“This is not just an organization and a youth movement—it has grown into a flourishing community. A community that’s programs are turning today’s youth into not only tomorrow’s leaders of peace, but into the leaders of peace today.”
- Maytav – Jewish-Israeli participant, 16 years old
When I was younger, my neighborhood served as a bubble and I rarely got to interact with the “other side”, much less hear their opinions or points of view. I thought it was simple: I was born here; I was raised here; this is my land. I wasn’t aware of it yet, but there were people only a few minutes away that were much less privileged than I was. Some of them had to cross a checkpoint to go to their schools and when they couldn’t they simply wouldn’t go.
I was completely unaware of their struggle. I was unaware that there was even another point of view, but soon I would join Kids4Peace and that would change. I first heard of Kids4Peace through a friend. She told me it was fun.That’s all I knew getting into it: It was fun. After I had been interviewed and accepted into Kids4Peace, came my first meeting. We had a number of ice breaker games and as we were laughing and playing together I looked around and I realized that I hadn’t bothered to ask who was Jewish, Muslim or Christian and as a matter of fact for the most part I couldn’t tell. It was in that moment that I started to realized that there was no other side, we all live on earth and we are all human, we are all people who should be treated equally.
After that meeting and a number of others, I started seeing things differently. I would walk on the streets and I would see the separation, I could see the divide between people just because they looked a bit different and for a while I couldn’t understand it. It’s easy for a 13 year old to say ‘I want to change the world’ but doing it gets a little trickier. I’m a big believer in the saying “be the change you wish to see in the world“ and that’s what I decided to do. I decided that I would no longer stand by and say nothing I would stand up for what I believe in. It’s no easy task to stand up and speak up against public opinion.
That’s something that Kids4Peace really helped me with in a number of ways. Hearing so many different opinions and points of view on the same matter gave me a new special point of view one that understands each side and each side’s pain which I wanted to share with others. One of the things we work hard on at Kids4Peace is being able to share our stories and opinions with each other and other people outside of the program. Kids4Peace gave me the tools and confidence to discuss and even disagree with people at home, school and wherever I go.
Because of Kids4Peace, my second family, I have been able to travel around the world, meeting inspiring and influential people learning from them and sometimes teaching them as well. I can say without a doubt that this program has changed my life and all I hope is to able to change someone else’s. This is not just an organization and a youth movement—it has grown into a flourishing community. A community that’s programs are turning today’s youth into not only tomorrow’s leaders of peace, but into the leaders of peace today. Luckily enough today through K4P I have friends of different religions, nationalities and across different economic sectors of society and to me—this is a whole new type of privilege.