$50,000 Peace First Fellowship for youth - meet one of the 50 finalists

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Thanks to Network faithful Gary Macbeth for sharing this inspiring resource!

We were blown away when we learned about the Peace First organization, which is a partnership of community and business groups that honor youth who have done amazing things in their communities worldwide. Peace First is in the final stages of a contest for youth that is designed to share the daring work of young people far and wide, invest in their leadership, and inspire others to make peacemaking a part of their daily lives. Most importantly they want to tell the stories of their nominees – incredible stories of young people leading change.

There are 50 finalists for the Peace First prize. Five Prize winners will each receive a $50,000 Peace First Fellowship over two years to continue their peacemaking work. Through mentoring and coaching, the Peace First Fellowship is a real investment in young people’s ability to take their peacemaking to the next level of action and impact. But more than just recognizing a few individuals, Peace First wants to tell the thousands of stories about how young people are changing the world.

Ready to be inspired? Then watch the video below of one of the 50 finalists for the Peace Prize, Reshini Premaratne. Reshini was born in Sri Lanka and remembers the homeless problem there as a young child. She grew up in a household in Sri Lanka where on birthdays, instead of exchanging gifts her mother gave her and her siblings packets of food and they distributed them to the homeless. Now living in Richmond, Virginia she researched the issue of homelessness and discovered that many of her peers didn't have the same awareness about the issue that she did. This inspired her to think creatively about how to raise awareness about the problem of homelessness in Richmond and worldwide. In 2010, Reshini started X-OUT HOMELESSNESS, designed to put together a campaign at her school for students to wear duct tape X’s on their shirts to symbolize the crossing out of homelessness. Here is her description of the evolution of the idea taken from the X-OUT HOMELESSNESS website:

Reshini exemplifies what gives us strength in these troubling times of challenge - a younger generation that gets it, is committed to doing good work, and has the spark necessary to carry on quest for improving the lives of families in communities across America.

Well done Reshini, and thanks again to Gary Macbeth for sharing this with the Children's Mental Health Network.

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