Listen to the youth + Poetry Pals

11 December 2009


I think it's so groovy now

That people are finally getting together

I thinks it's wonderful and how

That people are finally getting together

I knew a man that I did not care for

And then one day this man gave me a call

We sat and talked about things on our mind

And now this man he is a friend of mine

Reach out in the darkness

Reach out in the darkness

Reach out in the darkness

And you may find a friend

Reach Out of the Darkness

1968 Top Ten one-hit phenomenon

by Friend & Lover (Jim Post and Cathy Conn Post)

LISTEN at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqLRd4neGGE&feature=related

LYRICS at http://www.top40db.net/Lyrics/?SongID=68194

Listen to the youth

     Youth worldwide seem to do it best -- reach out of the darkness toward one another, finally getting together.
      Face-to-face, citizens change and successful relationships transform confrontation to cooperation.
     READ powerful, personal experiences of courageous Palestinian and Jewish youth in Dialogue -- alumni of SEEDS OF PEACE, one of many North American summer leadership-training programs-- http://traubman.igc.org/camps.htm -- for youth from regions of conflict.   

    Ahmed from Gaza
     At the beginning, dialogue sessions are so difficult.
     Everyone has hard feelings for the other side.
     No one wants to listen.
     But we learned how to really listen and to understand, and at some point I started to see the good in people from the other sideI realized they are just humans.
     I found that the best moments are the ones when you see the rest of your group listening to your stories, paying attention to every word you say about yourself, your family, your life.
     You then feel safe, among people who care about you.

Ophir from Jerusalem
     I remember the shock me and my friends went through during the first dialogue sessions.
     I remember people crying on both sides; it was apparent that both sides were having a hard time.
     I remember shouting, sometimes even yelling, out of anger and despair.
     At the beginning of dialogue I was sure that our debates would be based on facts, just like those you see during university lectures, or on the news.
     I soon realized, however, that debate is not the essence of dialogue.
     I realized that both sides have two different versions of history and facts.
     And when both sides try to convince the other that they are on the right side, the other side rejects the attempt, with anger.
     I realized that if you want to learn and really know what is going on, you must listen to personal stories.
     During the last sessions of dialogue, both sides took a harder look at their facts.
     They then realized, sometimes, that these facts are distant from the tiny personal stories that create reality as we see it.
     Telling all this to people who arent involved in Seeds of Peace is very difficultits even harder than dialogue, sometimes.
     This process demands bravery from all Seeds.
     May you all be blessed, Seeds, for having this courage.

     Ibrahim from Bethlehem
     When I first met Israeli Seeds, I thought they had come to talk about us.
     I did not think they came in peace;
     I thought they hated us.
     I soon discovered in dialogue that they came to talk to us.
     That they had come to talk about peace.
     Through dialogue, I learned how important it is to listen, and not just talk.
     If we listen to them, they will listen to us.
     I did just that, and found they respected what I had to say.
     I, in turn, respected their thoughts.

     READ more inspiring narratives of successful communication and change on pages 9-12:


DIALOGUE: It's more than just talk

The Olive Branch - Fall 2009 - Pages 9-12       


Muslim, Jewish, Christian
youth engaging

     In Chicago, POETRY PALS - http://www.poetrypals.org/ - creates youth  partnerships for personal expression and growing friendship through poetry and art.
     Youth participants have included Jews, Christians, and Muslims -- Arab and non-Arab.
     Poet-educators teach children, ages 10-14, how to write poetry then participants explore many topics: personal experiences, relationships, culture and identity.
     The youth share their poetry and art, gain an appreciation for one another, and strengthen their own identities and self-esteem.
     At the same time, participants learn to express themselves and listen with respect to others.
     For many, writing poetry becomes a lifelong tool of expression and relating to others.
     POETRY PALS succeeds through a group of dedicated volunteers and its shepherd, Donna Yates ( PoetryPals@sbcglobal.net ).
     READ about activities like 4th and 5th graders proudly collaborating to write a holiday-themed poem -- The Flavors of Ramadan and Hanukah -- on the Web site of the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue.


Artfully Teaching Tolerance

by Donna Yates



     WATCH their inspiring video:


POETRY PALS  (4 min)



     POETRY PALS is modeled after WE THE POETS - http://www.artsandspirituality.org/we_the_poets/ - in Philadelphia, where poet-educators and creativity specialists help the youth from different cultures and faith experience a new culture of innovation and collaboration.
     WE THE POETS (formerly the Interfaith Youth Poetry Project) is a program of the Arts & Spirituality Center to provide teacher training and workshops run by teachers and poets for public and private schools, and religious schools of various faiths.  
    Children learn basic tools of the craft and write their own poetry, which is shared through public readings, journals, and a poetry pen pal exchange.
     These activities strengthen ties between youth and adults of different cultures, backgrounds and faiths while fostering artistic expression.
     Through poetry they express their hopes, concerns and ideas, especially about events and conflicts in their lives and globally.
     Participants grow closer when articulating and illustrating their own feelings and beliefs, while learning about others.
     SEE the photo at: