Working and Playing for Peace

Working and Playing for Peace

BC freshman's efforts at teaching non-violence draw national attention

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

A Boston College freshman who has helped Boston schoolchildren learn non-violent methods of resolving conflicts was recognized recently by former Vice President Al Gore and wife Tipper.

Chikaelo Ibeabuchi '06. (Photo by Suzanne Camarata)
Chikaelo Ibeabuchi is a volunteer with Peace Games, a national, non-profit organization that teaches students in grades K-8 the value of cooperation, communication and friendship through simple games, skits and role-playing.

The son of Nigerian immigrants and an aspiring physician, Ibeabuchi first participated in the Peace Games project as a fifth grader in Roxbury's Mission Grammar School, and since then has sought to pass on the lessons he learned to other children.

"If children can learn science or learn to ride a bike they can also learn violence," said Ibeabuchi in a recent interview. "The goal is to help prevent that."

On Oct. 21 Ibeabuchi discussed his work with Peace Games and joined the Gores in a panel discussion on non-violence at the 11th annual "Family Re-Union" conference held at Vanderbilt University. Al Gore founded the conference as a senator, but it rose to national prominence when he became vice president in 1992, often serving as a forum to spotlight issues such as V-chip television screening legislation, the Family and Medical Leave Act and after school programs.

This year's conference focused on young people representing successful violence prevention programs around the country.

Peace Games volunteers visit schools for an hour each week and assist teachers in facilitating a game-filled curriculum aimed at teaching the principles of positive communication, cooperation, and non-violence, according to Ibeabuchi, whose sister, Chizoba, is a sophomore in the Connell School of Nursing.

"In kindergarten and the early years, the program stresses relationships and later it emphasizes becoming active in the community and service to others," he said.

After his encounter with the program in elementary school, Ibeabuchi joined Peace Games as a teacher and volunteer while a ninth grader at John D. O'Bryant High School in Roxbury.

"I was excited about the whole violence prevention aspect. I like the idea of offering people an alternative way to think," he said.
In high school, Ibeabuchi said, he realized that academic stress and peer pressure could be countered through involvement in school and community activities, as he had learned through the Peace Games. His efforts to promote service and responsibility helped him to win election as senior class president.

"It's definitely one of the best things I've done with my life and hope to keep on doing," he said.

Ibeabuchi currently serves on the Peace Games board of directors and hopes to continue teaching in the program next semester if his schedule allows it.


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