It Takes a Village: Peace Education for Seniors in Denver, Colorado

Karen Beem is a new volunteer for the Peace Education Program (PEP). She has lived at Kentucky Circle Village in Denver, Colorado, for almost three years, where she recently facilitated her first PEP workshops. Karen enjoys cooking, bike riding, volunteering, traveling, talking, and listening.

Kentucky Circle Village (KCV) is a neighborhood community of 172 apartments in the Glendale area of Denver, Colorado. The one-story units were built in 1959 to ensure that independent seniors would have an affordable place to live. Today, the mature trees and lush landscaping provide a park-like setting for these homes. I am a resident here.

The recently remodeled administration building has the perfect conference room to hold the Peace Education Program. After volunteering for PEP classes across town at the Delores Project, a program for homeless women and transgender individuals, co-volunteer Susan Scholl and I presented the PEP to the Executive Director of KCV, Julie Hoebel. She is a former Peace Corps volunteer and was quite enthusiastic. With the support of the village and the administrative support staff, the first PEP class began on March 6, 2018. Even though attendance was small, a core group remained for the majority of the weekly workshops which feature videos of Prem Rawat’s talks on personal peace. The participants were engaged and committed.

Here’s a sampling of some of their comments as the course unfolded:

As Prem said, “Peace will be our finest achievement.”

You have to have peace to give peace.

All of the young people need to be taught that everyone is special.

Heaven is in our hearts.

I always like to come to these workshops because I always learn something new.

Just before the last workshop on May 8, the class joined Julie, the Executive Director, for lunch in the KCV dining room. Participants talked about how they found Prem Rawat to be a great speaker, about how they gained an awareness and understanding of themselves, and about how much they enjoyed the videos and discussions.

Our PEP volunteers were able to donate two copies of Prem Rawat’s book “Splitting the Arrow” to KCV’s library. The PEP team wrote nice dedications in each book, and participants immediately starting making plans to share copies with each other. They secured a promise from us to offer the course again. Another 10-week session is being planned for later this summer or in the fall

On May 22, Susan and I showed the class the award-winning documentary Inside Peace, now airing on PBS, featuring four inmates at San Antonio’s Dominguez State Prison who were profoundly impacted by peace education. Viewers loved the film and once again expressed their gratitude to us for bringing PEP to our little senior village.

After helping with one workshop at the Delores Project, I knew PEP would be a great fit here at Kentucky Circle Village. I can also speak for Susan and say how wonderful it was for us to share Prem’s message of peace and to see people’s life-changing experiences. We all look forward to the next PEP workshop. It was a blast!

Photo of Denver skyline by Zenhaus




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