PeaceMaker Minnesota

South St. Paul Restorative Justice Council in cooperation with PeaceMaker Minnesota and the South St. Paul School District work together to fund two Peace Guides at Kaposia Education Center and Lincoln Center Elementary. They invite you to support violence prevention programs. Learn about the need and value of school-based conflict resolution and bullying prevention programs.

PeaceM

Lillie Suburban Newspapers
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
South St. Paul raises money to stop school violence

Heather Edwards
staff writer

Violence in schools is on the rise, but South St. Paul students will have the weapons to prevent it, thanks to The Peace Maker Foundation.

The foundation is the only federated fundraising organization dedicated to raising money exclusively for public and private K-12 schools, and only one of eight federated fundraising organizations in Minnesota. Gathering private and corporate funds, the foundation uses the money to implement anti-bullying programs.

The foundation offers “a toolbox” of anti-bullying strategies, according to Peace Maker founder Dan McNeil. In South St. Paul, money will be used to implement restorative justice guides in the schools during lunch and recess. In addition, students will attend a kindness retreat with the money raised by The Peace Maker Foundation.

The South St. Paul schools have a big goal: they hope to work with the Peace Maker Foundation to raise $22,000 for their district. “It seems like a lot, but it’s just $12.60 per student,” McNeil noted. “Isn’t it worth $12.60 to help students learn how to get along and have positive relationships and connections with each other?”

The district thinks it is. So volunteers, including members of the South St. Paul Restorative Justice Council, are working with the foundation to raise the $22,000. This is the largest goal the Peace Maker Foundation has ever encountered.

Volunteers are the backbone of the foundation’s work. In fact, the foundation and South St. Paul schools began their relationship when a Kaposia Education Center parent asked McNeil where her donation was going. He asked, “Where do you want it to go?” She informed him that she had a child attending Kaposia, and she wanted the money to go there. With the help of parent volunteers, both Kaposia and Lincoln Education Center received $3,000 from the foundation in 2009.

The benefits of living in a violent-free school could change the world, according to McNeil. “Imagine growing up learning how to resolve conflict,” he noted. “The world would be a lot different.”

Heather Edwards can be reached at southwest@lillienews.com.

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