Our Path to Peace: Our YDPN Power!

April 2008 

INDEX of Content
Program Manager Corner

Intrapersonal Connections
  • Youth Worker Interview - Marquez Gray
  • Shinnyo-en Foundation's Six Billion Paths to Peace
  • ONLINE SURVEY: Our Path to Peace
People Connections
  • The Art of Change DVD Screening and Planning Meeting
Professional Connections
  • We are youth workers! A Showcase and Celebration of Our Work
Financial Connections

    • College Cost Reduction and Access Act

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Program Manager Corner


I have had the honor of working in solidarity with many youth workers. I have met passionate people, committed people, and intentional people. I have seen lives change, minds open, and worlds expand. I have felt love, despair, and faith - faith that our communities one day will thrive. They will be teeming with life and hope and peace. All our families and youth and elders and community members will understand Gandhi's concept of
interdependence - a state where we all realize the depths and connectivity of our action - and act accordingly.

Youth workers (those that work with or on behalf of youth) are key to realizing this dream. I am inspired every time I am on a bus, and I recognize a young person. There is always a conversation; some piece of dialogue; some piece of connection; some change.

This is powerful. I am a ripple on an ocean. I have no idea what  that one "hello" will bring, and I have a responsibility to make that interaction peaceful.

Now, take that one interaction and multiply it by every youth worker! Then take that and multiply it by multiple interactionsper day. We are incredibly powerful on an individual level. Now, imagine how powerful we can be collectively!

The YDPN has been collecting "I am a youth worker because..." statements for almost two years. This campaign is tremendous. Every youth worker is unique. Every youth worker is intentional.

It is now time to add up all of our intention and harness that power in a direction; towards a common and collective goal: PEACE. We are youth workers. We are change. We can do this!

In the last few YDPN Powers!, I have talked about the alarming homicide and violent crime rates across the Bay Area, so, over the next few months, the YDPN is partnering with Shinnyo-en Foundation to launch a campaign called "Our Path to Peace".
 

This campaign's goal is to inspire local acts of public peace in communities throughout the Bay Area. It investigates the intersections of violence, peace, and faith. It explores individual's path to peace, listens to others, and finds connections between all paths. It is dialogue. It is an act of peace. It is an act of faith. Faith that we can do this!


This YDPN Power! is chalk full of opportunities to shape this campaign. There is an online survey and technical assistance days. This will not be possible without YOU!


The YDPN is also introducing a new opportunity for YOU to shape our newsletter. We are looking for editors and contributors to future YDPN Powers! We want to make the YDPN Power! a mouthpiece of youth workers. If you are interested in lending your voice, please contact me, Jason Wyman, at ydpn.bay.area@gmail.com.

In this YDPN Power! you can find:

  • Intrapersonal Connections: An interview with Marquez Gray about how he views violence, peace, and faith.
  • People Connections: The Art of Change: The "I am a youth worker because..." Campaign DVD Screening and Planning session - April 21st 6:00pm to 8pm.
  •  Professional Connections: An announcement about WE ARE YOUTH WORKERS! - a two part event celebrating youth workers. Part One: A showcase of youth workers work over the last year. Part Two: A HUGE PARTY!
  • Financial Connections: Information about Federal Perkins Loan Forgiveness.
So read on fellow YDPNers! There is POWER through a NETWORK of PEERS!!!! We CAN do this!


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Intrapersonal Connections



Youth Worker Interview - Marquez Gray
 

Marquez is a partner on the "Our Path to Peace" Campaign. He has been involved with the YDPN for over three years. This is his personal story exploring the intersections of violence, peace, faith, and youth development. Read ON!


What is your hope for society?
For Adults:My hope is that people (especially service providers) can get to place where they truly care about others more then themselves and community work will go back to the foundation of LOVE for the people and the community.

For Youth: That youth will have hope again: hope to live and not die (1 in every 12 high school students attempted suicide in 2005); hope to graduate high school; hope to go to some form of higher education or career; hope that youth give others hope especiallythe young people looking up to them; hope to travel outside of their hood, city, state and even country; hope to change their lives and their communities to make them clean, safe and fun. I feel like we are a long way from this with POVERTY, negativity, failure, lack of support and resources, many single parent homes and a community that is in the same situation makes it really hard to have any hope in the future. But I have faith and hope in the youth of today. I feel like if I can change then ANYBODY can change too!!!

