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CISV: Why I Work There

In 2011, our inspiration came through our eleven year-old who pleaded with us “but this is a life-changing opportunity.”  Tough to argue against that from a young child.

He wanted to participate with CISV on a trip to Sweden.  A month-long trip with three other 11-year olds with a leader who was a 21 year old UT graduate. Her confidence and care for the delegation managed to win-over those of us with any lingering doubts about the program.

Our commitment to the organization grew through our involvement with other adults on our Smoky Mountain Chapter board —  three of whom came from that first delegation of parents.  Over the past 6 years, we have been inspired at what our chapter can do here in Knoxville. CISV did not start for our family as a community involvement project; however, it has grown into that. We have been the co-presidents now for three years. Our chapter’s goal is to reach local youth with the proven CISV activities that are used globally to help kids learn to resolve conflict, and understand and accept the differences and similarities that exist among us.   We would like to establish local programs where more youth can participate and help to promote multicultural understanding.

We were inspired by our children — they were changed by traveling and participating in CISV programs. They learned to interact with those who have different views, and they are not afraid of exploring new places nor learning new things nor talking with someone with different opinions.  The 11-year old participants come back with such confidence and understanding of the world.  It is very inspiring to all of us.

At a recent Farmer’s Market on Market Square, we invited visitors to our booth to locate places they have visited on our huge world map. A great chance to explain about CISV.

On another Farmer’s Market Saturday, we invited guests at our booth to paint our PEACE DOVE by adding their thumbprint for peace.

Our chapter member, Marty Lay (back – middle), served as a Junior Counselor in Detroit for a month this past summer. She went through local and national training and was at a Village camp of 11-year-olds. There were delegations of 4 children and an adult leader from twelve different countries represented. The youth participated in activities related to sustainability, human rights, diversity and conflict & resolution.

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