October 28, 2014

10/28/14...5:51 P.M. PEACE FIRST AWARDS PRIZE TO 5 YOUTH WINNERS...Sylvia Lydia Morelos, 10/28/14...5:52 p.m.

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PEACE FIRST AWARDS PRIZE TO 5 YOUTH WINNERSWinners Ages 12-22 Receive $25,000 Fellowship to Further Peacemaking Work

Washington D.C. – Peace First, a national nonprofit dedicated to creating the next generation of peacemakers, today announced the five winners of the 2nd annual Peace First Prize at a press conference at the National Press Club. The Peace First Prize is a national award recognizing youth peacemakers, ages 8-22, who are leaders focused on making lasting social change in their communities. The winners will receive a 2-year, $25,000 Fellowship to further their peacemaking work.
“We have been teaching peacemaking in schools for 20 years and know first-hand that young people can make a real difference in their communities. The Peace First Prize is our way of celebrating youth peacemaking in action,” stated Eric D. Dawson, President and co-founder of Peace First. “We are proud to recognize our extraordinary Prize winners and are excited for them to join our growing number of young peacemakers and to invest in them as national peace leaders.”
At a time when violence among youth permeates the news, the Peace First Prize celebrates young people’s achievements and shares their impressive work with the nation. “I commend these extraordinary young people who are doing great work and making a real difference in their schools and communities. They inspire hope in all of us,” U.S. Secretary of Education of Arne Duncan said. “As we can see from Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, efforts to lead social change can begin at any age. The work of these students has far-reaching effects. Through their service to others, they are not only changing their schools and communities, they are helping to change this nation and the world.”
The five inspiring young people were selected as 2014 Peace First Fellows because through their compassion, courage and ability to collaborate with others, they have been the driving force behind positive changes in their communities. Some winners are evolving their projects into nonprofit organizations, while others are cultivating change through campaigns and grassroots efforts. The five winners are listed here:
  • Amit Dodani, age 16, West Hills, CA: Amit’s organization, My Name My Story, inspires empathy by hosting events in schools to allow students to discuss issues around friendship, unity, family, and passion.
  • Eli Erlik, age 19, Claremont, CA: Eli founded Trans Student Equality Resources, an organization dedicated to improving the educational environment for transgender and gender nonconforming students.
  • Imani Henry, age 12, Wilmington, DE: Imani’s organization 100 Men Reading fills a need for non-traditional literacy programs for young children who are struggling with reading.
  • Matthew Kaplan, age 17, Phoenix, AZ: Matthew started the Be ONE Project, a bullying prevention program for middle school students that hopes to harness the power of peer pressure for good.
  • Amanda Matos, age 22, Bronx, NY: Amanda founded WomanHOOD, an organization that hosts workshops to teach high school girls in the Bronx the skills to become social and political activists in order to increase the representation of women of color in government, higher education, and the workforce.

Peace First, www.peacefirst.org, is a nonprofit (501(c)(3)) public benefit corporation that exists to create the next generation of peacemakers by teaching, modeling and valuing youth peacemaking.
Prize partners include: lead investor, The Pershing Square Foundation; media partners USA Network and CNN; Presenting Nominators: American Association of School Administrators, America’s Promise Alliance, American Federation of Teachers, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girl Clubs of America, The Bully Project, Campus Compact, City Year, Communities in Schools, generationOn, Girl Scouts, Mentor, Teach for America, Young Women’s Christian Association and the 4-H Council; legal partner: Goodwin Procter; general partners Drew A. Katz Foundation, 1440 Foundation, Babson Capital, and NTT Data; and celebrity ambassadors: National Spokesperson America Ferrera, Board member Rashida Jones, Monique Coleman, Rachel Crow, Vera Farmiga, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kat Graham, Ian Harding, Avan Jogia, Debra Messing, Daniella Monet, Rosie Perez, Amy Poehler, Mark Ruffalo, Andy Samberg, Peter Sarsgaard, Cody Simpson, and Sofia Vergara.

October 27, 2014
Karen Grant, (617) 261-3883 x310
kgrant@peacefirst.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Melissa McNamara (917) 374-3084
mmcnamara@globalstrategygroup.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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