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Youth Healing Hate Grants

The 2022 cycle is coming to a close. Join us on Friday June 10th to celebrate Rochester youth as they share their projects that promote peace and healing. RSVP to the symposium and dinner here



“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming of it.” -Helen Keller

The Youth Healing Hate project initially drew from two sources for inspiration. First is Howard Thurman’s book Jesus and the Disinherited, a book that Dr. King carried with him for years. In this book, Thurman, an African-American faith leader who mentored Dr. King and countless other leaders, warns people of the danger to any society where hatred has become respectable, and of the need for people to actively understand and reduce hate.

A second source of inspiration is the founding story of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, whose lands are where the Gandhi Institute and the recipients of these grants live. It is a remarkable example of the enduring power of transforming hate. We hope that everyone involved in these projects will become healers, peacemakers, and warriors for justice.


In 2016 the United States experienced a rise in hate crimes that has now continued into consecutive years. Local communities have been targeted because of their religion, sexuality, and ethnicity. In response to these recent events, the Gandhi Institute (in partnership with the Farash Foundation) created Youth Healing Hate grants, to empower youth to address the root causes of hate and incivility. Local youth ages 12-24 can receive up to $1,000 for projects that provide a creative solution to fear, hostility, and division within their community.

Building Bridges in Rochester

Designed by Merisa Kamali, this student exchange program brought middle school-age students from various schools (#45, #12, Wilson High School) & Cameron Community Ministries to develop a deeper understanding of the racial and socioeconomic diversity in the Greater Rochester community. The final project included murals in four quadrants of the city of Rochester, designed by students through these conversations.

Bias Resilience Peer Mentorship Project

The Solidarity Circle (Black students affinity group) at Allendale Columbia School created a blueprint for student-run affinity groups, petitioned for a dedicated space for restorative conversations, curated a library of books on restorative justice, equity, and inclusion, trained in restorative practices and started a conversation regarding establishing a restorative code of conduct.

Peace Mural

Designed by Rayonna Weaver, a high school student, this project revolved around peer-mentoring. Rayonna taught 7th graders on healthy ways to communicate when dealing with conflict. Using peace circles and collaborative methods, the students then designed a mural in their school cafeteria to demonstrate peace.

"Diversity is Our Strength" Mural

Silas Alvarez at Greece Odyssey Academy coordinated a mural that represented people from all races and included inspirational quotes to remind the school they were all there for each other.

Creating Safe Spaces at SWW

Students at School Without Walls created an opportunity for students an open dialogue about issues relating to fear, hostility, division and hate that they have faced or are currently experiencing. Students also participated in an art and writing component, where their artwork, poetry and stories were collected and added to a book for print.

Peace Garden

Students in the Sisters II Sisters club at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School #9 worked with Broccolo Landscaping and Steel Tech Fabricators to build two separate garden areas - one to rejuvenate the butterfly garden and one surrounding a sunken classroom. They created mediation boxes and sitting areas that students and staff will use for mediation, relaxation, and education.


Designed by Nayal Zaidi in collaboration with Richard Duan, Aidan Gagnon, and Jacob Byck, this project focused on raising awareness to create a more equal and just society. The final project was a music video with lyrics and videography that instilled positivity and unity.
Check out their music video!

Students Together Against Racism

The Wheatland-Chili Central School District anti-racism club, Students Together Against Racism, designed a mural that spells "Equality" in ASL, featuring different pride flags and hands from diverse races.

Meditation On The Move (M.O.M)

Designed by Vanguard Collegiate High School student Natalie Robles, this project focused on youth and calming strategies. Student leaders were taught yoga and meditation, and created workshops to share with their peers, faculty, and staff.

Art 2 Heart

Designed by Wilson Magnet High School student Daimarelys Lara, this project focused on the expansion of the current methods of restorative practices beyond peace circles through using art as a form of healing.

Youth Recognition Reward

Designed by Brian Fox, this project aimed to recognize community members who utilize best practices in working with youth who cope with mental health challenges. By reducing barriers and stigma associated with mental health challenges there can be an increase community awareness and deeper support.

Peace Ambassadors

Designed by Guelmary Rodriguez and the Peace Ambassadors club at Integrated Arts and Technology, this project focused on student-led community building. The final project included a Spoken Word Showcase/Coffee House, art work created and displayed in the school to demonstrate unity, and a short video on respect.

Spread The Love Day!

Designed by National Junior Honor Society Members from School #5, this project created a half day of events and activities discussing unity, kindness, and peace. Activities included peace circles, creating signs and murals representing peace, and cooking a meal for St. Joe's Neighborhood Center.

A Healthy Outside Starts with the Inside

The Student Voice club at Northeast High School got together to paint inspiring images and quotes on their bathroom stalls, stating that the bathroom is often a place of reprieve for a high-school student. They also posted QR codes on the stalls that would link a student in crisis with an available and trusted teacher.

Community Mural Project

Designed by Kaori-Mei Stephens, this project paired students from the Harley School with students from World of Inquiry to create an informational mural about the Emergency Services and Family Stabilization Network (ESFSN).

MCC Upward Bound: the Police Teen Talent Slam 2K18.

Designed by Gammachis Duresso with MCC Upward Bound, this final project was a Talent Slam between Rochester Youth and police. Prior to the showcase, youth and police came together during a racism dialogue event to discuss many issues plaguing Rochester, such as police teen relations, education, and racism, in order to share their experiences and reflect on possible solutions.

We Are Rochester

Designed by UR student Ruki PV, this project incorporated themes of diversity and togetherness in a mural. Specific themes emerged directly from the students at Bloomfield Elementary School.

Student Lead Community Service & In-School Resource Center

Designed by 5th and 6th grade students at Discovery Charter School, this project created a sister's closet, a brother's closet, and a pantry, that provided youth with clothing and food items. Upon implementation, it created a feedback loop where community stepped in and continued the food and clothing donation drives since the infrastructure was successful.

Walking In Someone Else’s Shoes

Designed by School #35 Island Jacobs, this project explored cultural awareness with the entire 6th grade class. Students engaged with the various culture, language, and food from three different cultures.

Students Taking a Stand for Communities within Communities

Designed by 8th grader Khadeja Thomas, President of the Monroe High School Math Club, this project aimed to create unity through the creation of a Monroe flag in both Spanish & English. Additionally, the entire Math Club became trained in Nonviolent Communication in efforts to create a more peaceful school environment.

View projects from our very first cycle here.