The Domestic Harmonizer Program: An Innovative Program Meeting the Needs of School Communities
The Domestic Harmonizer Program (DHP) is a one-of-a-kind program launched by the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) in 2016. This peace education program for middle schools works with all stakeholders - students, teachers, counselors, administrators, and parents - to promote restorative practices. This grant will help us to expand our student support services in social-emotional learning and care, further the development of our peace education app, and enable more professional development for educators with local partners.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
K-12 STEAM Education
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
County of Los Angeles
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Expand existing project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
Rooted in restorative practices, the Domestic Harmonizer Program works with students, teachers and parents to build a deep understanding of conflict resolution education (CRE). By helping to create peaceful opportunities for exchange and learning, schools can reduce incidents of destructive conflict on campus. This approach helps schools focus on creating healthy learning environments. It also supports students in conflict to feel understood rather than punished. Our staff and consultants have degrees and experience in the fields of education, trauma-informed practices, applied theater, and peace and justice. Our team possesses a combined 70 years of experience working in schools and communities of varied cultures and backgrounds. We provide training to students, teachers, and parents. We also have our Domestic Harmonizer Virtual Center (www.domesticharmonizer.org) that helps us to engage with school stakeholders and provide our STEAM-based educational resources for free.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
Our intent is to expand the Social-Emotional Learning and Trauma-Informed Practices component of our program due to demand and need, and we will work with our school stakeholders and liaisons to engage with the students and parents who could most benefit from such programming. It is important to note that our approach is unique because we aim to create and train a cohort of youth who are skilled at trauma-informed and SEL practices, who can then serve as support systems to their peers. We understand that they will not provide counseling but instead provide tools (CBT, stress management, conflict resolution, positive relationship-building, grief management) to their peers. This approach has been developed, in part, due to our success and positive impact in training students in our peer mediation program. We have an MOU with Hawkins High School, an LAUSD School, to implement this work. We also seek to enhance our collaboration with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, with which we also have an MOU, to expand our professional development offerings to educators across the county. We also aim to expand our peace education app, "Hear Me Out" through our partnership with Hawkins High School, which has a gaming focus as one of its educational pathways.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
We have a partnership with the Los Angeles County Office of Education since 2022, and we offered free virtual training to educators as a 4-part series focused on peaceful conflict resolution and restorative practices. Our vision is to expand that series to impact more schools and educators across LA County. Our vision at Hawkins High School in Los Angeles is to build cohorts of peer mediators, peer-to-peer emotional supporters, and a more robust peace education game. We will also offer our 3-part parenting series and monthly professional development to educators. This grant will help us in getting another team member onboard to help with our vision.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
We work with an independent evaluator from the University of Southern California who has been conducting monitoring and evaluations of the Domestic Harmonizer Program since 2019. She collects quantitative data through surveys from program participants, and also conducts qualitative data through focus groups and interviews. She produces an objective report each year in which she details the measured impact of the program. This report is then shared with our program partners and funders.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 250
Indirect Impact: 3,000
Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.
For the two collaborations listed in this proposal, the roles are as follows: HAWKINS HIGH SCHOOL The school has agreed to support project implementation for peer mediation, the peer-to-peer youth leaders in delivering support to each other, promote teacher professionals development, and offer our parenting series to parents with students at the school. They also agree to work with us to expand the peace education game. LOS ANGELES COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION We have mutually expressed interest in expanding our collaboration by offering more training sessions. We aim to schedule a monthly series on various peace education and social justice issues.