November 5, 2021 – For the fourth year in a row, Verizon has provided a grant in support of the Domestic Harmonizer Program (DHP), WPDI’s innovative conflict resolution education initiative for middle schools in the United States. Designed around a framework based in peace education and restorative justice practices, the DHP is currently being implemented at three Los Angeles-area schools and has impacted thousands of students, teachers, and administrators. Thanks to this support, WPDI will be able to maintain and expand the impact of the DHP in the year ahead.

In the next twelve months, the DHP will be implemented in five schools throughout Southern California using the program’s innovative curriculum, reaching hundreds of teachers and thousands of additional students.  The program will help WPDI train peer mediators and trauma-informed youth specialists, both of whom will help address different types of issues that can arise at school in peaceful and practical ways. Verizon’s support will also help WPDI promote the program across the country through the Domestic Harmonizer Virtual Center, a web-based platform designed to offer educational tools based on our curriculum, including academic content and a game, to students, parents, and teachers, ensuring that the DHP will further develop its scope and impact.

“I am sincerely appreciative of Verizon’s support of our US-based program,” says Forest Whitaker, WPDI Founder and CEO.  “Verizon’s commitment to supporting youth programs is bound to leave a lasting imprint. Their support for WPDI is truly integral to the success of the DHP.” 

The DHP is more critical today than it ever was, considering the disproportionate impact that the pandemic had on every aspect in the life of youths.  In response to the spike in trauma, conflict, and social-emotional tensions as a result of the pandemic, the tools offered to students through this program will help them process their experiences and rebound from them.  The program’s connection between social-emotional learning and core subjects also helps teachers in advancing academic learning, with noted learning outcomes among students.

With such a positive impact on school life and academic results, the DHP continues to be relevant for the current moment. We are convinced that the potential of this program can be beneficial to thousands of students, teachers, and administrators in Southern California and beyond. We are very thankful to Verizon for joining us in our efforts to mobilize young people as promoters of positive change.

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