For Teachers/Guidance Counselors

A Culture Of Teaching Peace

To envision a culture of teaching peace precludes a society that supports, funds and appreciates the rich global history of nonviolence through an explicit pedagogy and practice of peace. In essence, the learning environment fosters an outlook of global interdependence, ecological accountability and cultural sensitivity. The community places peace at the center of the content and processes, embracing all learning styles and environments, as well as supporting a participatory and shared learning environment between teachers and students.

This culture of teaching peace recognizes that peace is not simply the absence of violence, but rather a dynamic state of self-inquiry, relationship-building and mindfulness. Peace does not mean running from conflicts, but rather bringing consciousness to the moment when conflict takes place and participating in a process of conflict transformation which has been taught and reinforced through the educational system. It encompasses relevant curriculum designed to cultivate an environment where questioning, critical thinking and compassion are encouraged in and out of the school setting.

If we desire to be a peace-building, peace-affirming, peace-loving world, we must dedicate our time, energy and resources toward teaching students about the meaningful lessons that can be learned inside the classroom as well as outside in the world.

A culture of teaching peace addresses the embedded problems of racism, classism, gentrification, verbal violence, militarism, structural and institutional violence, police and state brutality, legal and illegal violence, misogyny, globalization and capitalism. A culture of teaching peace is one which advocates teaching ways of behaving that enhance the self-worth of every member of society.

Enculturating the notion of teaching peace should be the primary concern for administrators, teachers and students. Our world is inundated with an unprecedented level of violence which has even permeated the previously safe haven of schools. Ranging from interpersonal conflicts to school shootings to the presence of military recruiters on campuses, education has become a polarized environment rather than a place of exploration and wonderment. Reclaiming education and teaching for peace means respecting learners' individuality, inviting a spirit of community and acknowledging the principle of interconnectedness which links the common human experience. We must promote a worldview which sees all humans as one family, and a worldview where responsibility for the global family starts at an individual level.

Teaching peace focuses on the content of classroom instruction, i.e. the lesson plans, reading material and discussions which relay valuable information about great peacemakers, various nonviolent tactics and strategies for creating positive change and the various resources - the organizations and individuals - who currently employ the methodology of peacemaking. Teaching peace also places importance on the process of education, i.e. the structure of the classroom, shared power between teacher and student, and a cooperative, co-creative learning process where factors like race, religion, background and learning ability are honored as swaths of fabric in a colorful cultural quilt.

The case of the Program Pendidikan Damai , a peace education program specifically designed for the province of Aceh, Indonesia, is a good example of a culture of teaching peace. In response to the pandemic brutal war between the Free Aceh Movement and the Indonesian military which has caught tens of thousands of civilians in the crossfire, local educators solicited the advice of international non-governmental organizations in creating a curriculum rooted in principles of nonviolence. The curriculum incorporates tenets of Islamic teaching as well as Acehnese culture, and is thus aptly relevant to the students who, frustrated with the level of violence in their cities and countrysides, decided to participate in workshops and trainings to learn how they can be agents of positive change in their communities. The local schools have adopted the curriculum and have begun teaching the lessons during school hours.

This example of a culture of teaching peace. Aceh, and the Program Pendidikan Damai, are imperfect, and the process has not succeeded in ending all of the violence in the region. However, teachers and students are cooperating in building a culture of peace through explicitly teaching peace.

Impediments to a culture of teaching peace:

Some schools worldwide have specific courses dedicated to studying the history, scope and practical applications of nonviolence. While beneficial as supplementary courses, their existence underlies a much greater problem: textbook writers and curriculum designers have systematically undervalued the contributions by great peacemakers and of successful peace movements throughout the world. Unless a dynamic teacher engages the students in learning about the relevance of peacemaking in human history, students likely emerge from their compulsory education as peace illiterates, disconnected from their place in the world, ignorant of their responsibility for giving back to the communities that helped raise them.

Students cannot be expected to internalize peace when their bodies and minds are malnourished and underfed. Too many students arrive at school with their stomachs empty and their heads and hearts filled with the burdens of poverty and social immobility. Disempowered by their inability to vote and thus formally register their opinions, many young students are at the mercy of war-torn countries, unhealthy living environments and inadequate educational systems. A culture of teaching peace goes hand in hand with workers' rights, movements for a living wage, child labor and exploitative practices which subjugate many to appease the greeds of a few.

Moreover, if external peace is neglected in the outside world and in pedagogy, internal peace is outright omitted during the school day. Students are expected to shelve their yearnings for meaningful experiences which formal education often denies, for a plethora of reasons. Lack of funding, too few teachers, too many students, disparity between formal education and the 'real world,' and reliance on grading and testing to measure a student's capabilities are only a few of the many reasons why students emerge from school deprived of personal peace. Time for reflection and engaging with one's own emotions does not have a place in the schoolday. Institutional reforms, like rewriting textbooks to include more information about nonviolent figures and movements, as well as structural reforms, like rethinking systems of grading and testing, will support nonviolent change at higher levels and encourage students to reclaim their education.

One of the biggest impediments to a culture of teaching peace is the systematic disempowerment that students experience. Students give over their dreams and self-confidence in regimented learning environments. Entering school as young children, they have accomplished the natural tasks of acquiring language and moderately navigating their expanding world. Most have not yet learned to doubt. Formal education can deprive students of their inherent agency, numbing them into submission. By the time students leave school, many students cannot trust anyone, least of all themselves.

Why teach peace?

Students deserve to learn about a history of their world which incorporates the narrative of peacemakers rather than the monopolization of teaching peace gives students the tools to constructively deal with the problems they encounter on both a personal and global level, and it helps them understand their responsibility for elevating the collective human experience. Education that excludes peace from both content information and through peaceful processes also denies students a full range of opportunities to make the best choices for them, and freedom of choice requires access to information.

