|Program:||Seeking Common Ground, Denver, CO|
|Contact(s):||Melodye Feldman, Executive Director: (303) 388-4013|
|Purpose:|| To create peace among individuals and within communities through integration, communication, socialization and leadership development |
Established in 1994, Seeking Common Ground (SCG) was founded by two social work students who saw the value in bringing together people representing diverse communities. The program purposely focuses on communication, because the SCG staff believes that real change comes through personal contact. They begin at the individual level, and expect participants to utilize their various programs as a catalyst for moving to the local, national and international levels.
SCG operates several types of programs including the Building Bridges for Peace Program, which is a 20-day intensive residential program, half-day and day-long workshops, and a year-long youth leadership program. One of the most recognized programs, Building Bridges for Peace, initially brought together Palestinian, Israeli, and American high school women in a mountain retreat that lasted for 3 weeks. The American students involved reflected the diversity of the greater Denver community. Participants lived in integrated cabins where they discussed and shared their unique cultural world views. After completing the program, both the Denver participants and the Middle Eastern participants met monthly in their respective countries, and the two groups maintained contact through SCG. The program has since been conducted with participants from diverse racial, cultural, religious and political communities within the United States.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
To date, more than 200 young women have participated in the Building Bridges for Peace program, and thousands of people have attended workshops and presentations. SCG constantly measures their success through written evaluations, observations, and direct contact with participants. After completing a required training course, 50 past participants of SCG's programs have joined their speakers bureau. The experience of the young women who participated in the initial Building Bridges for Peace program has been documented and published in both local and national newspapers such as The Denver Post and The New York Times. The program has also been featured on all four Denver television stations.
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