Peaceful Posse is a youth program where students meet approximately once per week to talk about their feelings about life, school, family, stressors, the media, identity, daily challenges, coping tips, and how to respond to various scenarios that come up. Peaceful Posse groups tend to meet with either all boys or all girls. PSR has run Peaceful Posse groups since 1995.
Peaceful Posse operates with the core belief that if/when a person is given a safe outlet to discuss their feelings, then healing can occur and violent behaviors will be minimized. By addressing various topics in the group, youth strengthen their communication skills, identify their feelings, and build relationships with peers and with the group leader.
The relationships between the leader and participants can serve as a mentoring relationship who can offer advice and help to create the safe space. PSR Philadelphia recognizes that it takes timeto build trust and that Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods with different needs and priorities.
Hence groups are tailored to the needs of the participants. Groups traditionally meet for 10 to 30 weeks per cycle, depending on the site. Encouraging youth to express their emotions and notice what comes up helps to prevent violence, promote healthy communication, and foster problem-solving techniques.
“I have watched this group begin to respect each other more and appreciate each other’s point of view. I am particularly impressed with the group’s ability to encourage each other to participate and share their individual ideas.”
— Peaceful Posse Group Leader
“[Peaceful Posse] is having a place where you can close the door and talk. This is our group and our group leaders really listen to what we have to say.”
— Peaceful Posse Girls Group Participant