1998-2023: Our 25 Year Timeline

To celebrate our 25th Anniversary, we've created an icon to help share stories throughout the year that highlight how we have co-created safe spaces for youth and adults from foster care 🎨

From 1998 to today, we're traveling backwards in time, sharing our discoveries along the way.  

Check out the first stop on our journey below and discover what each icon represents. And if you missed out on the swag at our Family Reunion, Visit our New Online Store and grab your very own 25 Year Peace4kids merch!

2023: Creating Safe Spaces

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No matter where we go...we take ourselves with us. Over the years Peace4Kids has taken our youth on trips all over the city carrying the principles of peace and nonviolence.

Our values and our approach has helped our youth create safe spaces where everyone feels welcomed. As a result we feel safe in spaces like the SoLa Beehive and also Chadwick International School in Palos Verdes. And those who visit us, like Laila Ali and Pato Banton experience this vibe and call Peace4Kids their family too.

 

2022: Breathe

Our bodies respond to stimuli around us and seeks out feelings of 

safety. This needed safety is both emotional and physical and starts with our nervous systems. There are evidence-based practices that help us become aware of our bodies and the desired state we want to achieve. At Peace4Kids, we partnered with Dr Niki Elliott to certify our leaders in mind-body practices that regulate our nervous systems so we can be socially engaged and embrace felt safety.

 

2021: DISCOVERING OUR STRENGTHS

The differences and talents we all possess provide us with the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world. In 2021, we published our inaugural children's bookThe Pointless Forest. Pointlexia, the pencil, learns how her differences enable her to recolor the world around her. To provide grade school teachers with a way to talk about foster care from a story of strength, this book highlights the foster care journey in a fun and engaging way.

Check out our first book reading from The Pop Hop below and get your copy today!

 

2020: CHANGING THE MEDIA

In today's era, we are surrounded by content through social platforms, TV and streaming services. This media can have a huge impact on the way we see the world and interact with it. It can also influence the way we interact with certain groups of people. When you think about youth in foster care, what image first comes to mind? Through our ROCMove initiative, our leaders want you to envision a dynamic human with endless possibilities. To ensure we all project that image, we are changing the media landscape with new media that highlights the authentic stories of foster care.

Check out Part 2 of our Podcast with reggae legend Pato Banton, and enjoy his performance (below) from our 25 Yr Family Reunion!

 

2020: ADAPT

When the pandemic hit, Peace4Kids found itself in an unusual position. For the first time in over two decades we could not physically come together to connect with each other. One of the greatest lessons we've ever learned from our youth, is how to adapt when the circumstances seem dire. As a result, we tapped into our community and our resources. We distributed food, technology and life needs funding to keep our Peace4Kids family safe. Recognizing that the physical distance was impacting our collective wellness, we launched "Virtual Sunshine." This online Saturday program gave us the chance to listen and connect with each other while healing our hearts through shared hope.

2020: Checking Our Biases

The places youth in foster care live, work and play must feel safe in order for them to thrive. Peace4Kids learned this lesson early on and is committed to helping others understand this too.

As a result, we've built a training program that is informed by our youth's insight, wisdom and their research findings: https://www.igi-global.com/Peace4Kids

We have trained social workers, educators, and other helping professionals on our approach. We encourage our participants to check their biases, recognize youth boundaries, and approach them with a heart that is open to their highest potential. Enjoy this sneak peak into our Implicit Bias training, and reach out to our Founder & ED Zaid Gayle if you're interested in testing our additional new online training modules! [email protected]

2020: Peer-to-Peer Learning

Youth in foster care can often feel alone because they do not openly talk about their family history with their peers. This isolation can deepen as they become adults and step into educational and professional spaces. Yet, when we are with others who have a similar journey or experience, it reminds us that we are not alone. During the Pandemic, we launched Altura Collaborative, a safe virtual space where folks with lived experience could feel nurtured, supported and seen as they achieve their greatest desires.

In this Altura Roundtable, Aalexus Longmire of Lex Styles and Angelica Nwandu of The Shade Room discuss the power of mentorship and how cross-generational learning has impacted their lives. 

2019: Building Trust and Respect

When we recognize our connection to all living things, we will protect our delicate ecosystems and create safer spaces. This includes respecting the animals on earth and in the sky. The first people of our lands understood this connection to nature. Peace4Kids has strived to build that same awareness with our youth through partnerships with like-minded organizations. In 2019, we began our partnership with Wolf Connection, which integrates the animal/nature experience in education, workshops, and retreats that build self-esteem, encourage personal growth and spiritual awareness, and help prepare for the future with positive values, realistic goals, and the powerful life skills needed to achieve success. 

2018: Investigate

Our youth wanted to know what the public thought about youth in foster care... so we asked. Over 5,000 respondents shared their views on youth in foster care as part of our local and national survey. In our research, we discovered that the public has made some reckless assumptions about youth in care that we know are not true. Our research team, lead by Dr. Leslie Ponciano, continues to use these surveys to dispel public perceptions through advocacy, academic writings, and speaking engagements - including the discussion below from USC's School of Communication and Journalism moderated by CNN anchor Michaela Pereira.