"Fund-raiser aimed at Jamaican education

Despite its tropical weather, pristine beaches, reggae music and reputation as an island paradise, the small nation of Jamaica also has its share of social and political challenges, consistently ranking as one of the most violent nations in the world, with youth violence among the top concerns of the island residents.

In light of these challenges, Peace Learning Center of Indianapolis is continuing its efforts to help stem the tide of this continuing trend toward violence, particularly among Jamaica’s youth.

This Friday, Aug. 17, PLC will host a Jamaican “Conscious Party” at the Wheeler Community Center in hopes of raising awareness and resources for the ongoing peace education program in Savanna la Mar, Jamaica.

The event is also meant to increase intercultural understanding and provide a forum for a discussion of the challenges of international community building. It is also a great opportunity to celebrate Jamaican culture through food, music and art.

Peace Learning Center began its peace education efforts in Jamaica last year at the request of members of the Indianapolis Rotary Club, which has maintained a 15-year “twin club” relationship with Rotarians in Savanna la Mar, a town in Westmoreland Parish in the southwest corner of the island.

In January of this year, a delegation of Hoosiers traveled to Jamaica to consult with civic and education leaders in designing a peace curriculum for the island’s youth. The delegation was part of a “Hoosier goodwill entourage” that included representatives from the Indianapolis Rotary Club, Ambassadors for Children and Dyslexia Institute of Indiana former first lady Judy O’Bannon and Judge Patricia Riley.

With assistance from Rotarians in Savanna la Mar and Negril, the goodwill entourage was able to visit seven schools, offer dental and medical clinics and conduct two conferences with over 70 teachers, principals and social workers representing four parishes in western Jamaica.

Friday’s “Conscious Party” is an effort by Peace Learning Center to raise awareness and much-needed funds. The evening will include live music, food from Island Delight restaurant and screening of a documentary on international community building, followed by a panel discussion.

A $20 donation is requested, and all of the money collected will pay for teacher workshops, classroom supplies and the development of a Jamaican Peace Project curriculum.

For more information, contact Courtney Burke at courtneyburkey@gmail.com.

Celebrating 10 years of peace education

Started in Eagle Creek Park in 1997, Peace Learning Center has reached more than 100,000 people. With a mission to promote a culture of peace through education to youth and communities, PLC believes all people have the capacity to resolve conflicts peacefully.

This fall, Peace Learning Center Community Fest will celebrate the organization’s many successes, honors and recognitions on Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For information on advance ticket sales and volunteer opportunities, contact Gina Woods at 317-327-7144 or gwoods@peacelearningcenter.org.

What: Jamaican “Conscious Party”

When: Friday, Aug. 17, 5-7 p.m.

Where: Wheeler Community Center, Fountain Square

Who: Hosted by Peace Learning Center www.peacelearningcenter.org