Planting Seeds: The Launch of The Ripple Effect Education

Thursday, October 6, 2016

WATERLOO, ON Do youth have the tools they need to solve their conflicts and seek justice? On September 20, educators, parents, youth, and community members gathered to launch The Ripple Effect Education (TREE), a peace education initiative that will integrate conflict resolution and social justice concepts into social studies curriculum in elementary school classrooms. TREE is a participant in the Frank and Helen Epp Peace Incubator in the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement at Conrad Grebel University College. The launch event was a part of Peace Week, Conrad Grebel’s annual week-long celebration of the International Day of Peace.

fruit on the treeTREE Director, Katie Gingerich, introduced the initiative to a group of educators, parents, youth and community members. She shared that with great research and community support, TREE will begin work in elementary schools as a catalyst for social change amongst youth. Gingerich spoke of TREE as a seed, that when given time and nurturing, will grow into something meaningful and fruitful. John Bocanegra, a past Peace Camper and Junior Leader, shared his experience of peace education as perspective-changing and motivating.  The event also included an act of community that invited participants to imagine the “fruit —or outcomes —that TREE will produce. 

Katie welcomes guests to TREE launchTREE creates educational resources for youth to gain demonstrable conflict resolution skills and an awareness of justice issues locally and globally. This new initiative derives from a need for peace education in classrooms, and draws upon experiences from Peace Camp, an educational day camp program at Conrad Grebel University College. From 2014-2016, Peace Camp facilitated conflict resolution programs in 282 classrooms with approximately 5900 youth. Gingerich, former Peace Camp Coordinator, realized that peace education needed to be infused into elementary classrooms in a more visible and formal way. Students in TREE programs develop the understanding and skills to pursue peace in the classroom, in the community, and in the world.

Passionate to promote peace in education, Gingerich noted that she has had “many teachers express their desire to integrate peace education into their classrooms, but they lack the time and resources to do so.” At the TREE launch, educator Tim O'Connor noted that, “there’s a huge void in peace education, it’s badly needed. It’s probably the most important need globally.”

To Find out how to invite TREE into your school, contact:


TREE Director
519-885-0220 x24205
Conrad Grebel University College
Waterloo, ON Canada


About Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement

The Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement is located at Conrad Grebel University College on the campus of the University of Waterloo. It aspires to attract peace innovators; to be a state of the art academic hub that incubates and advances collaborative, inter-disciplinary, multi-sector peacemaking. The CPA is currently home to over two dozen peace practitioners working for affiliate organizations and members of the Epp Peace Incubator program. Participants also include Grebel faculty, staff, and graduate students. For more information, please visit

About The Ripple Effect Education

The Ripple Effect Education (TREE) develops and facilitates educational resources to create peace-literate citizens with demonstrable conflict resolution skills, and awareness of justice issues locally and globally. TREE is a Epp Peace Incubator Participant in the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement. For more information, please visit