RPCP has worked with the US State Department since 2015 as a host organization for International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) and the Community Solutions Program (CSP). CSP takes highly skilled and educated fellows from around the world for a four-month internship at US host organizations. During their internship, the Fellows learn RPCP’s best practices in peacebuilding tools that enable them to apply in their home countries. Through IREX, RPCP has been awarded grants to travel to the Philippines, Uganda, Ukraine and Bosnia Herzegovina to conduct trainings, cultural exchanges and an international conference on RPCP’s community peacebuilding and community justice model.
RPCP has trained practitioners from the United States, Australia, Norway, Israel, Bosnia Herzegovina, Philippines, Ukraine and Sierra Leone in our nine-day immersion intensive training, preparing participants to use RPCPs curriculum, approaches, philosophy and skill set to spread the seeds of peace.
Community Justice Model
The River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding has developed a community justice model that approaches and views community and justice through the lens of peacebuilding. While movements like community justice and criminal justice reform are focused on “directly impacted people and communities,” few initiatives actually include impacted individuals in the creation, implementation and evaluation of these programs and services. RPCP has developed community organizing tools that go beyond inclusion of communities and focus on community empowerment and building relationships between community residents and the institutions that influence or govern their quality of life.
RPCP’s community justice initiative includes both restorative and community justice principles. These principles support community residents to identify injustices within their community, identify and mobilize resources that address these injustices and build capacity to fulfill needs within neighborhoods. At the same time, residents are supported in establishing and nurturing restorative relationships that engage outside partners, institutions, and leaders to develop policies and actions that repair and prevent further injustice or harm.
Peace Through Sports
RPCP and the Gainesville Area Community Tennis Association (GACTA) have partnered and developed an on-court curriculum to teach conflict resolution skills to at-risk youth living in poverty. Peace Through Sports represents a collaboration with the University of Florida, which promotes the development and proficiency of physical and emotional literacy in youth. Research shows that youth who participate in sports are less likely to engage in high risk behaviors. Sports-based youth development has the power to reduce youth violence, while promoting health, building resilience and coping skills, and inspiring academic success for kids.
Community Peacebuilding Month
Community Peacebuilding month is in October. Over the past few years, RPCP has offered FREE events, educational outreach, and celebrations throughout October, including:
Peer mediation for youth
Education, celebration, and advocacy during school assemblies with Be MORE Heroic, inspiring youth to evoke positive and courageous action through live music and story
Partnership with University of Florida during Conflict Resolution Week, offering workshops and trainings
Relevant movies and dialogues
Newspaper, Magazines, Radio, and TV Interviews
Presentations at National Conferences
Conflict Resolution Trainings for Teachers and Guidance Counselors
Trauma Responsive Community
RPCP is a co-founder of Peace4Gainesville and is an active partner in advocating, coordinating, and educating our community regarding the prevalence and impact of trauma. We provide day long or one to three-hour educational programs regarding the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and offer strategies to enhance resilience and interrupt the cycle of violence. Programs are available for individuals, community groups and service providers offering “trauma-informed” services.
Students to Successful Citizens
The Students to Successful Citizens initiative seeks to dismantle the School to Prison Pipeline. Community collaborators involved in this initiative seek to address behavioral concerns, while keeping kids in school and ensuring families have necessary resources. As one organization of many founding members of this council, RPCP’s involvement has been to support solution oriented approaches, rather than punitive, disciplinary models. Students to Successful Citizens meets monthly to receive updates on the System of Care, to share progress in addressing the School to Prison Pipeline, and identify community resources that support the needs of families in Alachua County. To date, the group represents more than 25 community agencies throughout Alachua County—from law enforcement agencies to after-school program providers—all committed to the success of Alachua County students.
Resilience Charter School
RPCP is a founding collaborative partner of Resilience Charter School which opened in Fall of 2016 in Gainesville, Florida. The mission of Resilience Charter is to cultivate a dynamic learning community based on innovation, social justice, and environmental stewardship for grades 6-12. The Resilience Charter School goes beyond academics to emphasize Social Emotional Learning as a foundation for success in life, as well as Project Based Learning and mindfulness practices. RPCP provides ongoing staff training and consultation on using Restorative Justice Circles to address conflict and incidents of harm in lieu of more traditional, punitive disciplinary practices.
Want to partner with us to create peace in your community?