Boca Raton Community High School Chapter Ranks #2 in Nation for Rotary-Sponsored Youth and Peace in Action Chapter Size

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On Sept. 21, Boca Raton Community High School (BRCHS) students launched a local chapter for Youth and Peace in Action (YPA), a new global online education and activism platform organized by Alliance for Peacebuilding and Rotary International that equips youth to become problem-solvers through peace education. The Boca chapter currently ranks #2 in the U.S. for membership size.

Boca Raton Youth Peace in Action high school students

The Boca Raton Community High School chapter of Youth Peace in Action ranks #2 in the United States for membership size.

“We see so many issues and unnecessary hate around the world. As students, we're aware but don't have solutions. We want to make a difference and help our school and community learn to build peace and start a domino effect that contributes to solve today’s issues," said BRCHS junior Brooke Brown.

Boca Raton Community High School students who want to change the world have a new outlet and support to make a difference— Youth and Peace in Action (YPA). A new global initiative organized by Alliance for Peacebuilding and Rotary International, YPA is an online education and activism platform that equips youth to become problem-solvers through peace education and is the largest youth peace-building initiative in the United States and Caribbean. The Boca chapter currently totals 214 members, as of October 26, 2021, and ranks as #2 in the United States and #1 in Florida in membership size.

Among the inaugural YPA members, Boca students were featured in the YPA Goes Live! kickoff event video that was released worldwide on September 21, 2021, the International Day of Peace. Spearheaded locally by Boca High Interact Club student leader Brooke Brown and Dean of Students Kala Sloan, the Boca YPA chapter also celebrated the launch of their local membership on September 21.

“We see so many issues and so much unnecessary hate around the world," said Brown, a junior. "As students, we're aware but don't have solutions. We want to make a difference and help our school and community learn to build peace and start a domino effect that contributes to solve today’s issues."

YPA membership is free and open to all Boca High students with the cost covered by Rotary District 6930. According to Rotary District 6930 Governor Michael F. Walstrom, the district has committed to raising and investing $30,000 to provide for YPA membership in all 46 high schools in their district, from Boca Raton to Titusville.

“As a humanitarian organization, peace is a cornerstone of our mission. We believe when people work to create peace in their communities, that change can have a global effect,” said Walstrom. “YPA is specifically tailored to empower youth to approach and digest the often-complex topics around peace building — and then utilize their energy to take their passion from theory to action.”

The 20-hour YPA online learning experience includes peace education content, challenges to promote and make peace, and opportunities to connect with other young peace builders. Courses are now in progress and will continue through May 2022. The coursework culminates in individual capstone service projects of each student’s own design, guided by adult faculty members, and the achievement of advanced certification. Boca students who complete the course will also receive credit from the high school for 20 hours of community service.

“Our future is in the hands of our youth. We have to act now and teach tolerance and acceptance to our students so they can spread the message of peace and hopefully change the world,” said Dr. Susie King, Boca Raton High School principal.

The Youth and Peace in Action: Engaging Youth Community Peacebuilders is the largest local peacebuilding initiative in Rotary Zones 33 and 34 including Rotary District 6930 and is part of their commitment to provide free peace education, training and project mentoring for high school students, teachers and youth service club members. Anyone interested in financially supporting this project may contribute to the YPA project online via Rotary District 6930's Current Projects. All donations are tax-deductible.

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Jennifer O'Donley
Boca Raton High School
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