The goal is ultimately to unlock in students the ability to be autodidactic, and to have a powerful understanding of their role in promoting peace in the world. Since formal education often leads to future job prospects, a culture of teaching peace ought to offer dynamic examples of careers with a conscience, or choosing a vocation which utilizes their unique gifts and talents and which is ecologically sound, morally upright and globally-minded. Giving evidence that peace is a viable and tangible career option can open doors and broaden students' perspectives.

Teaching peace is not restricted to a particular school or context using a specific methodology or practice. A culture of teaching peace recognizes the varied and diverse learning environments where students encounter opportunities to refine their notions of peace. Nature hikes, punk concerts, trips to the library or lectures and flying a kite are some of the activities outside the classroom which 'count' as peace education. Science teachers can teach peace by promoting environmental awareness and ecological thinking. Foreign language teachers can read and/or translate primary-source texts from the target language which detail experiences in personal, local, national and global peacemaking efforts. Physics classes can learn about the subatomic exchange of matter and energy which binds all humans to one another. Themes of peace and justice can be infused in every content subject so that peace is pervasive in the curriculum.

A culture of teaching peace can also begin in unconventional places. In prisons and juvenile detention facilities in the United States, a curriculum called Solutions to Violence is impacting the incarcerated youths and adults in a positive way. Death Row inmates have begun teaching the class, and graduates proudly display their diploma stating that they have read the likes of Tolstoy, Gandhi, Merton and King. A culture of teaching peace is beginning to take hold in the places reserved for the most violent criminals. Students of peace in any environment can learn the principles of conflict resolution and internalize the messages in Thich Nhat Hanh's vast literature.

What lies ahead for a culture of teaching peace:

A comprehensive global network of educators promoting peace will create waves of new teachers who are motivated to teach peace. Teachers and students are supported in their endeavors and encouraged to use creativity. In a culture of teaching peace, governments ensure that education receives all the funding necessary to purchase supplies and provide meals and materials for students. The entire well-being of the student is taken into consideration, establishing a nurturing environment.

A culture of teaching peace requires that we look critically at how we categorize, label and sort students into various learning groups or arbitrary classifications like perceived learning ability. It means that students come to class with an inherent capacity to learn and to teach, and that the essence of a culture of teaching peace requires acknowledging that teachers and administrators do not have all of the answers. A culture of teaching peace places trust in the unknown, creating space for educational adventure and risk-taking, stepping outside of conventional ways of interacting and of predictable patterns of learning.

A culture of teaching peace would begin formally in pre-school and progress developmentally through university studies, extending outward into every facet of life. It also makes room for those life-learners who are not confined to classrooms but who seek wisdom and knowledge out in the open. All community members are involved with the process of invoking a culture of teaching peace, recognizing teachable moments and opportunities for learning in and out of the classroom.

A culture of teaching peace would not hesitate to tackle the difficult subjects of nuclear weapons, economic disparities reinforced by powerful international organizations and multinational corporations resulting in a mass feminization of poverty. A culture of teaching peace inherently turns toward restorative justice as a means of addressing the needs of oppressors and of the oppressed. This culture of peace through education would advocate for internationally upheld treaties and peaceful diplomacy between nations, as countries and their leaders set the moral tone for their citizens.

We cannot question whether or not this culture of teaching peace will or will not take place. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that "the choice is not between nonviolence and violence but between nonviolence and nonexistence." This is the mandate under which a culture of teaching peace operates. For the sake of future generations and to create a peaceful present reality, we must teach and learn how to get along with each other.

Leah C. Wells serves as the Peace Education Coordinator for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, USA. This paper was presented to the UNESCO Conference on Intercultural Education in Finland on June 16, 2003. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Source: http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0616-01.htm (archived)

Here are some recommended links available to better inform you as as educators. This is a work in progress and NNOMY will be adding new documents as they are prepared and as policies change that effect enlistment. Check back periodically.

Organizations that provide curricula for teaching peace in the classroom:


The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth 2015 Back-to-school Kit for Counter-recruitment and School Demilitarization Organizing is now available to assist you in understanding the work, your rights, and the challenges to return to the public schools to counter-recruit. Please visit this page and review the materials we have assembled for you and feel free to ask questions as well at Our Contact Page and we will do our best to answer you or your group in a timely manner.




Articles on the web:



 Revised 07/02/2020


For Students

Students' rights

High school students confront U.S. Marine recruiters and their supporters in front of the recruiting station, Berkeley, February 12.High school students have an advantage when it comes to organizing to demilitarize their schools and counter military recruiters. The Constitution guarantees them an inherent right to speak out on controversial topics at their schools as long as they don't violate legitimate time, place and manner rules. And when it comes to convincing district trustees or superintendents, students can speak with authority about what they are experiencing in their schools.

For more information on students' rights, check out the toolkits and guides.


Student organizing

Start a club to do CR work.  Talk to your friends or folks you think might be interested in participating.  Have a meeting with a few people to start the process. Assign tasks like:

  • Find out about the rules regarding clubs/organizations at your school
  • Begin the process of starting a club (paperwork if necessary, etc.)
  • Make a flyer about the group
  • Make copies of the flyer
  • Pass out flyers
  • Hang flyers up at the school, around town at libraries, events, stores, etc.
  • Get an advisor - talk to some teachers who might be supportive and are willing to help out (make copies, reserve meeting rooms, talk to the administration, offer advice, etc.)

Look for allies

Allies are often available in the community to support and assist students who wish to educate their peers and organize. Use the National Directory of Youth Demilitarization Groups to see if any such groups are located in your area.

College information sessions/workshops

You could invite a representative from a college or someone who has been in college (especially a young person) to lead info. sessions/workshops on college, including some of the following topics:

  • What is college for? Why go to college?
  • What is college like? The basics.
  • Can I afford college?  How to get financial aid.
  • Figuring out what to study/choosing a major.

