Speech given by Evan, a 9th grade participant in Kids4Peace Seattle, at Inspiring Hope, The Kids4Peace Seattle Annual Benefit.
My name is Evan, and I’m a 9th grader in the Kids4Peace program. I’ve been in Kids4Peace for 4 years now, and I’ve been exposed to many things I never would have experienced before.
I’ve only lived here in Seattle for 4 years, and Kids4Peace has made my move to Washington State easier. In the time I’ve been here Kids4Peace has changed the way I see the world, making it an organization like no other. But I didn’t always feel this way.
I first joined Kids4Peace in 2014 at the recommendation of my youth group leader, and at first I was hesitant. Kids4Peace seemed like a large commitment, and I had just moved here. I wasn’t sure I was up for the job.
Looking back, I am so glad I decided to join. On the outside, Kids4Peace seems like a simple peace building organization, and though it does do that, it is so much more. When asked about my time in Kids4Peace, I always answer the same thing. Kids4Peace is a community, a family. The people here support each other, whether one of us is in need of help, or whether we are educating each other on the wonders of stroopwafels.
Kids4Peace has also guided me to things I never expected to be a part of, such as activism work, marches, workshops of all shapes and sizes, and summer programs that are not only enlightening, but extremely fun.
I remember a while back we engaged in a poverty simulation, which opened my eyes. Many people feel bad for those who are less fortunate, but simply move on with their lives. They forget. Kids4Peace showed us more about people who live with this reality every day, the reality of not being able to support themselves or their families. The simulation helped us learn what this was like through unfair treatment, loss of belongings, and lack of basic rights. I left having met others who have experienced these things, knowing their stories and having a better understanding of their daily lives.
Kids4Peace has taught me about important values such as acceptance, and compromise, as well as showing me more about social division and conflict happening not just in our area, but around the world. Kids4Peace has changed my life.