For 25 years Seeds of Peace has been an essential program for teens looking to make an impact felt all around the globe. Their mission is to help educate participants on the skills they will need to make a change — whether that change is political, social or economic change —in a peaceful way. Seeds of Peace even hosts an international summertime program in Maine, they work with teens as young as 14 years old to make connections and give them the confidence and training they need to make their dreams a reality.
Within Seeds of Peace, the GATHER Fellowship was formed to help adults 21 years and older to develop Seeds of Peace values. GATHER supports inventive and original ideas that can impact social change and reduce conflict peacefully. “It’s really difficult work, but really remarkable work,” GATHER Fellowship Executive Director Leslie Lewin said. “My goal is to continue to represent the growth and opportunity for this work, there’s such a big need for it. My goal is to support the young people and the alumni as much as I can this year because their work feels important as ever,” Lewin said.
Students Making Change
Seeds of Peace and GATHER Fellowship participant Lilly, is seeking peaceful change and to raise awareness around Syrian refugees. About a year ago, Lilly was working at a digital media company, Makers Studios, where she learned all about the world of online gaming. This is what gave her, her incredible idea. She became very knowledgeable about the game, Minecraft.
“Young kids were paying Minecraft but some kids were using it as a storytelling platform and would build up massive audiences,” Lilly said.
She had the idea of creating a story through Minecraft of what it would be like to be a Syrian Refugee. By using this platform called adventure maps, she was able to create a story in which other Minecraft players could follow along with and play within the world she created. created a 45-minute interactive story that follows a fictional young girl living in Syria whose classroom has just been attacked, the story shows what it is like to be a young person seeking safety and the heartbreaking and challenging chain of events that go along with that.
“My goal for this adventure map is to reach into kids’ hearts and make them feel something while also learning,” Lilly said.
From a young age, Lilly said she always was aware of how vulnerable refugees are and she has always wanted to make a change. Seeds of Peace and the GATHER fellowship gave Lilly, who is a recent college graduate, the training she needed to take her knowledge in online gaming and turn it into a project to help gain awareness on refugees.
Lilly said she has always been aware and felt extremely sympathetic towards refugees and their struggles. Her family was exiled from Iran and she grew up in the United States because of this. She has felt a connection to refugees and their struggles ever since.
Seeds of Peace have alumni working to make a change in 27 different counties and have over 6,000 people involved and committed to making a peaceful change.