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WPDI graduates its first cohort of peer mediators at Carnegie Middle School











WPDI along with our collaborators at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) celebrated the graduation of the 17 peer mediators at Carnegie Middle School on May 15, 2018.  Since launching this program in November 2017, the 7th and 8th grade students in the program demonstrate an eagerness to learn, help others, and meet their potential.  The students engaged in a 12-hour training followed by monthly refresher courses to ensure that they are prepared to handle conflicts on campus as referred to them by their counselors.  The students succeeded in mediating 20 conflicts on campus between students.  This showcases the tremendous impact of the program because it enabled the students to resolve their own conflicts, rather than have those situations escalate.

“It was a delight to work with these peer mediators at Carnegie Middle School,” says Monya Kian, WPDI’s Domestic Program Director.  “These students constantly pushed themselves to learn the nuances of peer mediation, and they did an outstanding job promoting peace on campus.”

During the final session, students highlighted the impact of the peer mediation program on their personal lives.  One student mentioned that he was about to be expelled from the school, but thanks to Carnegie’s counselor and principal for referring him to the program, he is now a respected leader who has changed his ways.  Another student mentioned that he was on the path to joining a gang but the program helped him see conflict in a different way, and gave him the tools to help resolve his own conflicts constructively.

"The Carnegie Middle School mediators are an impressive group of young people,” says Karen DeVoogd, CSUDH’s conflict resolution instructor.   “They took the responsibility of helping their classmates very seriously.   In the face of so much turmoil and violence happening in schools, I'm hopeful that the work that these wonderful student leaders are doing will make a difference in promoting peace as a better norm.”

“I am so grateful that these students became peer mediators.  They have grown so much over the course of the past several months and I am so proud of them,” says Carolina Dousdebes, 8th grade counselor at Carnegie Middle School.  “This program has made real, positive changes for these students and their peers.”

Many students highlighted the impact of the program and peer mediation in shaping their personal approach to conflict, and that they will now approach their classmates, friends and family differently.  Adrian, one of the students in the class noted, “I loved this experience.  It was the best part of my 8th grade year.” 

The Domestic Harmonizer Program was created by WPDI and CSUDH and launched at Carnegie Middle School in 2016.  The program is guided by its one-of-a-kind curriculum, which spans all 3 years of middle school and infuses conflict resolution concepts and principles with math, science, social studies, and English. The program emphasizes project-based learning and the use of technology to get students and teachers engaged and excited to problem-solve, communicate, and create.  The program is funded by the Verizon Foundation, whose Verizon Innovative Learning initiative is committed to providing free tech, access and innovative hands-on learning for students who don’t have the technology literacy or access to succeed in this new world. To learn more about Verizon Innovative Learning, please visit  

To hear more from some of the peer mediators at Carnegie Middle School, please view their video testimonials below.