IBJOpinion

Novel partnership promotes peace

September 26, 2009
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

Thank you for the great article about Indy Parks looking for innovative ideas for partnerships. I would like to share an idea in action.

Through partnership with Indy Parks, Peace Learning Center is making a difference in the lives of central Indiana youth and families while enhancing Indy Parks’ mission.

In our country’s fourth-largest city park—Eagle Creek Park—Peace Learning Center combines conflict resolution, character education and nature to educate, inspire and empower people to live peacefully. PLC creates innovative programs that curb violence and crime. 

Beginning in 1997 through work with domestic-violence victims and peace-education activities in schools, response from teachers, administrators, and students illustrated a true need for more character education and conflict-resolution programming. Indy Parks officials helped Peace Learning Center secure Eagle Creek’s former Indian museum and Eagle Crest Estate owned by J.K. Lilly Jr. The vacant building was in need of major repairs. In exchange for renovation expenses, IndyParks worked out a permit use agreement to establish the Peace Learning Center within the park.

Beginning with six people and a few volunteers, Peace Learning Center now has a staff of 20 and hundreds of volunteers who engaged more than 120,000 people since we started. Many foundations, corporations, and individuals help us raise over $1 million a year to support our educational efforts—outside of the city budget—benefiting the entire community.

Mayor Greg Ballard and Indy Parks Director Stuart Lowry are very supportive of Peace Learning Center’s partnership and are working on a long-term plan to develop a 21st-century campus in the park with the Earth Discovery Center, Ornithology Center and Pike Youth Soccer. Emanating from Indianapolis, our programs are being replicated in eight U.S. cities and five countries worldwide.

__________

Tim Nation

Executive director
Peace Learning Center



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