The back-to-school season is an exciting time; however, it can also be a trying time for many students. Studies show that one out of every four kids is bullied and there are about 160,000 children that miss school every day out of fear of being bullied. Mercy Housing Peace Pal participants from Crestview Apartments in Omaha, Neb., are doing their part to see those numbers change for the better.
“Peace Pals is an anti-bullying Resident Services program offered in several Mercy Housing properties in Colorado and Nebraska,” explained Kate Hunt, Regional Grants Manager for Mercy Housing in Nebraska. “They are dedicated to promoting Mercy Housing’s core values of Respect, Justice and Mercy through peer education and advocacy.”
One Peace Pal, a young woman named Taylor, says her life has changed for the better since moving to Crestview with her family and taking part in the Peace Pals program. She’s become a peer mediator and young leader within the Crestview community. As such, she makes sure to promote the Peace Pal curriculum of diversity training, selfawareness and appreciation for multiculturalism. Crestview Village is home to 430 residents including 120 children that will benefit from more positive influences like Taylor.
This summer, the Storm Chasers, a minor league baseball team from Omaha, selected Mercy Housing to be their “Organization of the Night.” This honor is bestowed upon local organizations that make a positive impact on at-risk children and youth through programming. When it came time for Shelly Voss, Resident Services Coordinator at Crestview, to choose a representative from Mercy Housing, there was no question in her mind.
With a big smile and a bigger heart, Taylor waved to the crowd and threw out the first pitch of the game.