Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice

USA
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Learning. To End Violence. Together with peacemakers, we develop powerful new approaches to end cycles of violence, while advancing this learning locally and globally.

At the Kroc IPJ, we are the bridge between learning and practice within the University of San Diego's Kroc School, driving forward its mission to create engaged, applied learning for positive social impact. To end violence and build peace requires learning. The core of the Kroc IPJ mission is to co-create learning with our PeaceMakers – learning that is deeply grounded in the lived experience of PeaceMakers around the world, that is made rigorous by our place within a university ecosystem, and that has immediate, practical applications for those working to end cycles of violence. 1. The Building Trust Partnership: A healthy relationship between police and the public is essential for strong, resilient, peaceful communities. Yet communities across the United States are suffering from a breakdown in trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. As trusted moral authorities and leaders of their communities, religious leaders from all faith backgrounds are uniquely positioned to help build and strengthen these connections between police and community members. Across San Diego County, many religious leaders are already engaged in this effort and many other religious leaders are interested in getting involved in this type of work, but are unsure how to get started To address this need, the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice’s (Kroc IPJ) Building Trust Partnership is providing knowledge, resources, and support to religious leaders of all faiths so that they can more effectively improve relationships and build trust between police and communities. In the first phase of the project, the Kroc IPJ developed and launched a handbook and website (www.buildtrustsd.org). Based on over 80 interviews with religious leaders, police, and community members from across San Diego County, the handbook and website provide practical information to clergy on what role they can plan in strengthening police-community relations and how they can play this role. 1.) In the next phase of the Building Trust Partnership, the Kroc IPJ is building a community of practice of San Diego clergy achieving concrete results in their neighborhoods by employing the lessons and approaches of the handbook. As a hub for religious leaders involved in this work, the Kroc IPJ is fostering collaboration, co-creating new approaches to building trust, and supporting religious leaders in developing community-based initiatives like those outlined in the handbook, all while documenting and disseminating the learning that emerges from these processes. Website: www.buildtrustsd.org 2.) Social Fabric Initiative: Responding to Youth Needs One of the most crucial problems facing youth in San Diego and the United States is an increasing sense of isolation and social marginalization. This creates a lack of opportunities to create positive change in their communities and a loss of dense social networks that create pathways to success. Youth today are yearning for more opportunities to engage with each other and their communities in positive ways through leadership, experience, and action. Goals and Outcomes The ultimate goals of the Social Fabric Initiative are to prepare youth for success while contributing to a more connected, cohesive, peaceful San Diego. We believe that if youth are given the opportunity to work collaboratively in diverse teams and to make positive contributions to their community, then they will gain the skills and relationships necessary for success. And the dense social networks created by the youth will strengthen the social fabric throughout San Diego as a whole. The initiative will measure specific types of outcomes drawn primarily from the Positive Youth Development field including increased ability to collaborate, increased self-efficacy, and stronger and more diverse social networks. Indicators for each set of outcomes will be developed in consultation with a professional evaluator, currently being hired. Building on Success SFI builds on the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice’s fifteen years of working with youth in San Diego and Baja, California through the WorldLink program, which reached over 7,000 youth. The re-imagined program aligns with the Kroc IPJ’s new strategy to build powerful communities of peacemakers working to solve problems and create positive change in their societies. We recognize that there are many opportunities for youth in San Diego to develop skills and deepen knowledge through large wrap-around services like the San Diego Youth Development Office and robust educational services like San Diego Workforce Partnership. However, SFI offers a model of multi-level programming that allows youth to be in the driver seat - to design, lead, and implement projects that positively impacts their communities while strengthening their own self-efficacy. Website: https://www.krocsfi.org/ 3.) Connected Youth-Resilient Communities: The Connected Youth-Resilient Communities project is an innovative approach to preventing violent extremism through a renewed focus on general community-based resource development alongside youth engagement and empowerment efforts. The Kroc IPJ is partnering with local organizations in San Diego to find effective strategies that engage refugee youth with their communities and improve factors that reduce social isolation and marginalization, such as place attachment and sense of community. The project has two main goals. Empowering youth to find and use their voice, and connecting them to their communities through tangible community-based projects that make a difference on the ground. USD staff is currently working to support our partners to create and implement effective and engaging youth-based programs in their community; assessing and building their internal capacity in order to sustain these programs long-term; and researching whether said programs will increase youth sense of efficacy, community, and place attachment through the program; therefore creating more resilient communities altogether.


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