The Peace & Justice Center was recently approached by Jesse Wiens, the Board President of Baba Tree International about hosting an orientation for their Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program/Play in the Wild! Mentoring Program. This program does not yet have an official name, it will after the first Mentors and Youth meetings have begun. The program organizers want people participating to be part of the naming process! The Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (VRRP) has partnered with Play in the Wild!, a program of Baba Tree International focusing on initiations into Nonviolence for young people to bring us this program. Goals of Play in the Wild!’s previous programs include encouraging youth and mentors to take risks in a safe environment to learn their own stories and find their own personal revolution, learning and applying the skills necessary to become an Empathy First Responder and cultivating the courageous life of nonviolence mentally, emotionally, and physically.

This mentoring program is dedicated to the empowerment of youth within a community. Mentors and youth, mainly resettling refugee students living in Chittenden County, experience a nurturing one-to-one relationship that offers concrete guidance, academic support, and consistent friendship. The experience in turn helps youth to develop their full potential, capable of making informed, responsible decisions as involved members of the greater community overcoming barriers of racism, sexism, or cultural prejudice.

We are hopeful that community members who are actively working to understand how racism exists and is perpetuated in this community will consider being mentors. The mentoring experience will not only benefit the youth but will help continue each mentor’s personal journey in understanding themselves and the way racism affects their lives and their communities. If you are interested in learning more come to an information session/orientation on Wednesday, December 7 at 6:30pm, at the Peace & Justice Center. Come to find out more. Our understanding is that mentors are will need to attend an orientation, a two-day training in January and go through an interview process. We are excited to host this orientation and support the work of this program.

Check out this video for more information: