Seek The Peace, Inc. (SEEK) was founded in October of 2008, originally under the name Free City International, by Jason and Tess Clarke. The Organization was created to meet the needs of refugees being resettled to the Dallas, TX area. In regard to the number of refugees resettled by city, Dallas ranks fifth with Glendale, California, Houston, Texas, El Cajon, California, and Phoenix, Arizona ranking higher, respectively.
SEEK began its organizational focus in the area of family mentorship, case management, English as a Second Language (ESL), and life skills. From 2008 until 2013 the mission of SEEK was to “warmly welcome and strategically integrate refugees into Dallas, TX.” Beginning in 2013 the Organization underwent a year-long research-based investigation of the unmet needs of refugees in the United States. The results of this research informed SEEK of a “deeper” set of needs especially relating to trauma and conflict.
The majority of refugees who are resettled to the United States come from environments of violent conflict or war. This reality for refugees places them at the apex of trauma where torture, the murder of close family members, rape, and other personal experiences shape their life in dramatic ways. Most of the programs and initiatives for resettled refugees in the US do not address this aspect of the lives of those whom they serve. The litany of programs and funding for refugees takes for granted this dark fact. For example, the high school graduation rate in 2015 for refugees in Dallas was a meager 33%. That is, 67% of all refugee students in Dallas were not graduating high school. This, of course, was not due to a lack of access to education. But, rather, a host of other issues related to personal trauma, family violence, early-marriage, along with other issues of this kind.
In 2014 SEEK shifted its mission and programmatic focus. While still seeking to “warmly welcome and strategically integrate” SEEK began to research and design programs that would take a peace-building approach with resettled refugees. This new approach moved SEEK into an entirely new field of development that had normally been reserved for organizations working in conflict and post-conflict zones internationally.
With the formation of a “deeper” mission SEEK began to focus in the thematic areas of Conflict Transformation, Capacity Building, and Advocacy. These guiding themes directed our programmatic focus in the areas of girls and women’s empowerment, education for children and youth, trauma healing, and developing leaders for peace. Our advocacy includes a focus on refugee and peace and security policy at the local, state, national and UN levels