This program creates a time and safe place for community members to build relationships while strengthening the community bond.
A little background on the Peace Dinner - In 2007, in response to a plea from Near North neighborhood families asked for a safe place to bring their children and gather with neighbors, the Peace Dinner program was launched as a monthly community dinner and family night. The gathering is carefully designed to nurture the 40 Developmental Assets® in families and youth in a safe and supportive environment and build mutual relationships across generational, cultural and socio-economic divides. Each month we welcome 100-150 guests; half of which are children, approximately two-thirds of which are returning families. During the 2010-2011 season volunteer hosts served 1000 dinners and take-home meals for neighborhood families, provided a safe place for children to play and strengthened relationships within and among families who face significant challenges everyday.
The strength of the Peace Dinner program is in large part due to our Youth Team whose responsibilities include welcoming our guests, leading an intergenerational activity, serving as emcees for the evening and leading gym games for the children who attend the dinner. With the support and encouragement of adults, the team has succeeded in engaging a diverse group of youth who use peer mentoring and the 40 Developmental Assets® to grow leadership and create a cohesive and committed team.
Now you know the basics, let me know tell you about the experience. Each month more and more new guests join us. They come for all different reasons. Some come because they really need the food while others come because they enjoy speeding time with their families and neighbors. No matter what the reason, everyone's heart it touched throughout the night. It is fun to watch families come all dressed up because it is family picture night and they never have the opportunity to get a family photo. Or kids go crazy over the book table because they get to pick out their very own book to keep. Or the kids who struggle with life but come and are accepted by everyone. You really get to see their true potential! There is so much good that comes out of this program, lives are changed because of it! By donating you truly are making a difference!
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