Click on the videos below to hear straight from youth at the beginning of their Hands of Peace experience.

“Hands of Peace taught me to truly listen, not just to others but also to what is important to me. As an outcome I became someone who is curious about life and wanting to learn more. My Hands experience taught me three main things. One, that I should always speak my mind because it can lead to something so valuable. Two, that I need to be open minded towards new ideas because everybody’s ideas and opinions can add up to a much bigger solution. And three, to never judge a book by its cover because you may encounter new friends along the way that can have a huge impact on who you are and what you believe, and if you were to judge them by appearance or opinion you never would have accepted them into your life to get to learn what they have to teach you.”

“After 2 years with Hands of Peace I am more responsible and a better leader, I think with Hands of Peace training and what they give me. I can manage leadership better now and I can be in charge in a better way then I was before the program and also I am more understanding and more respectful to others and more happy to participate in this beautiful program.”

“I define my life before Hands of Peace and after Hands of Peace. This was the most profound experience I have had. After Hands of Peace everything that I did was different in a way because I had that small change in me so once you know you cannot ignore.”

“I have learned to differentiate between the political opinions of a person and their character. And understand that more often than not there is very little connection that no matter how different a person may think from me most of the day they are still doing the same things that I am and 95% of the time even if they totally think different from me politically, they are just a normal human like me and that is probably the most critical lesson that Hands of Peace teaches.”

“Here I am at Hands of Peace. I was nervous. Would I make friends? Would we get anywhere in dialogue? Is peace even in the picture? With 9,476 km separating my home town from Israel/Palestine the conflict was not a focus of my everyday life. I felt nothing but vulnerability and comfort as I shared a part of my story in a small circle to Israelis, Palestinians and Americans I didn’t even know existed three weeks ago. This moment in time captured the pureness – the good of what Hands of Peace is and does. Even through the complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict at that moment I never felt peace and acceptance being so close.”

“To this day, the experiences I went through in Hands of Peace majorly shape the way I see the conflict and look at issues regarding the conflict. I will forever see those issues first and foremost as issues of relations between human beings.”

“Hands of Peace for me is a challenge and opportunity to grow, but most importantly to raise my voice for the people that their voices are not being heard.”

“I was a little bit nervous because I didn’t really know what to expect of these people from a place I thought were so foreign from where I’m from but once I got into dialogue and was really sitting face to face with Israelis and Palestinians and fellow San Diegans for 3 hours a day I realized that there is something innately human and compassionate in all of us no matter where we are from and I think that all of us learned really valuable skills in leadership that we have all applied in our respective communities and will continue to apply for the rest of our lives!”

“My truth was really this is the right truth, and then I came to Hands of Peace  and heard no no no this is the right truth and it was really powerful for me because at the start it was hard for me to get it because all your life you are living kind of a lie  because you really heard things that you never hear about you – hear other stories and other opinions. It was really hard to handle all these emotions at once. After I really got to know the other people and really start to hear and not just to listen but to hear the other side. After this happened I really became more open and more understanding and try to seek something that will help us.”

“After the last dialogue I am so happy that I got to experience this conflict from someone else’s’ eyes and perspective. Hands of Peace has shown me that I need to be more aware to the different realities and be more curious about what is happening around me. It made me understand that I should never take anything for granted. These last 3 weeks were really impactful and meaningful for me. I could not be more pleased and happy with my decision to come here and more grateful for the opportunity given to me to be part of this organization.”

“Now I feel deeply blessed to be part of Hands of Peace Summer Program this year. The experiences that got from the dialogues and team trust activities such as the ropes course altered my mind and heart in ways I could never have imagined were possible.”