Some colleges have active outreach programs to help students answer the above questions.  Click here to learn about one example, The California Student Opportunity and Access Program, which is instrumental in improving the flow of information about postsecondary education and financial aid while raising the achievement levels of low-income elementary and secondary school students, or geographic regions with low-eligibility or college participation rates.

Here are some recommended links available to better inform you as a student. This is a work in progress and NNOMY will be adding new documents as they are prepared and as policies change that effect enlistment. Check back periodically.


The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth 2018-19 Back-to-school Kit for Counter-recruitment and School Demilitarization Organizing is now available to assist you in understanding the work, your rights, and the challenges to return to the public schools to counter-recruit. Please visit this page and review the materials we have assembled for you and feel free to ask questions as well at Our Contact Page and we will do our best to answer you or your group in a timely manner.



Organizations you should know:

Articles on the web:


 Revised 07/02/2020

Know Your Rights

Stop Kids Going to WarWe live in dangerous times when our government is pursuing permanent wars in the name of human rights and democracy building. Theses claims do not hold up to the facts. The federal protections such as the FERPA Act to protect our children's privacy are not being enforced in our schools and the Pentagon gives the ASVAB test in many schools across the nation as a mandatory requirement when it is only voluntary. All of this is for data mining to then use for aggressive military recruitment of our youth, especially those from disadvantaged families. No one will protect our children but an informed public.

Consider being an activist parent, teacher, veteran, religious clergy, or student who wants a different kind of future for their lives and their community.  The health and ethical toll of permanent war in America is costing us all a sustainable and truly secure future. You have rights but you must first know what they are and then to insist upon them with misinformed school officials and military recruiters.

Use the following links to learn about your legal rights:

Equal Access

Equal access is a term that can refer to school access given to recruiters, counter-recruiters or students. For information about these different categories of access, use the links below.

Finding Alternatives

There are many reasons people consider joining the military. You may be thinking about money for college, job training or the physical challenge. You may just need to get out of the house, out of the neighborhood, out on your own. You may want to travel, serve your country, or do something meaningful with your life.

Before you consider enlistment, it is important to know of the hundreds of other options available for you.


Paying for College

The government provides financial aid to help students pay for college. There are also millions of dollars available in scholarships and grants.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Apply for student financial aid from the federal government, including grants, loans, & work-study. Its free. You can download FAFSA forms in English or Spanish, get help filling out the forms and track the status of your application. www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Federal Student Aid Information Center 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)

Scholarship Search Tools. There are several web tools that help you search for scholarships.

Various National Scholarships and Grants

Getting Ready For College

Free SAT/ACT Test Prep:

A Web-based Course to Help Students Prepare for College.

Job Training & Trade Schools:

Want to become a culinary artist or learn cosmetology? Maybe, you want to learn a skilled trade that will provide you with a good living. If this type of future is where you see yourself heading, but you don’t have the necessary skills, you can get job training from a variety of sources. Non-profits, community colleges, large corporations and vocational schools provide the necessary skills training to do a variety of jobs and skilled trades. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate among military veterans age 20-24 is three times higher than the national average. Before you think about the military, check out these options.

Directories and Databases

Be sure to do a background check on a school before signing up. Many of them are completely legit, but some are a rip-off. Here are some tips on how to do this.

National Opportunities>

  • Job Corps. This program gets you out of the house, and provides academic, vocational, and social skills training you need to gain independence and get quality, long-term jobs or further your education.
  • YouthBuild. Teaches young people how to build new homes for people in need, and new lives for themselves. Receive a combination of classroom academic and job skills development and on-site training in a construction trade.
  • Americorps. Jobs in all types of community programs. Provides training, work experience, stipend and scholarships.

Finding a Job

Finding a job is a lot of work. Start by checking out your local newspapers to get an idea of what is out there and what you are qualified for.

Job Search Sites:

See the World : Living/Working/Volunteering Abroad

“Traveling” with the military doesn’t exactly mean traveling. If you are lucky enough not to get sent to a war zone, you’ll spend most of your time on a US military base, oftentimes to a country that doesn’t welcome the US Army. “Traveling” with the Navy can mean 6 months confined to a ship, without ever going ashore. If this is not what you have in mind, there are many other options.

  • Peace Brigades International (Guatemala, Columbia, and Indonesia). PBI offers volunteer positions, paid job positions (which are limited) and internships.
  • Service Civil International. Has short term (2- weeks) and long term (3-12 months) opportunities that costs approximately $175 plus cost of travel. Includes food and housing.
  • VE Global Voluntarios de la Esperanza. This program offers an intensive (living with host family) and part time (mostly administrative work) program in Chile. This unpaid program last three months and will require some out of pocket expenses.
  • Operations Crossroads Africa Volunteers. Volunteer work in Africa. Program costs $3500.
  • Independent Volunteer. Volunteer database of work around the world organized by country and type of work.
  • Global Crossroad. Global Crossroad organizes volunteer and internship programs.
  • Global Volunteers. Global Volunteers organizes teams of volunteers to work in local communities and help with projects run by local leaders.

There are many useful books and websites on cheap travel. You can get them at your local library or buy them used on amazon.com for very little money.

  • Finding Voluntary Work Abroad: All the Information You Need for Getting Valuable Work Experience Overseas (How-to Series) by Mark Hempshell
  • Cheap!: "How-To" Strategies and Tips for Free Flights & Cheap Travel, by Vicki Mills
  • You Can Travel Free, Robert William Kirk
  • How to Go Almost Anywhere for Almost Nothing, Maureen Hennessy
  • Encyclopedia of Cheap Travel (Updated Annually), Terrance Zepke

Challenge Yourself

There are many ways to challenge yourself physically & mentally. There are other careers that command respect. Here are some things to check out:

Serving your Country

Many young people feel that the only way they can serve their country and community is to join the military. That is not true! There are many opportunities to become a hero, build communities, and promote peace and justice without risking your life or taking another.

