Through our regional Richmond Youth Peace Project, an innovative violence prevention and empowerment program for teenagers, we convene teenagers from across the region to learn and apply techniques of nonviolent conflict resolution to help reduce the level of youth violence in the Richmond area. Additionally, RYPP empowers young people by involving them throughout the planning and presentation of RYPP events, educating them about the history of race in the Richmond region, and encouraging them to express themselves positively through the arts. RYPP sponsors annual events including the Generation Dream youth production in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an annual Youth Peace Summit for teenagers, and “No One Is Bulletproof” teen forums on gun violence prevention. Through school and neighborhood based Youth Peace Teams we empower teenagers to be leaders for peace and positive change in their own schools and communities.
Primary Population Served
K-12 (5-19 years)
Surveys show that our youth-led conflict resolution programs are effective.Five out of six responding agencies report observing youth participants using ideas or skills presented. Five out of six agencies report improvement in the behavior of the youth participants after the RPEC program. Ninety-four percent of Youth Peace Leaders report their “school, family, or community has been improved by conflict resolution skills you learned or strengthened through RYPP.”Pre and post test analysis of our 2016 cohort of Youth Peace Leaders show a large increase in the proportion of youth who report that they "know how to teach other teenagers how to resolve conflicts peacefully." In the pre-test, just 0.6% "strongly agreed." In the post test after Peace Center training, 46% strongly agreed. In the words of our active teen peace leaders, through RPEC they learned: "An appreciation for the value of diversity in addressing problems”; "How to resolve conflict without fighting”; “How to advocate for my ideas”; “How to work together and listen to other people's point of views”; “More confidence about working with groups.” Pre- and post- tests of Albert Hill Middle School 7th graders (taken before a series of Peace Center-led study hall workshops, and at the end of the series in 2017) show increased scores on most measures, suggesting that the 7th graders gained knowledge and skill in most of the targeted areas (gaining calm-down skills, conflict problem solving skills, and respect/empathy for others) from the beginning of the program to the end.