November 2015
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"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." 
- Melody Beattie


At PLC, we are so grateful for all of you who support our work and believe in the power peace education has to change lives.

We are also grateful for the moments we've had empowering people - young and old - to take ownership of their live's and gain hope for the future.

This month's newsletter is focused on gratitude because, at the end of the day, being grateful allows us to learn from the past, gain peace for today, and have hope for tomorrow. 

This issue of PLC News includes:
  • Upcoming events 
  • Teaching Children an Attitude of Gratitude
  • "We Cannot Change Others, We Can Change Ourselves" in Tim's Peace Update
  • Gratitude and mindfulness

Peace on,
Volunteer of the Month

Jane Westermeier is this month's Volunteer of the Month.  Jane has been participating in our Peace Pages program by volunteering monthly in a local elementary to facilitate lessons focused on literacy and peace education.

Jay Horan, our volunteer and intern coordinator, has worked closely with Jane and said,  "Jane is compassionate and so dedicated!   She has taken her role in this program very seriously and I have heard wonderful things from the students and school that she is working with!"

Thank you Jane for everything you have done for our organization. We are very grateful to have you on our team!
Volunteer Opportunities 

As always, PLC volunteers are busy making a difference everyday! Thanks to all of you who helped support our mission to educate, inspire and empower people to build peaceful communities this past month.

To learn about other volunteer opportunities, contact Jay Horan at jhoran@peacelearningcenter.org or visit peacelearningcenter.org/volunteer to complete an online volunteer application.

Students at the Orchard School learn to be grateful for the Earth's limited resources during a "be the change" lesson.

Teaching Children an Attitude of Gratitude

Research has found that children who learn to be grateful have better grades and are less likely to get depressed. Scientist Robert Emmons says, "Without gratitude, life can be lonely, depressing and impoverished. Gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energizes, inspires and transforms. People are moved, opened and humbled through expressions of gratitude." In short, having an attitude of gratitude leads to a more peaceful life.

Yet, kids aren't born with a grateful attitude. Just like any other skill (sharing, being peaceful, washing their hands, etc.) it has to be learned.

In today's world of instant gratification and magical plenty, it can be challenging for children to learn real gratitude when they feel so entitled. So, how do you provide opportunities for children to learn to be grateful without shaming or depriving them?

This recent Huffington Post article provides a few excellent tips to get your started:

Finally, a Cool Formula for Teaching Kids How to Be More Grateful, From a Gratitude Researcher (and Dad)

PLC's new "be the change" lessons are a wonderful way to inspire gratitude and compassion in classrooms. Contact Kristina Hulvershorn, director of youth programs, at 317-327-7144 or by email at khulvershorn@peacelearningcenter.org to learn more.

These peer mediators from Belzer Middle School are making a difference by using their creativity to create a more peaceful school culture.

We Cannot Change Others, We Can Change Ourselves
These are tough times for peacemakers. Locally, nationally and internationally violence and intimidation face us daily. The recent atrocities committed in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, and in our own city have shocked and saddened all of us.

While we cannot change others, we can change ourselves. Working for peace within ourselves helps us spread peace to family, friends, coworkers and the larger community.
We are eternally grateful for your support because everyday Peace Learning Center's facilitators and volunteers witness personal change with preschool through high school students, parents, teachers and community members as we help each person find the peace and peacemaker within.
When they are first exposed to PLC programs, many struggling teenagers believe they will not survive beyond 25 years of age, so they live with no hope for tomorrow. Tragically it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for way too many.

"My mother worked three jobs and my dad was in prison," a 19 year-old young man told me at a meeting. "She wouldn't let me go outside to play so I watched TV all the time seeing all the things other people had.  When I went outside at 14, I got a gun because I knew that was how I was going to get that stuff for me." After spending time in prison, he now is gainfully employed and attributes his faith in turning his life around.
Click here to read more. 

Appreciative Living

Personal mindfulness can help to ground your day. Something that I really benefit from is to start my day quietly with a cup of coffee and a journal. I write down the first three things that come to mind for which I'm grateful. These can be very simple things. Sometimes, I'm grateful for the cup of coffee in my hands (yes, it's a large cup). It's good to go with what comes to mind first and not overthink it.

Then, I write down what will bring me joy. It can be something I know will happen during the day, or something that I will make the time to do. For me, it can be listening to specific music on the drive to work. It could be planning to bake something after work, or relaxing with my husband and our cat, or exercising.

It's easy to make this practice your own. You might want to use a computer to document your thoughts. You might want to do it at the end of the day instead of at the start. I flex off an approach in the wonderful book "The Joy of Appreciative Living" by Jacqueline Kelm. Click here for more info: Book Link

My morning mindfulness practice helps me to step back from the jumble of thoughts in my head and to be present in a moment of peace.

I hope that you can also benefit from a practice that helps you ground your day in mindfulness.

Written by our guest blogger Lisa Robinson.
Since this month's newsletter is focused on gratitude, I think this pretty well sums it up for me: 
Written by Lisa Jones, PLC's director of human resources and operations. 
Make Good Changes Happen!  

Please help us thank some of our donors this past month who are helping make peace possible! 

Business/Organization Donations:
  • Northview Church of the Brethren
  • Citizen's Energy Group
  • Maurer Family Foundation, Inc. - Mickey's Camp
  • Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust - $125,000 2 year grant for One Indy Initiative
  • Day of Service - MLK Festival volunteers
  • Teresa Baker, PLC Board Member
  • John and Janie Westermeier, Monthly Sustaining Donors
  • Jill Chappell
  • Michael Saahir
  • Mark and Orleanais Minch
  • A.G. and P.J. Vermission
  • Angela and Michael Atkins
If you'd like to join them in supporting peace education, please click here to donate now! 
A PLC Partnership with the Desmond Tutu Center (DTC)
When:  Now - Jan. 1, 2016
Where: Online
What Youth Fellows, ages 16-21, from Central Indiana are encouraged to apply for a Youth Fellowship to travel to South Africa on an educational tour led by DTC Executive Director, Allen Boesak, close colleague and friend of Desmond Tutu. The two-week trip will take place during the last two weeks of July with expenses covered by the Desmond Tutu Center.

When: Now - Tues., Dec. 8
Where: Online
What: Nominate someone today for the 2016 Power of Peace Award - an annual recognition of a local leader who has made a positive contribution to the Central Indiana community.

- An Officially Endorsed Indiana Bicentennial Legacy Project
When: Sat., Jan. 16, 2016
What:  This annual celebration is designed to convey Dr. King's message of peace and the importance of personal responsibility in creating "beloved community" that encourages kindness and positive change. Music, art-making activities, Hip Hop appreciation, poetry, peace games, and yoga help honor Dr. King's vision while creating a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. This year's theme is "Planting Seeds of Peace" with a focus on environmental justice issues. Dr. Philip Sakitomo, an astrophysicist and expert on climate change, will speak at the event. The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra will also perform a preview of their Peacemakers work that will premiere in April. In addition, the festival includes a community fair with more than 40 local non-profits. (Local non-profits can click here to reserve a table.) Sponsorships are still available for this year's festival. Click here to learn more.

When: Now - Tues., Dec. 8
Where: Online
What: Nominate someone today for the 2016 Power of Peace Award - an annual recognition of a local leader who has made a positive contribution to the Central Indiana community.

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