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Revisit some of the past projects we have sponsored, from 2017 to 2021. These projects are all led by Rochester-area youth between the ages of 12 and 24. Youth have the chance to showcase what they have creatively accomplished with their community at our end-of-cycle symposium. 

Building Bridges in Rochester

Designed by Merisa Kamali, this program brought middle school-age students from various schools & Cameron Community Ministries to develop a deeper understanding of the racial and socioeconomic diversity in the Rochester community. The final project included murals in four quadrants of the City.

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.

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.

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.

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.

During our first grant cycle in March of 2017, we funded 10 innovative projects that utilized the arts, outreach, and creative educational techniques to promote active nonviolence. See below to learn more about these individual youth projects.

Art Shakedown

Designed by Gianina Spano, this interactive community event aimed to promote peace and unity through mural painting, a drum circle, and meditation. The Art Shakedown took place on Friday, July 14th, 2017 at Cobbs Hill.


Designed by Griffin Cross in collaboration with Rochester Kids, this student exchange program brought students together from the Pittsford Central School District and an urban Partnerships to Uplift Communities (PUC) charter school to develop a deeper understanding of the racial and socioeconomic diversity in the Greater Rochester community.

Collaborating to Connect

Designed by Maya Waller and the World of Inquiry Garden club, this project brought together Rochester City School District students and police officers together to paint murals that celebrate diversity, inclusion, and peace for their community gardens.

Painting Peace

Designed by School 17 Student Council with support from Gina Verdin and Kyle Skovira, this project organized the entire school in painting protest signs and banners for peace and holding a community peace march around the school’s community.

MCC Upward Bound Police Civilian Talent Slam

Designed by Isabel Hernandez with MCC Upward Bound, this talent show highlighted entertaining acts from police and local youth to promote relationship building. The talent show was hosted at Early College International High School.

Painting Peace

Designed by School 17 Student Council with support from Gina Verdin and Kyle Skovira, this project organized the entire school in painting protest signs and banners for peace and holding a community peace march around the school’s community.

Project Awareness

The Institute offered learning opportunities to groups of all kinds on a donation basis. Workshop content was adjusted to best serve the group and included racial justice, leadership, conflict resolution, and nonviolence education.

Peace and Love

Designed by World of Inquiry student Iyanna Davis, this lesson series for 6th graders addresses bullying and building self confidence by helping students design tie-dye t-shirts with positive messages.