Building Resilience Against Violent Extremism IN Schools (2022-2023)
We are excited to announce that we are launching a new peacebuilding project in partnership with middle and high schools throughout Western Massachusetts: Building Resilience Against Violent Extremism in Schools (BRAVE Schools).
About the Program
Building Resilience Against Violent Extremism in Schools (BRAVE Schools) will focus particularly on building student resilience against the spread of hate groups and far-right extremism, and preventing future acts of “targeted violence”—premeditated violence directed at a specific individual, group, or location. We will work to address often-unacknowledged factors that can lead youth down a dangerous path toward violence and hate.
We plan to use a whole-school approach in middle and high schools— to engage a range of students and staff in problem-solving issues that could hinder a positive, safe school climate. Our aim is to enhance school capacity to recognize and address the often-unacknowledged factors that can lead youth down a dangerous path toward violence and hate.
BRAVE Schools will combine Karuna Center’s dialogue-based practices with the expertise of two trainers, Robert Örell and Tony McAleer. Both are renowned leaders in creating pathways for people to avoid or exit hate groups, and are themselves former violent extremists who were recruited as youth.
The Alliance for Peacebuilding—a network of 165+ organizations working in 181 countries, of which Karuna Center is a member—will design and lead the project’s monitoring and evaluation processes, as part of their work to learn about and amplify effective strategies for local peacebuilding in the United States.
The project is new, and we are still welcoming schools to sign on to participate. We will proceed collaboratively, with the first phase being an assessment to deepen the project team’s understanding of schools’ needs.
Karuna Center’s BRAVE Schools project is one of 43 recipients nationwide funded by the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships, opportunity number DHS-22-TTP-132-00-01, and takes a public health approach to violence prevention. This year’s grants were announced in conjunction with the White House’s United We Stand Summit on hate-fueled violence.