In 2007, in response to a plea from Near North neighborhood families for a safe place to bring their children and gather with neighbors, the Peace Dinner program was launched as a monthly community dinner and family night. The gathering is carefully designed to nurture the 40 Developmental Assets® in families and youth in a safe and supportive environment and build mutual relationships across generational, cultural and socio-economic divides. Each month we welcome 100-150 guests; half of which are children, approximately two-thirds of which are returning families. During our 2010-2011 season volunteer hosts served 1000 dinners and take-home meals for neighborhood families, provided a safe place for children to play and strengthened relationships within and among families who face significant challenges everyday. Visit our gallery to see photos from the Peace Dinners.
The strength of the Peace Dinner program is in large part due to our Youth Team whose responsibilities include welcoming our guests, leading an intergenerational activity, serving as emcees for the evening and leading gym games for the children who attend the dinner. With the support and encouragement of adults, the team has succeeded in engaging a diverse group of youth who use peer mentoring and the 40 Developmental Assets® to grow leadership and create a cohesive and committed team.
Replication: As a result of the success of the Peace Dinner, we have been asked to work with other disadvantaged communities to adapt the Peace Dinner to address the unique needs and culture of the particular community.
©2011 Liemandt Foundation