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Peace Games Becomes Independent of PBHA

By Gregory S. Krauss and Chana R. Schoenberger

Five years after the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) took over management of Peace Games from the University of Connecticut, the program has become an independent public service organization.

To better coordinate interactions among the several local colleges whose students volunteer for the program, Peace Games recently opened its own office in Somerville.

A PBHA committee will continue to oversee Harvard students' participation in the program, which teaches conflict resolution skills to students at nine local elementary schools. Students at other participating colleges, including Lesley College, Boston University, Boston College and Tufts University, will volunteer through their schools' public service organizations.

The expansion beyond PBHA represents a new direction for Peace Games, according to its executive director, Eric D. Dawson '96, a student at the Graduate School of Education.

"We got to the point where we were attracting students from other colleges," Dawson said. "It seemed silly being a Harvard organization when so many of our students were not from Harvard."

In addition to the administrative move, Peace Games also switched to a new teaching format this year. At nine elementary schools, volunteers are teaching conflict resolution through games, skits and role-playing to students in several grades.

Previously, volunteers worked with students in only one grade but at 29 schools.

This year, the program's 250 volunteers will double the amount of time they spend in the elementary schools in order to develop closer bonds with the students.

"Because Peace Games has moved to a more student-centered program, we ask volunteers to become more a part of the school," said Meredith Moss Quinn '99, a Winthrop House resident who serves as site coordinator for the Mission Grammar School in Mission Hill.

According to classroom volunteers, the students benefit from skills they learn in the program and apply them to real life situations.

"One day there was a fight between two fifth graders," said Dawson. "The entire sixth grade stood up and said, 'How can you fight when we have Peace Games?'

According to classroom volunteers, the students benefit from skills they learn in the program and apply them to real life situations.

"One day there was a fight between two fifth graders," said Dawson. "The entire sixth grade stood up and said, 'How can you fight when we have Peace Games?'

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