An excellent book of alternatives called “It’s My Life” is available FREE to youth. Websites that can give you some ideas, tips, next steps, and local, national, and international professional and volunteer opportunities:


For more information:
Ya-Ya Network*

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

Project YANO

War Resisters League
212-288-6193 / 212-288-0450

Central Committee for Conscience Objectors (CCCO)

New York Civil Liberties Union
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*The Ya-Ya Network compiled this document.

Source: http://www.nyclu.org/milrec/alternatives


 Revised 10/13/2017

Alternatives to the Military

 Go To The New Peaceful Career Alternatives Website for the latest resources on building your future without joining the Military!  https://peacefulcareers.org/

Choose your alternative to a military career optionCivilian Corps | Cultural | Green | Intern/Train | Jobs | Mentors | More Sites | Prepare | Public Service | Schools/Scholarship | Sports | Travel | Volunteer

The CCC wants its corpsmembers to enter the working world with the education they need to be successful,One of the best things counter recruitment activists can do is to offer concrete career, life and education alternatives to what the military offers. People enlist for a variety of reasons such as: money for college, job training/skills, direction in life, discipline, to be part of a team, travel, to serve their country, to get out of trouble with the law, physical training, even citizenship. It is important to keep all of these in mind when talking to young people.

Also keep in mind that young people may have hidden motivations such as wanting simply to be more respected. Some may need to escape a difficult home environment or abusive relationship or deal with other problems in their life. Young people do not always share these deeper reasons for wanting to enlist, so listen closely. Stock answers about education and job opportunities may not be helpful in such a case, but they may help a young person to think of other ways to get out of a bad situation.


Also see our Alternatives by State Section by clicking on the Map Below to download a PDF Brochure by State.




Some non-military options for youth listed alphabetically:
Click on a link below to get you started

Civilian Corp Opportunities & Community Service

AmeriCorps | AmeriCorps engages more than 80,000 Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. AmeriCorps programs do more than move communities forward; they serve their members by creating jobs.

City Year Corps | You can make a difference. In schools. In classrooms. In neighborhoods. City Year corps members serve full-time at one of 24 locations across the United States as tutors and mentors, running after-school programs and leading youth leadership programs.

Earth Corps | environmental service is a uniquely effective way to build community. When people put their hands into the dirt together and see their efforts transform a threatened area into a more vibrant landscape, they forge a special bond, empowering themselves and their community.
Global Peace Youth Corps | is the youth arm of the international GPF movement. GPYC strives to positively impact the youth culture by bringing together young leaders of all faiths, cultures, nationalities, and interests under a common vision and universal principles.
Green Job Corps | CaliforniaVolunteers brings together a statewide network of local volunteer connector agencies and online volunteer connector tools to provide support and help recruit volunteers for our state’s nonprofits and public agencies. National Conservation Corps | are comprehensive youth development programs that provide their participants with job training, academic programming, leadership skills, and additional support through a strategy of service that improves communities and the environment.
Peace Corps | is working in emerging and essential areas such as information technology and business development. Peace Corps Volunteers continue to help countless individuals who want to build a better life for themselves, their children, and their communities. Public Allies | advances new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits, and civic participation. Since 1992, we have been developing a new generation of diverse leaders and promoting innovative leadership practices that meet the demands of changing times.
ServiceNation | is working towards the day when a year in a national service program like AmeriCorps is a common expectation for Americans, and when national service is universally accepted as a strategy for putting people to work, tackling pressing social challenges and uniting Americans in common purpose. Student Conservation Association | is where tens of thousands of green professionals, from park superintendents to urban planners, can trace their start.  This is where college and high school students connect with nature, render hands-on service, gain new skills and perspectives, and launch a lifetime of stewardship.
United We Serve Corporation for national and Community Service, | President Obama’s nationwide service initiative. This initiative aims to both expand the impact of existing organizations by engaging new volunteers in their work and encourage volunteers to develop their own "do-it-yourself" projects. Youth Conservation Corps | National parks are in disrepair. Historic buildings are crumbling, native species are losing the fight to invasive species, trails are disappearing. We need you! Get paid to accomplish needed conservation work on public lands.

Cultural and Art Activism

Art activism, both directly within movements and in the surrounding culture, has been a key element of social protest. At this Link you can explore a list assembled of some general resources on the topic that give a sampling of the vast field and wide array of materials available online and in libraries. In addition to these resources, there are numerous sites and works of art activism cited in the various individual movement pages. Cultural & Art Activismhas emerged, mainly among urban youth, as a counter-cultural movement of the arts. Identifying itself with social movement themes, counter-militarism, racial and sexual discrimination for example, but focused on addressing these social problems through cultural expression, this type of activism has become a  gathering community that did not historically identify with the mainstream arts or social movements.

Green Opportunities and Activism

A New Way Forward | is a public platform and volunteer structural-reform thinking group to transform politics and the economy for the public good. We are dedicated to structural change in the political economy. Communities for a Better Environment | Building community power to achieve environmental justice takes shared strategies and resources. Creating alliances to build a strong movement is our core strategy.
Community Organizing | attempts to bring together theory and practice, and academics and organizers, to advance the craft of community organizing. Wisconsin based.
Grassroots Job Source | Orion Magazine operates a Grassroots Jobsource for those looking for emplyment opportunities out of the mainstream or want a green career.
International Youth Climate Movement | Youths involved in global climate change activism & the UNFCCC negotiation process use online media as their key communication and organisation tool.
Non-profit work | Idealist.org | You know you want to do something good, but have no idea where or how to start. You have an idea for a project, but need some supporters before taking the leap.

Open Space Institute | is a Citizen Action Program has provided a home for a broad range of environmental projects started by concerned citizens who want to make their world a better place. New York State
Outward Bound Adventuresprovide meaningful nature-based education that promotes positive self-development, environmental responsibility, and outdoor career exposure for urban youth.
Student Conservation Association | (SCA) is America’s conservation corps. Our members protect and restore national parks, marine sanctuaries, cultural landmarks and community green spaces in all 50 states.

