An Interview with Kristen Pinto ‘Perform for Peace’

May 23, 2014

Q. What does “social entrepreneurship” mean to you?

A. Social entrepreneurship means developing creative solutions to pressing social issues.

Q. Tell us about the issue you’re addressing through your initiative (or “commitment to action,” in the terms of the Clinton Global Initiative University.

A. Elementary and middle school kids face bullying everyday. My project, Perform for Peace, aims to interrupt the cycle of violence and raise awareness about bullying.

Q. What exactly does Perform for Peace do?

A. By employing theater as a positive, creative outlet, the Perform for Peace initiative teaches peace skills to middle schoolers. It introduces them to theater around the world, strengthens their reading and writing skills, and equips them with the tools to peacefully address bullying in their schools.

Q. What is Perform for Peace’s goal?

A. The goal is to harness the community-building capacity of theater to inspire and empower potential peacemakers. Standing up to bullying in schools starts by teaching students how to peacefully resolve conflict

Q. What moment or moments inspired you to move from thought to action?

A. Last year through my service with a peacemaking nonprofit, I led a short, 4 week lesson on theater games. We then wrote a skit about how to use peace skills in school. My “Perform for Peace” initiative is inspired by this project. I loved seeing how much the kids enjoyed performing and how they were able to learn from the experience.

Q. How does taking on the responsibility of your own commitment to actionsupport your professional goals?

I am majoring in public health, and violence is a pressing public health threat. My venture supports my professional goals by helping me practice and implement an intervention that helps ameliorate an important issue.

Q. Who has served as a mentor for you in developing Perform for Peace?

A. My mentor and inspiration for this venture is MJ Park, the co-founder and director of Little Friends for Peace, a nonprofit organization in DC that empowers children and adults to employ non-violent conflict resolution to solve their problems and create a culture of peace. MJ inspires me because of her dedication to her vision and her compassion for everyone in the community. She believes that peace needs to be experienced, learned and practiced, and it is such a privilege to help her spread the Little Friends for Peace mission.

Q. How did becoming a Clinton Global Initiative University commitment maker, and attending the annual gathering of 1,100 student social entrepreneurs from around the globe this past March, make a difference for you?

A. It was an incredible opportunity. I was able to network with other students interested in peace and conflict resolution in the DC area. I have been able to connect them with Little Friends for Peace and start potential partnerships. The best part of the conference was hearing about all the different ventures. It was inspiring to hear so many college students talk about their passions and what they aspired to achieve to make a difference.

Q. What’s your next step to roll out your Perform for Peace project?

A. Right now, I am hoping to do a small pilot project over the summer with some peace campers at Little Friends for Peace. If I do not have the opportunity to pursue my venture over the summer, I plan to collaborate with Little Friends for Peace to see if there is a site during the school year to pilot my program.

Q. What would you say to a fellow GW student who was interested in engaging in social entrepreneurship?

A. If you are passionate about something and you have an idea, go for it! There are wonderful students, professors, faculty, and community leaders that will help you every step of the way and who want to see you succeed.


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