December 15, 2021 – In 2016, WPDI launched the Domestic Harmonizer Program (DHP) at Carnegie Middle School in Carson, California. Now, five years later, the program has expanded to three additional schools in the Greater Los Angeles Area – with more to come. Since the program’s inception, WPDI has reached 8,790 students, trained 158 peer mediators, and instructed 247 teachers and 14 counselors in the program’s curriculum. WPDI is also currently training more than 90 new peer mediators so that they can resolve disputes on campus now that in-person learning has resumed at schools.
Since its launch, the Domestic Harmonizer Program has expanded its curriculum, integrating conflict resolution and restorative justice in academics and extending its offerings to include a thriving peer mediation program, animation videos, a virtual center, an educational game, and trauma-informed trainings for students, parents, and teachers. The program also now offers a collaboration with University of Southern California’s Institute for Theatre & Social Change to students in order to bring awareness to social justice issues as they are experienced by youths. Next year, the program will even expand further to new schools and offer the program’s educational tools across the nation with the public launching of the Domestic Harmonizer Virtual Center.
“I am thrilled to mark this important milestone,” says Domestic Program Director, Monya Kian. “Through this program, we have helped shed greater light on critical social justice issues, and offered a wide range of restorative practices to schools. I am excited to see what the next five years hold for the growth of this program.”
As we celebrate the program’s anniversary, we would like to spotlight the profile of five educators and students who have been impacted by the program.
“The Domestic Harmonizer Program was the best program to come to Carnegie Middle School. It was amazing to see the students use the conflict resolution and peacebuilding skills in their daily lives. Our staff also used what they learned in handling difficult situations. As a result, we achieved a more positive and respectful learning environment. We were so fortunate to be part of this innovative initiative.” – Cheryl Nakata l Former Principal (Retired) l Carnegie Middle School
“Working with the Domestic Harmonizer team has been nothing short of a pleasure! Karen and Monya are extremely knowledgeable and care about the program’s success in our classrooms. I especially enjoy when these ladies plan and implement the lessons for our students! The students really understand Domestic Harmonizer concepts and put them into practice in the school. The professional development times are wonderful opportunities to add more activities and strategies for our students. Thank you for the time you have spent with our students and staff.” – Joni Marie Badar l English Teacher l Stephen White Middle School and STEAM Magnet
“Participating in the Domestic Harmonizer program has been such a great experience for me as an educator. The program that I am really impressed with and am so glad to be a part of is the Peer Mediator Program. I love watching the students learn about the Peer Mediation process and seeing their growth from the first day of training to doing their first Peer Mediation. It is exciting to see the students’ growth in their personal skills of identifying their own unmet needs and helping their peers do the same to help resolve conflict.” – Anh Nguyen l School Counselor l Ball Jr. High School
“This program and training was fun. Ms. Karen and Ms. Monya showed us that Conflict mediators are important because they can stop a problem from getting bigger. I would recommend this program because if at least we have ten people at a school to help resolve issues, I think people might be more happy with each other.” – Justin S. l 7th Grader l Walker Junior High School
“Mediation is when two mediators guide disputants to solve their problems. When I took mediation training, I learned a lot that will benefit me and my daily life. These skills are essential to learning because it opens your eyes to a lot of things. One of the main things that mediation has opened my eyes to was being biased and putting myself in other people’s shoes. Ms. Karen and Ms. Monya have taught us many things that can benefit us in many ways, such as restating, not judging people quickly, and most importantly, guiding other people to solve their conflicts calmly and in order. I hope this can make me a better leader because now I have the proper training to help people with a conflict. I would recommend this training to other people. Anyone at any age can do it, and it will help out a lot in the community.” – Sophia K. l 7th Grader l Walker Junior High School