Teens 4 Good | Philadelphia is a youth-led entrepreneurial farm that transforms vacant lots into urban gardens/farms, access to healthy food for communities, creating meaningful jobs for at-risk youth.
The Los Angeles Community Garden Counciloperates 70 community gardens  in Los Angles County, serving 3,900 families. Community gardens are vibrant, cooperative organizations that build neighborhood self-reliance. The Youth Environmental Stewardship | or “YES” Program was launched to develop a cadre of youth stewards and community based workforce to steward nature in resource challenged communities.

Internships and Training Search

Internship.com searchis the world’s largest internship marketplace bringing students, employers and higher education institutions together in one centralized location.
Job training programs Search | The Department of Labor's ETA funds job training programs to improve the employment prospects of adults, youth, and dislocated workers.
On Earth Peace Intern Program | On Earth Peace helps you build peace…in yourself, family, church, community, nation, and world. Our professional staff and network of experienced volunteers provide skills, support, and spiritual foundations for overcoming violence with the power of love, through a range of powerful programs of training and accompaniment.  

Jobs Search

Teens for Hire | If you are a teen 14 to 19 looking for a full-time, part-time, summer, seasonal, volunteer or vocational job, Join Now and create your membership profile. On CareerOneStopyou can search for jobs, explore careers. develop your resume and it is sponsored by the U. S. Department of Labor,Employment and Training Administration.
L.A. Youth at Work is respected by over 150 companies, who appreciate the quality of our candidates.  Preparing yourself by earning the Certificate reduces your stress and leads to success with a job or paid internship, so get started now. Occupation Finder | Occupational Outlook Handbook is a resource of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor and provides information on what workers do; the work environment; education, training, and other qualifications. Very useful tool.

Mentorship Opportunities Search

The Center for Green Schools | support undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds in pursuing studies and careers in fields related to sustainability by offering their mentees  networking opportunities and career building experiences. The National Mentoring Partnership | helps children by delivering resources to mentoring programs nationwide and promoting quality for mentoring through standards, cutting-edge research and state of the art tools.

Other Non-military Opportunities Pages

Alternatives to the Military/AFSC/Documents/National"It's My Life"  (national guide to be used anywhere in the U.S.) details alternative options to military service that still satisfy a taste for adventure and commitment to high ideals. Alternatives to Military Service/Michigana military alternatives page that came out if MediaMouse.org that was a leftist blog and news website covering Grand Rapids, Michigan. No longer an active group.
Alternative Ways to Meet Your Goals Without Joining The Military | a military alternatives page by the New York American Civil Liberties Union. Note: This page is in the process of being updated. Please excuse broken links. Enlistment Alternatives | Very well researched links to military enlistment alternatives by Rogue Valley Peace Veterans of Oregon. Categories include: Self Assesment, Apprenticeships, Start Your Own Business, International Volunteer Work/Internship Exchanges, & much more
Safe Passage Network's Alternatives to the Military | Before you consider enlistment, it is important to know of the other options available for you. Alternative Ways to Meet Your Goals Without Joining The Military Non-military Opportunities/Project YANO/San DiegoA military alternative document selection. All are formatted for printing and one document covers the issue of careers in social change.
Project Great Futures/Los Angelesworks to provide Southern California youth with information about alternatives to military enlistment. We look for and promote programs and services which support, affirm, and encourage young people to fulfill their dreams. Youth Activists  - Youth Allies Alternatives Page/New York CityGet A Life...Alternative Ways to Meet Your Goals Without Joining The Military.  A page from the YAYA Network in New York City that focuses on youth activism and educational options for youth at risk.
Youth career alternatives: counter recruitment / Chico Peace & Justice Center | is committed to helping young people find options beside the military for their future. For that reason our counter recruitment group has made this list of scholarships you can apply to online, as well as places you can find more.  

Preparing for School and Jobs

CalApprenticeshipsunion apprenticeship is an excellent career choice if you like to work with your hands; are willing to serve an apprenticeship for up to five years, depending on the trade you select. Campaign for College Opportunity | is to ensure that the next generation of California students has the chance to attend college and succeed in order to keep our workforce strong.
CSUMentoris a website designed to help students and their families learn about the California State University (CSU) system. The CSU is comprised of 23 excellent campuses. EdFund | is the United States' second largest provider of student loan guarantee services under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).
Families in Schools | involve parents and communities in their children’s education to achieve lifelong student success.Families In Schools envisions a public education system where students have all the opportunities and resources necessary to succeed in school and in life.
Foundation for Second Chances, Inc  | offers hands-on education, mentoring, health awareness and community service to maximize the potential of youth including a quality education, nutritious food and exercise, and a safe and nurturing environment.

Public Service Careers

Public Service Careers | The field of public service encompasses professionals in organizations that prevent and fight crime, prepare for emergencies, and respond to accidents and natural and human-caused disasters. In addition to promoting and ensuring the overall well being of the general public, public service careers are also known for step-by-step advancement and promotion opportunities, employment stability, and strong employee benefits. Public Heath Careers Online | The following guide leverages expert interviews, information and resources to better understand the various educational options needed to enter, advance and succeed in the field.  Public health involves medical care provided within a community and outside a hospital setting. Public health can have global repercussions and refer to efforts to prevent epidemics and improve the health of entire nations.

Schools, Scholarships, and Grants

College & Universities Searchis an educational search site by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, and the National Center for Education Statistics.
Trade schools Search | The RWM Vocational School database provides a database of Private Postsecondary Vocational Schools in 50 states. It is organized first by state, then by Training Occupation.

