SOWING THE BLESSINGS OF PEACE: Current in-school programs empower record number of students
Agricultural work is, of course, seasonal. JPB’s passion for spreading the ‘blessings of peace,’ however, is not. Peacebuilding requires a comprehensive effort that can never rest.
This is the spirit that drives JPB’s In-School Program which recently concluded a successful year despite the relentless challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, JPB reached 20+ schools throughout Israel, with age groups ranging from 14 – 18 years old. JPB’s dedicated teaching talent would simply not allow the pandemic to stop them from doing the work they are committed to doing. With all the challenges inherent in an online, distant-learning process, compounded by the fears and uncertainties of the pandemic, JPB was able to offer these teens a safe and creative space where they could express themselves truly and connect. The teens were refreshingly active and excited for the online program and interaction was lively. The teens enjoyed all of the programs, as evidenced by their subsequent application to JPB’s various summer programs and making it clear that the teens hope to continue their journey with JPB.
It was gratifying for JPB’s teaching talent to receive feedback during and after every session which, in truth, allayed their fears that online learning would prove to be less compelling for the teens. Following their vaccinations, the teens all showed up in person for their final sessions. In these sessions everyone was able to engage each other, face to face. This last phase was especially gratifying and encouraging for JPB’s teachers as the students not only remembered the details of what they had learned through the on-line workshops, but were also able to put those skills into practice during those final sessions.
“I’ve learned to look at everything from a different point of view and I’ve learned that everything can be solved if we set our differences aside and start having dialogues and understand each other.” - Yazan
The benefits of JPB’s work, however, were not entirely one-sided. As an organization JPB gained a great deal of knowledge about where its opportunities for growth and improvement lay, as well as affirmation as to its existing strengths. It was not an easy year, nevertheless, the entire JPB staff was able to overcome most obstacles and learn valuable lessons from those issues it struggled with.