Impact Grants

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Peer Mediators Community Outreach Project
recipients: Pam Bodnar, Marsh Junior High School, CA
date: 2008

Pam Bodnar, a leader of the Library’s Satellite Seminars, has been the recipient of several mini-grants. For several years she has brought students in the Marsh Junior High School Peer Mediation Program, which is dedicated to promoting peace and respect on campus and in the community, to meet with Holocaust survivors Monique and Jay Frankston. The visits formed part of a larger curriculum aimed at establishing a historical perspective from which to understand social injustice, which in turn helps the mediators to transmit the message to “Speak Up” against injustice to their fellow students. As Bodnar wrote in her grant proposal, “the ultimate challenge of education is to link knowledge to ones’ personal lives. Research indicates that the primary reason for school drop-out is the students’ inability to see any connection between what they are taught and their own lives. Experiencing history through live, first-hand accounts creates a personal and often emotional connection.”

Following their visit with the Frankstons, the peer mediators continue to reach beyond the borders of the classroom to share their messages. They utilize their skills during mediations, presentations, projects and activities with fellow students and in the community. They also continue their effort to promote a safer and healthier local environment through policy change and social activism. Along with an existing bully hotline and email, mediations, and presentations, several of the mediators are members of the Kids Leading Everyone Against Nicotine (K.L.E.A.N) Team. The K.L.E.A.N. team engaged in community cigarette litter clean-ups, performed entryway observations, and spoken in public forums to inform the community and political leaders. Their pen pal program expanded to Nigeria and Rwanda as they continue to learn about different cultures and realize how similar teenagers are around the world. In 2012, the current group of mediators presented at the 2012 CLMS educator’s conference and in the classrooms of their junior high school.

To find out more about Pam Bodnar’s Satellite Seminar Crossing Lines: Seeking Heroes, Finding Resilience, click here.


For more information about The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI), please contact

TOLI is located at 58 East 79th Street in Manhattan. (get directions)