College Affordability Guide | The goal of the CAG site is to provide information that will help prospective students find and complete degrees that might actually move their careers forward and with schools that provide the most affordable costs in achieving that degree. HVACClasses.org | provides information about HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) classes and the instructors who teach them, as well as HVAC specialization, accreditation, and certification on a national basis. HVAC careers have a good to excellent outlook due to green energy initiatives.
GoodCall | integrates data and technology to make finding scholarships easier for students and their families. And, unlike other scholarship search sites, we’re totally free and open – no fee or account sign-up required. View thousands of scholarships, filter results by specific requirements, and even search by competition level and entry difficulty.
Apply for Grants | U.S. Government Grants Application Site | Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation. At the office of Federal Student Aid, our 1,200 employees provide more than $150 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study funds each year to more than 15 million students for college or career school.
Federal Government Pell Grant | A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. The maximum Pell grant for the 2011-12 award year (July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012) is $5,550.The amount depends on your financial need, costs to attend school, status as a full-time or part-time student, and plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.
Federal Work Study Program | provides funds for part-time employment to help needy students to finance the costs of postsecondary education. Students can receive FWS funds at approximately 3,400 participating postsecondary institutions. Hourly wages must not be less than the federal minimum wage.

Start HERE

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

SallieMae College Answer Scholarship Search | is the nation's No. 1 financial services company specializing in education. Celebrating 40 years of making a difference, Sallie Mae continues to turn education dreams into reality for American families, today serving 25 million customers. With products and services including college savings plans,

Scholarships categorized by race and ethnicity| National database of scholarships with this section focusing on grants available to specific ethnicities. Additional information includes search by category. Also lists of student loan application sources, nursing training and funding resources and a top school list.

Scholarships for Averagefrom every walk of life are available. Such scholarship opportunities for average students are changing the face of college campuses which are no longer reserved just for the straight-laced academic.
Scholarships for First GenerationAccess to higher education is an important measure of progress, so families that are sending their first members to college are given special consideration in the form of First in Family Scholarships. 
Scholarship Search Secrets E Book (PDF) Student Scholarship Searchdatabase is considered the largest and most comprehensive source for finding scholarships online and is 100% free for students to use.

Sports Opportunities

Sports Searchis an online sports and live events job match-making engine that connects 2.2 million applicants with the right jobs and 750+ employers with the right candidates, 93% of the time in the last year.
Volunteer Coaching Sports Abroad | Through well-established relationships with local teams, clubs, and carefully structured sports placements, we are able to assist volunteers regardless of coaching experience.

Traveling Opportunities

Appalachian Trail Conference | USA | Over 6000 volunteers contribute more than 200,000 hours each year keeping the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) available for all to use.  Volunteers are active in all aspects of Trail work, from basic maintenance to major projects such as building bridges and shelters and building new sections of the A.T. 
Conservation Volunteers | Australia and New Zealand recruits volunteers from Australia, New Zealand and around the world to join important environmental and wildlife conservation projects. If you'd like to make a difference, please join us.  We'd love your help.
Help Exchange | Worldwide is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.
Habitat for Humanity | U.S./International | Be part of the solution, volunteers mobilized by Habitat for Humanity have participated primarily in construction activities. Today volunteers, while always taking action related to the theme of housing, provide much more.
Kibbutz Volunteer | Israel | Basically there are more jobs to do on a kibbutz than there are people to do them. You will not understand what a good time can be had unless you try it.
Peace Corps | Worldwide | Watch Peace Corps' film short, Be a Volunteer, and learn about the unique experience and benefits of service. Be part of our mission to promote world peace and friendship.
Pueblo Inglés, Spain |  We are always looking for professional, dedicated and above all enthusiastic individuals for different positions to work in a multicultural environment.
Trip Leader for HF Holidays, Europe | Volunteer as a walking holiday leader and experience, enthusiasm and common love of the great outdoors for our walking holidays.
Sea Turtle Conservancy | Experience sustainable travel with a splash of conservation by participating in STC's Eco-Volunteer Adventure in Costa Rica. This fun and educational opportunity blends research with an exotic location to get you involved in protecting endangered sea turtles.
Sea Turtle Restoration Project | To protect and restore endangered sea turtles and marine biodiversity worldwide in ways that incorporate the ecological needs of marine species and the economic needs of local communities, both of which share our common marine environment.
StudyAbroad |  Search our directory of study abroad programs, find scholarships, follow study abroad student bloggers or use our student guide to help you prepare for your study abroad adventure. Sudan Volunteer Programme | is a London based charity dedicated to sending graduates and under-graduates to Sudan to teach English at schools, colleges and Universities.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) | Worldwide programme is the UN organization that contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. WWOOF | (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)link people who want to volunteer on organic farms to learn about organic lifestyles.

Volunteer Opportunities

AVSO-Association of Voluntary Service Organizations | represents all civil society organisations that run local, national or international voluntary service projects at the European level. California Volunteers | is the state office that manages programs and initiatives aimed at increasing the number of Californians engaged in service and volunteering.
Council on International Education Exchange | With the CIEE High School Abroad programs, U.S. high school students  take classes with native students and live with a native host family, which will challenge you to push your own boundaries and immerse yourself in another language and culture. EVS - the European Voluntary Service | This database contains information on all the organisations that are accredited for EVS.  It also informs if the organisation offers possibilities for young people with fewer oppportunities.
Global Crossroads | Since 2003, more than 10,000 world-travelers/volunteers have participated in Global Crossroad's Volunteer Abroad, Mini-Ventures, Adventure Travel, Seasonal Escapes, and to Teach Abroad. Global Volunteers | Travel That Feeds the Soul® Join a volunteer vacation abroad or a USA volunteer program for one to three weeks. Life-affirming service programs for families, groups and individuals.
Independent Volunteers | website is a resource to connect travelers to groups involved in environmental / humanitarian projects. Public Allies' | mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation.
United Nations Online Volunteer Programservice connects volunteers with organizations working for sustainable human development. Volunteers contribute their skills online to help organizations address development challenges. United Nations Volunteerspromotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. Volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development, and it benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer.
Volunteer Abroad  | Cross-Cultural Solutions operates a volunteer programs around the world in partnership with sustainable community initiatives, bringing people together to work side-by-side while sharing perspectives and fostering cultural understanding.

