For long-time participant AJ, a 16 year old from north Belfast, it’s the people that have been keeping them coming back to programming ever since their first session in Autumn 2014.
This is something AJ values greatly because when they’re not with PeacePlayers, they don’t feel they have the same connection with others. AJ says, “you can say one thing wrong and that’s a whole friend you’ve just lost.” Whereas, with PeacePlayers, “[we] have this unspoken oath to each other that no matter what, we are a family, we have each other’s backs. Even if there’s a slip up, we’re still going to push through; we’re still friends,” said AJ.
That unspoken oath has a lot to do with seeing people as people, PeacePlayers’ core value that means we try to see the humanity in others no matter what.
And for AJ, on top of creating dependable relationships, seeing people as people also impacts how they deal with individual differences – their own included.
AJ is a testament to what can happen when we see people as people. How that supportive environment not only impacts how we interact with each other, but how we see ourselves. To be able to go out into the world and see someone who is different and be excited and curious; to go out into the world as someone different, and have the confidence to create change.