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Reading for Peace Program

Reading for Peace was initiated by dedicated volunteers who wanted to introduce The Conflict Center’s approach to solving problems and building more peaceful communities to younger children (K-5 years old). They felt that the best way to do this was through stories that share different perspectives, and encourage acceptance of all people. They conduct small-group discussions about how the characters in the stories solve difficult problems. The response to the program was so enthusiastic that it has become our longest-running program, implemented in schools across the Denver metro area year after year. Children love not only the stories but the opportunity to have the undivided attention of an adult that really cares about them.

What is Reading for Peace?

Reading for Peace is a volunteer-managed and run program that is offered to elementary schools throughout the Denver metro area. Each Thursday afternoon during the school year, volunteers meet at a designated school to read with small groups of children. They visit anywhere from 4 to 8 different schools each year, reading with 500 to 700 students in 35 to 40 classes. Up to Three classes participate on a given day. Volunteers visit the selected classes for half an hour each. They divide the class into small groups equal to the number of volunteers, usually two or three children for each volunteer. Their time with the children is devoted to reading and discussing the books, specially selected to teach and reinforce the socio-emotional skills that are consistent with The Conflict Center’s programs. It’s not just the children who enjoy the groups—the volunteers also find the experience very meaningful.

Program Highlights

This program is organized completely by committed volunteers

17 active volunteers read to students in all grades from 10 schools in the past fiscal year

1,060 volunteer service hours were contributed to Reading for Peace in the past year

Longest running Conflict Center program, started by Liz Loescher in 1987

Bring us to your school!

How do I bring Reading for Peace to my school?

Teachers and/or the principal can contact The Conflict Center to request a day with the Reading for Peace program. As with its other work, The Conflict Center emphasizes working with those populations who may not have had the opportunity to participate in this type of program. At least half of the children we work with qualify for the free and reduced lunch program.

Download our 2021 Reading for Peace Booklist for book recommendations and discussion questions by age and grade!

I’m Interested in Volunteering. How do I get involved?

It is quick and easy to get involved in the Reading for Peace Program. All volunteers complete a Volunteer Application and basic Background Check. Once this paperwork is done and the Background Check has been cleared the volunteers contact information is entered into the appropriate databases and forwarded on to the key program volunteers who coordinate the program. New volunteers will complete a two-hour training and then have the opportunity to sign-up for school visits throughout the school year.

Fill out our Volunteer Form!

Volunteer Testimonials

“Working with these children has made me feel that the world is in good hands. I see so many positive things about the children I’ve worked with.”

“I’ve learned more from the students than the students learn from me. The kids are great and so smart.”

“Reading for Peace has given me an opportunity to be part of a group of like-minded folks who are eager to make a difference and build the kinds of community we all want to have in the future.”

While previous experience is not necessary, the program does attract many former teachers. The primary requirement is that you enjoy children and working with them. The Conflict Center provides training in our programs and offers advice about working with young children.

Yes, all employees and volunteers at the Conflict Center must have the appropriate background check. The Conflict Center will arrange for a background check for you.

No, The Conflict Center understands that not all volunteers can participate each Thursday. You pick the weeks that work for your schedule. However, your schedule should allow you to attend most of the sessions. During our last school year, we regularly had 8-10 volunteers each Thursday.

Yes, all the books are specially selected to reflect the socio-emotional skills that The Conflict Center teaches. Each book is designed for a specific age group and includes suggested questions and discussion points.

For more information or if you’re interested in bringing this program to your school, please contact Ronnie Weiss at Ronnie.Weiss@conflictcenter.org or 303.865.5634.