Youth Solidarity Organizations

World Youth AllianceUnited Nations is a global coalition of young people committed to promoting the dignity of the person and building solidarity among youth from developed and developing nations. We train young people to work at the regional and international levels to impact policy and culture. Through this lived experience of the dignity of the person, young people are able to affirm life at all levels of society.
Tear Down the WallsNational Gathering in Tucson, AZ, Nov. 1-3 will bring multiple movements to strategize and network together on how to build a more unified, powerful movement for transformational change in the US. We are working to tear down: Wall Street, the US border and Israeli apartheid walls, prison walls, the Pentagon militarism walls, oppression by race, gender, ethnicity, and personal identity.

You can research non-military options for youth in your area and create a brochure that describes each one and provides contact information as well. If you do, please forward the link to NNOMY at admin+at+nnomy+dot+org so we can refer to it when we develop a more expanded resource on Alternatives by region.

We also have compiled a collection that lists state-by-state what many opportunities are available complete with contact information. CLICK HERE to explore this resource.

Some other ideas include:

  • Host job/career fairs
  • Create and sustain scholarship funds for youth who are considering the military
  • Create and/or support after school programs
  • Ask local businesses and organizations if they are willing to support youth resisting the military by providing internships, job training, jobs, scholarships, mentorships, etc.
  • Host college information sessions (bring college pamphlets, FAFSA forms, students, college reps, class schedules, applications, etc.)
  • Host informational sessions on AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, City Year, etc.
  • Lobby/petition your local government to increase financial aid, institute more job training programs, support job opportunities for young people, get a trade school
  • Alternatives: Materials and Links
  • Finding Alternatives (in development)
  • Creating Alternative Materials (in development)
  • Career Fairs (in development)
  • For Guidance Counselors (in development)
  • For Parents
  • Building Allies (i.e. How To Engage Community Groups Fighting For More Alternatives) (in development)
  • Materials/Training
  • Find A Group


Revised 10/13/2017

For Enlisted Personnel and Veterans

Enlisted Personnel and VeteransAs United States foreign policy increasingly conflicts with the ethical and moral frameworks of its population, enlisted personnel in the military forces find themselves in personal conflicts with their service to the country. The divide between stated military ethical codes and the reality of traininindoctrination and armed conflict situations is causing more psychological than physical injuries as PTSD is on the increase and suicide in the military now exceeds battlefield casualty statistics.

More enlisted personnel in the military are starting to speak out against what they feel are unjust wars that their country is involved in as they experience first hand the atrocities of U.S. military adventures in many theaters of conflict in the world. Some who have participated in what they now see as war crimes and civilian atrocities have used their voices to campaign against the recruitment of youth as they speak in school gatherings about the realities of war.

Many veterans have organized into groups opposing U.S. foreign policy and wars over the years  including those most famous such as Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Iraqi Veterans Against the War, Afghanistan Veterans Against the War, and Veterans for Peace. These groups have been active in seeking redress with their government and the American People on such issues as veteran disabilities, military recruitment, and government policies.

If you are an enlisted person that seeks to find information on how to leave your service due to illness, or a conscience objection claim or are a veteran that seeks union with like minded veterans opposed to U.S. foreign policy, check with these groups for guidance. You will find more resources to inform and to guide your quest below.



  • Sir! No Sir! is a 2005 documentary about the anti-war movement within the ranks of the United States Armed Forces during the Vietnam War.
  • We Are Not Your Soldiers - a project of World Can't Wait

Existing content:

Getting Help (Links To Assistance For AWOLs, Services For Vets Etc)

Books and Literature:



Revised 02/07/2017


The NNOMY Opinion section is a new feature of our articles section. Writing on youth demilitarization issues is quite rare but we have discovered the beginning articles and notes being offered on this subject so we have decided to present them under an opinion category.  The articles presented do not necessarily reflect the views of the NNOMY Steering Committee.

General David Petraeus' rocky first days as a lecturer at the City University of New York Though the United States of America shares with other nations in a history of modern state militarism, the past 65 years following its consolidation as a world military power after World War II, has seen a shift away from previous democratic characterizations of the state.  The last thirty years, with the rise of the neo-conservative Reagan and Bush administrations (2), began the abandonment of moral justifications for democracy building replaced by  bellicose proclamations of the need and right to move towards a national project of global security by preemptive military force .

In the process of global military expansion, the US population has been subjected to an internal re-education to accept the role of the U.S. as consolidating its hegemonic rule internationally in the interest of liberal ideals of wealth creation and protectionism.

The average citizen has slowly come to terms with a stealthly increasing campaign of militarization domestically in media offerings; from television, movies and scripted news networks to reinforce the inevitability of a re-configured society as security state. The effect has begun a transformation of how, as citizens, we undertand our roles and viability as workers and families in relation to this security state. This new order has brought with it a shrinking public common and an increasing privatization of publicly held infrustructure; libraries, health clinics, schools and the expectation of diminished social benefits for the poor and middle-class. The national borders are being militarized as are our domestic police forces in the name of Homeland Security but largely in the interest of business. The rate and expansion of research and development for security industries and the government agencies that fund them, now represent the major growth sector of the U.S.economy. Additionally, as the U.S. economy continually shifts from productive capital to financial capital as the engine of growth for wealth creation and development, the corporate culture has seen its fortunes rise politically and its power over the public sector grow relatively unchallenged by a confused citizenry who are watching their social security and jobs diminishing.

