“This past summer of 2016, I got this amazing opportunity to travel to Romania for a peace education workshop called Global Youth Rising. I was super excited to go travel and explore different ways to promote peace and teach peace. I was one of the youngest teens there at the program yet I didn’t feel that young or left out. Everyone there was amazed at all the work I’ve done while working with Breaking Walls. I influenced some inspirational people at this program. Let me explain exactly what happened during the GYR 10-day program. The whole week is planned out for you. Each day there was sections, within each section there is a series of workshops you can attend. The workshops would be about an hour and 30 mins long, or longer. The workshops I attended were called “Activist Lab”. In the lab, I learned to just go ahead and plan an idea of something crazy yet helpful with the Syrian refugee problem. We had 20 minutes as a group to come up with an idea that would help people come together and work in peace instead of resulting to violence. After creating the idea, we had to come up with plans to start infusing our ideas into our community. We were learning to start being active rather than just coming up with ideas and the ideas never coming out and making a differences. I honestly enjoyed the activist lab the most because as someone who has always wondered how to start a program and infuse change in my community, I never quite understood how to start a program and get participants involved or interested. After doing a workshop, we would eat lunch as a group and tell each other about the different types of peace work we have done across the world. I say across the world because all the people I met in this program were literally from across the world, and they even traveled to other places to help where they were needed. Some of these people have inspired me so much. Because of them I have been researching some programs in my country who are trying to help with the water problem in Flint.
“As the summer has ended, I have reflected on my time there and I noticed within myself that I have changed. I am not the same person who got on that plane from New Jersey to Romania. I am no longer a little girl who is afraid of saying things and people not liking what I have to say. I am a peace educator, and a peace educator can be whatever size or age. I know this deep within myself that I was put here to change wherever change is needed. I am very thankful for the opportunity of being involved in the GYR program of 2016 and Breaking Walls. I am thankful for the person I am today and where I will be in the next years.”
Brooklyn ambassador – Tatiana Kee