Resources for Teachers and Students

Prepare: Geoffrey Canada is CEO of a pioneering project called the Harlem Children's Zone, a community-based organization that enhances the quality of life for children and families in some of New York City's most devastated neighborhoods. His biography can be found on the organization's website.

Read: Geoffrey Canada's Architects of Peace essay is excerpted from his book, Fist , Stick, Knife, Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America. In it, he describes how society has failed its children, and how that failure results in violence.

Explore: The University of Colorado sponsors a Conflict Resource Consortium that has become the premier clearinghouse for information on conflict resolution and peacemaking. Their resources cover the entire scope of interpersonal conflict, including family conflicts, school conflict, inter-group conflict, organizational conflicts and even international conflict.

Write: In his Architects of Peace essay, Geoffrey Canada claims that children need heroes because "Heroes give hope, and if these children have no hope they will have no future." Is there a cause-and-effect relationship between hopelessness and violence? Is a hopeful person less likely to engage in violence than a person who has no hope for the future? Write a three-to-four page personal essay, from the point of view of your own first-person experience, about the relationship between hope and violence.

Extend: Every day, eight children in the United States of America are killed by gun violence. Pax, Latin for "peace," is an organization that offers real solutions to gun violence, both through their "Speak Up" hotline for students and their "Ask" program for parents. The idea for the hotline, 1-866-SPEAKUP, is predicated on the fact that in the great majority of school shootings, the attackers told other students about their plans before those plans were carried out. According to Pax, 93% of weapons confiscations are the result of tips coming from peers.

Additional Resource: The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center is a gateway to U.S. government resources to prevent violence committed by and against young people. They make extensive materials available for professionals, parents, the press and for young people through their website.

Biography of Geoffrey Canada