What is your personal experience with violence here in the Bay Area?
Violence started for me personally in my home with verbal, physical and emotional abuse all through my life as long as I can remember up until I decided to move out on my own at age 18. I contribute this to the continual drug abuse from every care provider in my life. In my teenage years, I lost a cousin and close friend due to gang and gun violence. Like many other young people today, it really didn't effect me. I was numb to it. "It was just life: you live and you die," as many young people say today. Unfortunately with the violence in the music, on t.v and movies, and what they see in their homes many youth are numb to what's going on around them. 

What is the intersection between violence, peace, faith, and
youth development?

LOVE: VIOLENCE is because the lack of it. PEACE can only happen through it. FAITH comes from it. YOUTH DEVELOPMENT should be
guided by it.

LOVE according to the bible is "The greatest gift" (1 Corinthians
Ch.13):

"[...]And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice
in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

"Love never fails. "

"[...]And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

What is your path to peace?
Jesus Christ, who I believe is the prince of peace, so I personally find it through going to church, prayer, worship and fellowship with the saints.

How can others create and understand their path to peace?
I really don't know. That's a tough one... for starters they can come to church with me ;).

Any final thoughts?
I feel that young people don't even know what peace looks like or feels like. I hope this project starts opening the dialogue and moves youth to understand peace.

  

To get in contact with Marquez, email him at gray@chalk.org.

 

The YDPN thanks Marquez for sharing his voice and his path.
 

 

Shinnyo-en Foundation's Six Billion Paths to Peace

 

The YDPN is partnering with Shinnyo-en Foundation to bring their Six Billion Paths to Peace life locally. This collaboration is called Our Path to Peace. To get a better understanding of the overall initiative, please read on!


Shinnyo-en Foundation (www.sef.org) is a national grantmaking foundation, based in San Francisco that provides grants to organizations for the social, emotional and spiritual development of young people.  It's mission is to bring forth deeper compassion among humankind, to promote greater harmony, and to nurture future generations toward building more caring communities.

 

It's newest initiative is "Six Billion Paths to Peace," which encourages an increased awareness of our daily actions of service and its contributions to building peace in our daily lives. The Foundation is pleased and excited to be partnering with YDPN on it's Our Path to Peace project. 


  •  An overview of Six Billion Paths to Peace:
We live in an interconnected world.

 

The actions of people around us impact us everyday. In the same way, our actions impact those we live near, shop with, drive next to and work with. On a global level, what we do on one continent impacts others. What happens to one species, affects others.
 
As humans our lives are linked by stories that connect to each other. We have experiences and histories that are individual and idiosyncratic, but there is a shared essence. Regardless of our differences, we are all impacted by birth, death, illness, aging, and a desire for happiness.
 
6 Billion Paths to Peace is an effort to inspire people to focus on our interconnectedness and reflect upon the individual contributions that each of us are making to a more harmonious world.
 
It is easy to feel overwhelmed or hopeless by the suffering, violence and war going on in our world. The antidote is to take action and notice that there is much you can do to bring about a more harmonious world.
 
Each of us has a choice. You can turn away and ignore the challenges. You can react to challenges with anger and frustration. Or you can approach challenges with an attitude of service. Choosing to see the world from the perspective of service creates the possibility of great joy and peace.
 
Like a ripple in the water, each tiny act of peace reverberates out into the world expanding the experience of peace for all of us.

 

  • A grandfather and war veteran sits with his grandson telling him stories about his life, and offers a perspective that life is a precious, precious thing.
  •  At the security line in the airport, a person hands a tray to the person in back of them. The next person follows their lead.
  • An employee decides to start wiping down the counter top in her college’s bathroom each morning. By the end of the year, it’s a practice almost all employees share.
  •  Two people talk about creating an international day of peace, years later more than 800 events in 170 countries are held to bring attention to the power of peace worldwide.
Just as an act of violence sends out shock waves affecting everyone around, so too does an act of peace.
 
