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'Breaking the Cycle' and Choosing Forgiveness

Students and faculty at South Kent School learned that forgiveness is not an occasional act, but rather a permanent attitude at an all school assembly presented by Breaking The Cycle on Tuesday, February 5, 2013.

Breaking the Cycle, a non-profit organization, aims to stem the tide of violence by working toward its prevention. The award-winning program stresses honest communication and forgiveness as a way of resolving conflicts and easing the tensions that linger afterward.

Guest speakers included J. Christoph Arnold, author and lifelong peacemaker, Mr. Ian Winter, director of the program and Mr. Hashim Garrett, a motivational and educational speaker, founder of 'Wisdom and Understanding LLC.', a conflict resolution life enhancement organization, and a victim of violence.

Garrett talked about how at the age of 15 he was gunned down as result of gang violence by another teenager on the streets of Brooklyn, NY. He shared intimate details about his young years at home, his behavior on the streets, what it felt like to be shot, his intense anger, and the choice he made to forgive.

“Forgiveness has changed my life,” Garret said. “When you forgive it is not for the other person, it is for yourself – to help yourself,” he added. “You will accomplish great things in this world if you forgive. Forgiveness is a gift."

Breaking the Cycle brings its message to tens of thousands of teens each year. It underscores the efforts of principals, teachers, and law enforcement, to counteract school violence proactively addressing its most common roots: bullying, peer pressure, gossip, racism, and other forms of intolerance.

As part of the program, students and faculty were given books on over-coming fear and prejudice, nurturing forgiveness and related themes.

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