Agape-Satyagraha program now at six sites across the country


Logo for the Agape-Satyagraha program of On Earth Peace
Marie Benner-Rhoades in an Agape-Satyagraha training
Photo by On Earth Peace
Marie Benner-Rhoades (right) in an Agape-Satyagraha training with youth. The program is now active at six sites across the country.

The On Earth Peace program to teach nonviolence and Christian peacemaking to youth, called Agape-Satyagraha, is now active at six sites across the country. Reports Marie Benner-Rhoades, Youth and Young Adult Peace Formation director for On Earth Peace: “Agape-Satyagraha Leadership Training helps junior and senior high youth learn to deal with conflict without using violence by presenting concepts and skills training through the completion of five levels.

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“The program teaches youth the heart of Christian peacemaking (agape love) and Gandhian nonviolence (satyagraha) and empowers youth to use agape and satyagraha together for nonviolent interpersonal conflict resolution and nonviolent social change.”

The Agape-Satyagraha sites mentor youth ages 11-18 through five levels of skills training: understanding conflict escalation, anger management, de-escalating conflict, negotiation and mediation, and community social change. Adult volunteers coach youth individually or in small groups through each level.

“In 2012, a three-year pilot program ended and On Earth Peace is now offering the program more widely,” reports Benner-Rhoades. The organization provides support to local communities to offer the program, and those sites provide feedback as they develop the curriculum to meet needs in different settings. Site coordinators meet monthly to share about their achievements and worship together.

Current sites for Agape-Satyagraha are:
-- the Boys and Girls Club of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, Va.
-- Acts 4 Peace in Baltimore, Md.
-- Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren at Fremont Elementary School
-- the Peace Place in Trotwood, Ohio
-- Brethren Community Ministries in Harrisburg, Pa.
-- Danzante Urban Arts in Harrisburg, Pa.

The program is seeking new sites in 2013. To recommend a congregation or organization as a potential Agape-Satyagraha site, please contact Marie Benner-Rhoades at .

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