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.
BRAVE Schools will combine Karuna Center’s approach to dialogue and conflict 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.
Karuna Center’s BRAVE Schools project is one of 43 recipients nationwide of this year’s Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention grants under the Department of Homeland Security, announced conjunction with the White House’s United We Stand Summit on hate-fueled violence.
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.