Nova Scotia peace reports

Be the Peace . . . Make a Change

Nova Scotia peace reports

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"World peace starts with individual peace.

"When each one of us chooses to live in peace with our family and neighbors, colleagues, friends, and strangers - meeting anger with calm, hatred with kindness, offenses with justice, and differences with respect - our living example can inspire others.

"Peace involves making choices. It's an active decision that each of us gets to make every day about how to act or react. There is nothing passive about peace. Whether it's a global issue - like the threat of nuclear destruction - or a personal one - like the threat of a bully - people have the choice (and some would say the responsibility) to act.

What are you doing in your life to make the world a more peaceful place?"

~ Pillars of Peace Hawaii

BTP Working Groups: People are welcome to attend any of the gatherings scheduled. All are open, unless there is a designated group of people indicated.

  • Sexual Assault Services

    This working group is being coordinated by Second Story Women's Centre, although Be the Peace will remain an integral partner. This community-based collaborative group was awarded funding from the provincial government to understand the scope of sexual assault in Lunenburg County and the nature of current services and experiences. A statistical scan was conducted, as well as consultations with victims/survivors and service organizations. Key partners include Harbour House, South Shore Health, Schools Plus, Bridgewater Police and RCMP among others. Thank you to Dianne Crowell and Stacey Godsoe for dedicated and exceptional work. We are awaiting further information about the approach that our new government will be taking in supporting sexual assault services across the province, and are lobbying to ensure that we are one of the regions that receive funding.

  • Gather The Women

    This group was first gathered in order to engage women who have experienced violence in relationship to explore what else the Be the Peace project could be doing to address the needs of women in similar situations. Women who participate are at varying stages in their own process and this group will continue to provide support, storytelling and compassionate non-judgment under the leadership of Second Story Women's Centre. The group did offer suggestions for the revision of the resource book, "Making Changes," published by the N.S. Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

  • Youth & Schools Working Group

    The Working Group continues to promote peaceful school environments and resolution of relationship violence, bring resources to schools, students and parents about healthy relationships and preventing bullying, gender-based violence and sexual assault.

    We very much appreciate the support and partnership of the administration at the South Shore Regional School Board and Schools Plus, plus the incredible principals, vice principals, teachers and guidance counselors and all our volunteers whose efforts have been instrumental in these successes.

    With funding from the RCMP Family Violence Initiative Fund, and in partnership with RCMP, the South Shore Regional School Board and Antigonish Women's Resource Centre, we are piloting a Healthy Relationships for Youth curriculum for all Grade 9 students at Bridgewater and New Germany Rural High Schools. Liz McCurdy is the Coordinator of this project, working closely with the teachers, guidance counselors and administrators at the two schools, plus the Antigonish Women's Resource Centre Coordinator of the program, Laura Swaine, who has been invaluable in the whole process of getting this going. There are plans in place to extend the program into two more schools in the fall of 2014.

    We are excited about hosting a Youth Forum in the fall. We are in the beginning stages of working with the School Board and the coordinators of LOT (Leaders of Today, Child and Youth Strategy) to form a hosting team made up of youth and adult supporters.

    We are also working with several schools in planning Parent Cafes, a tool to enhance communication between parents and schools. See "'Parenting Support - Parent Cafes" below.

  • Men and Boys

    A focus in Year 2 will be on continuing to engage men in the discourse about violence against women (VAW), and to explore how they can be more involved in engaging boys, particularly. The Gather the Men Working Group has been meeting regularly and will consider their next steps, including partnering with women in Gathering the People - women and men in conversation together about gender relations and how to promote structures and cultures of equity and peace.

    For boys, recent surveys and media reports have pointed to the need to have a component of gender-separated activities, conversations and exploration of healthy masculinity, navigating intimate relationships and consent, plus the influence of alcohol and other substances on relationship situations (for both girls and boys). We are exploring with various partners, (Community Services, Schools Plus, HeartWood Centre for Community Youth Development, Department of Health and Wellness, YMCA, School Board), and other youth organizations, plus the national White Ribbon organization, to develop programs, initiatives, learning opportunities for boys.

  • Interagency Network on VAW

    This Working Group has become a forum for various organizations to update one another about initiatives, programs, services, and hopefully potential areas for collaboration to close gaps in services for women, families, and men affected by violence. Participants include RCMP, Victim Services, Bridgewater Police, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Community Services, Schools Plus, Harbour House, Second Story, Family Support Centre and Family Resource Centre, Alternatives Institute (Men's Intervention), and others. This group has become independent of Be the Peace, although we will remain involved.

  • Restorative Approaches In Domestic Violence

    Various people with experience in restorative justice/practices/approaches have come together to explore how these can be applied to intimate partner violence situations. We will follow 2 streams:

    • The formation of a community restorative justice entity that would offer education, services, support for restorative approaches and non-violent resolution of conflict. Funding will be required for this stream; sources have not yet been identified.
    • A proposal to pilot an expansion of the mandate of South Shore Community Justice Society is in the works. It will involve community collaboration on development and training. The proposal is currently circulating in draft form to potential partners.

    Stay tuned. If you're interested, let us know!

  • Engaging the Business Community

    This year we will begin to engage the business community as important partners in addressing VAW. Presentations to Boards of Trade and Chambers of Commerce will be offered with various options for participation that might include: presentations, workshops and support for employers and employees, resources and encouragement for people to seek assistance as needed, workshops on non-violent communication, building compassionate businesses, and the possibility of establishing a Youth Initiatives Fund to support preventive programming for youth. We welcome the opportunity to offer a presentation to any business group in the Lunenburg County area.

  • Parenting Support - Parent Cafés

    We are continuing to pursue hosting Parent Cafés at schools and community venues around the County, as an effective mechanism for parents and school communities to become partners with youth in addressing the myriad of social challenges they face. Through this partnership we can create peaceful, kind and compassionate learning environments for children and youth at all ages. Once a school team has been established, we will help host and train people in the World Café hosting methodology so they can host their own Parent Cafés and carry on that pattern of open and engaged conversation.

  • Neighbours, Friends and Families Initiative
    Public and by request
    • Presentations are part of a Provincial initiative to raise awareness and offer tools to respond if someone you know or or care about is experiencing abuse in a relationship. Neighbours, friends and family members often know something, but are not sure what to do.
      To arrange a presentation for your group, community or workplace, please contact us.
  • New Germany Rural Families Working Group
    • Hosting a Neighbours, Friends and Families presentation
    • Partnering with NGRHS to engage students in peace initiatives, Healthy Relationships for Youth Pilot
    • Focus on supporting families and tools/skills for parents
  • The work continues . . .

    We continue to work in close partnership with Second Story staff, and also our Strategic Thinking group that meets quarterly to explore different leverage points in the systems that play a role in addressing VAW.

    In addition to these main priorities, we will continue to raise awareness, host community dialogues, forums and events, and seek opportunities for collaboration and partnership with citizens, community organizations, youth, municipalities, government agencies and elected leaders, developing our collective capacity to address and prevent violence against women and girls, and indeed to create peace for all.

    Please note that all Be the Peace Working Groups are open to new members and anyone who wants to contribute or be involved in the conversations and action initiatives. Please contact us at any time to include you in any of the groups!

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