Peace Through Play is a student-run organization founded and based at Northeastern University. We create opportunities for mutual empowerment of college students and youth through utilization of educational games, crafts, and other learning mediums as an interactive teaching method that emphasizes leadership skill building, social emotional learning, and self identity awareness.
Since 2018, Peace Through Play has been partnered with the Human Services Program at Northeastern University. We've collaborated with our faculty adviser from the department, Dr. Emily Mann, and her "Science of Play" honors seminar to develop supplement materials for our organization that promote the power of play in child development. Example projects include curriculum on "loose parts play" to facilitate child agency and curriculum on environmental sustainability.
In the early 1990s, Harvard freshman Eric Dawson became involved in an annual one-day Children's Festival. He transformed this festival into a year-long curriculum which eventually became the non-profit called Peace Games. In 2006, Peace Games came to Northeastern after university student Alex Alvanos co-oped at the organization. Northeastern's chapter of the organization was called "Social Change Through Peace Games."
In 2009, Peace Games became PeaceFirst and transitioned its base exclusively to full-time Americorps volunteers. Northeastern's chapter members wanted to continue working with Boston's youth while remaining full-time university students themselves, so they became an independent organization called Peace Through Play in 2010.
When originally founded, Peace Games sought to eliminate and minimize violence in Boston's youth. However, Peace Through Play has since grown into an organization that empowers Boston's youth through art projects and community service, in addition to the active play on which the original curriculum was founded.