How increasing cultural militarization effects our common future will likely manifest in increased public dissatisfaction with political leadership and economic strictures. Social movements within the peace community, like NNOMY, will need to expand their role of addressing the dangers of  militarists predating youth for military recruitment in school to giving more visibility to the additional dangers of the role of an influential militarized media, violent entertainment and play offerings effecting our youth in formation and a general increase and influence of the military complex in all aspects of our lives. We are confronted with a demand for a greater awareness of the inter-relationships of militarism in the entire landscape of domestic U.S. society.  Where once we could ignore the impacts of U.S. military adventurisms abroad, we are now faced with the transformation of our domestic comfort zone with the impacts of militarism in our day to day lives.

How this warning can be imparted in a meaningful way by a movement seeking to continue with the stated goals of counter-recruitment and public policy activism, and not loose itself in the process, will be the test for those activists, past and future, who take up the call to protect our youth from the cultural violence of militarism.

The "militarization of US culture" category will be an archive of editorials and articles about the increasing dangers we face as a people from those who are invested in the business of war. This page will serve as a resource for the NNOMY community of activists and the movement they represent moving into the future. The arguments presented in this archive will offer important realizations for those who are receptive to NNOMY's message of protecting our youth, and thus our entire society, of the abuses militarism plays upon our hopes for a sustainable and truly democratic society.



The Resources section covers the following topics:

News reports from the groups associated to the NNOMY Network including Social Media.

Reports from counter-recruitment groups and activists from the field. Includes information about action reports at recruiting centers and career fairs, school tabling, and actions in relation to school boards and state legislatures.

David SwansonDavid Swanson is the author of the new book, Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, by Seven Stories Press and of the introduction to The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush by Dennis Kucinich. In addition to cofounding AfterDowningStreet.org, he is the Washington director of Democrats.com and sits on the boards of a number of progressive organizations in Washington, DC.

Charlottesville Right Now: 11-10-11 David Swanson
David Swanson joins Coy to discuss Occupy Charlottesville, protesting Dick Cheney's visit to the University of Virginia, and his new book. -  Listen

Jorge MariscalJorge Mariscal is the grandson of Mexican immigrants and the son of a U.S. Marine who fought in World War II. He served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and currently teaches at the University of California, San Diego.

Matt GuynnMatt Guynn plays the dual role of program director and coordinator for congregational organizing for On Earth Peace, building peace and nonviolence leadership within the 1000+ congregations of the Church of the Brethren across the United States and Puerto Rico. He previously served a co-coordinator of training for Christian Peacemaker Teams, serving as an unarmed accompanier with political refugees in Chiapas, Mexico, and offering or supporting trainings in the US and Mexico.

Rick JahnkowRick Jahnkow works for two San Diego-based anti-militarist organizations, the Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities and the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft. He can be reached at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pat ElderPat Elder was a co-founder of the DC Antiwar Network (DAWN) and a member of the Steering Committee of the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth, (NNOMY).  Pat is currently involved in a national campaign with the Women's International League for Peace & Freedom project, Military Poisons,  investigating on U.S. military base contamination domestically and internationally.  Pat’s work has prominently appeared in NSA documents tracking domestic peace groups.


All Documents:

Pat Elder - National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth

NNOMY periodically participates in or organizes events(e.i. conferences, rallies) with other organizations.

The Counter-recruitment Essentials section of the NNOMY web site covers the issues and actions spanning this type of activism. Bridging the difficult chasms between religious, veteran, educator, student, and community based activism is no small task. In this section you will find information on how to engage in CR activism in your school and community with the support of the knowledge of others who have been working to inform youth considering enlisting in the military. You will also find resources for those already in the military that are looking for some guidance on how to actively resist injustices  as a soldier or how to choose a path as a conscientious objector.

John Judge was a co-founder of the Committee for High School Options and Information on Careers, Education and Self-Improvement (CHOICES) in Washington DC, an organization engaged since 1985 in countering military recruitment in DC area high schools and educating young people about their options with regard to the military. Beginning with the war in Viet Nam, Judge was a life-long anti-war activist and tireless supporter of active-duty soldiers and veterans.


"It is our view that military enlistment puts youth, especially African American youth, at special risk, not only for combat duty, injury and fatality, but for military discipline and less than honorable discharge, which can ruin their chances for employment once they get out. There are other options available to them."

In the 1970's the Selective Service System and the paper draft became unworkable, requiring four induction orders to get one report. Boards  were under siege by anti-war and anti-draft forces, resistance of many kinds was rampant. The lottery system failed to dampen the dissent, since people who knew they were going to be drafted ahead of time became all the more active. Local draft board members quit in such numbers that even I was approached, as a knowledgeable draft counselor to join the board. I refused on the grounds that I could never vote anyone 1-A or eligible to go since I opposed conscription and the war.

At this point the Pentagon decided to replace the paper draft with a poverty draft, based on economic incentive and coercion. It has been working since then to draw in between 200-400,000 enlisted members annually. Soon after, they began to recruit larger numbers of women to "do the jobs men don't want to". Currently recruitment quotas are falling short, especially in Black communities, and reluctant parents are seen as part of the problem. The hidden problem is retention, since the military would have quadrupled by this time at that rate of enlistment, but the percentage who never finish their first time of enlistment drop out at a staggering rate.

I began bringing veterans of the Vietnam War into high schools in Dayton, Ohio in the late 1960s, and have continued since then to expose young people to the realities of military life, the recruiters' false claims and the risks in combat or out. I did it first through Vietnam Veterans Against the War/Winter Soldier Organization, then Dayton Draft & Military Counseling, and since 1985 in DC through C.H.O.I.C.E.S.

The key is to address the broader issues of militarization of the schools and privacy rights for students in community forums and at meetings of the school board and city council. Good counter-recruitment also provides alternatives in the civilian sector to help the poor and people of color, who are the first targets of the poverty draft, to find ways to break into the job market, go to a trade school, join an apprenticeship program, get job skills and placement help, and find money for college without enlisting in the military.

John Judge -- counselor, C.H.O.I.C.E.S.


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Your donation to NNOMY works to balance the military's message in our public schools. Our national network of activists go into schools and inform youth considering military service the risks about military service that recruiters leave out.