat, SDG&E, NRG and McGraw-Hill Education.

*CNN "In Pakistan school attack, Taliban terrorists kill 145, mostly children" December 17, 2014

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Jill McManigal
Kids for Peace
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