6 Billion Paths to Peace represents the idea that it is possible to inspire new reverberations of peace if we each step up and investigate our daily actions and make a commitment to offer our unique contributions to the world. There are a million ways to walk towards peace.
 
Our motto: What’s Yours? Invites people to contemplate how they are going to contribute to peace. There are a million ways to serve and more than 6 billion ways to walk towards a more peaceful global community. We want to know: What’s Yours?

 

 

ONLINE SURVEY - Our Path to Peace

 

We need your voice! Please share it with us online. We are looking for youth workers to share their personal path to peace, identify activities and resources that explore the intersection of violence, peace, and faith, and inform us about upcoming events where we can promote Our Path to Peace. It's easy, simply click here!


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People Connections
 
The Art of Change: The "I am a youth worker because..." Campaign DVD Release and Planning Party!

 

The YDPN has been collecting "I am a youth worker because..." statements for almost two years! Now we have a 5 minute documentary about the Campaign. Please join us on MONDAY, APRIL 21st from 6pm to 8pm at 657 Mission Street, Suite 410 for a screening of the DVD as well as helping us make a new documentary about youth workers. To RSVP, please email Jason Wyman at ydpn.bay.area@gmail.com.


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Professional Connections 

 

We are Youth Workers! A Showcase and Celebration of our work

 

The YDPN is partnering with the Afterschool Technical Assistance Collaborative, the San Francisco Youth Employment Coalition, and San Francisco TEAM (a city-wide literacy initiative) to showcase and celebrate our work. This will be a two part event on WEDNESDAY, June 11th
 
Part One: A Showcase of work done by youth workers across all four initiative. (10am to 1pm)
 
Part Two: A HUGE PARTY!!!  (8pm to ???)

Please mark your calendars NOW. More information to come!!!!


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Financial Connections


 The College Cost Reduction and Access Act (P.L. 110-84) created a new
loan forgiveness program for public service employees. Under this
program, the outstanding balance of a William D. Ford Federal Direct
Loan (Direct Loan) account can be forgiven after the borrower has made
120 monthly payments while employed in certain public service fields.
 
The law defines eligible public service as full-time jobs in the
following fields:
 
     * emergency management
     * government
     * military service
     * public safety
     * law enforcement
     * public health
     * public education (including early childhood education)
     * social work in a public child or family service agency
     * public child care
     * public service for individuals with disabilities
     * public interest law services (including prosecution or public
defense or legal advocacy in low-income communities at a nonprofit
organization)
     * public service for the elderly
     * public library sciences
     * school-based library sciences and other school-based services
     * certain tax-exempt organizations
     * faculty teaching in high-needs areas, as determined by the
Secretary
     * teaching as a full-time faculty member at a Tribal College or
University
 
To be eligible to have the remaining balance canceled, the borrower must
 
     * not be in default on the eligible loans and
     * have made 120 monthly payments on the eligible loan(s) beginning
after Oct. 1, 2007.
 
Prior payments do not count toward the 120-monthly payment requirement.
Therefore, the earliest a borrower could qualify for loan forgiveness is
Sept. 2, 2017.
 
Payments must have been made under any one or a combination of the
following Direct Loan Program repayment plans:
 
     * Standard Repayment Plan with a 10-year repayment period
     * Income-Contingent Repayment Plan
     * Income-Based Repayment Plan (not available until July 1, 2009)
     * Extended Repayment Plan (see note below for restrictions)
     * Graduated Repayment Plan (see note below for restrictions)
 
Note: If a borrower is repaying the eligible loan(s) under the extended
repayment plan or the graduated repayment plan, only payments that are
at least equal to the monthly payment amount that would be required
under the standard repayment plan with a 10-year repayment period may be
counted toward the 120-payment requirement.
 
Although this loan forgiveness program is available only to Direct Loan
borrowers, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) borrowers may
consolidate their loans under the Direct Loan Program to qualify for
loan forgiveness under this program. A FFEL Consolidation Loan borrower,
however, cannot obtain a Direct Consolidation Loan until July 1, 2008.
 
For more information about obtaining a Direct Consolidation Loan, a
borrower should contact the Direct Loan Consolidation Center (DLCC) at
1-800-557-7392 or visit our Web site (www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov).
 
We hope this information is helpful.