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David, 22


David, Massachusetts

Three years ago, David started Project CALL, the first immersive service, dialogue and leadership program for young people in America to engage across lines of difference relating to religion and politics. Project CALL brings together diverse college students, evangelical ministries, and community organizations for weeklong service-learning programs in Harlan, Kentucky, a central Appalachian coalfield county.

By bridging cultural backgrounds, the program is designed to transform polarizing positions into collaborative dialogue across groups. David, who is from Brookline, Massachusetts, remembers his first time in Harlan thinking, “As a Jewish environmentalist, what would I stand to gain from an evangelical Freewill Baptist, politically conservative coal miner? But holding a coal miner’s newborn daughter at eight days old, and knowing the pressure of unemployment and poverty in Appalachia, my understanding of environmental conflict changed dramatically.” To date, Project CALL has worked with over 100 participants and David’s goal is to double the number of students in the next year and to engage thousands more across the country.

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2015 peace first prize winners


brennan projectBrennan Lewis, 18, Apex, NC

Growing up a member of the LGBTQ community in North Carolina, Brennan saw firsthand the difficulties and feelings of isolation that LGBTQ youth can endure in a heteronormative environment. And while Brennan was very fortunate to have a loving support system in their family and friends, they saw others who weren’t as lucky. So with a strong sense of compassion, Brennan and a friend took action and courageously created QueerNC.


grace projectGrace Callwood, 10, Abingdon, MD

Grace is a cancer survivor who learned, through giving away clothing that didn’t fit her post-treatment, that anyone and everyone can help brighten the day of their neighbor. The girls who received Grace’s donation had just moved into a homeless housing complex and were thrilled to be getting new clothes for school. After hearing what a difference her donation made in their day, Grace wanted to help other children who were going through tough times.


jasmine projectJasmine Babers, 19, Rock Island, IL

After watching her best friend and sister endure bullying and witnessing the devastating effects that it can have on them, Jasmine decided it was time someone created an outlet to promote compassion and tolerance among young women.


xiuhtezcatl project 2Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, 15, Boulder, CO

Growing up, Xiuhtezcatl’s father emphasized his obligation to taking care of the land – a privilege and responsibility that, in a world ravaged by climate change, he does not take lightly. He has been on the front lines of the fight for the environment since he was four, attending and leading rallies and summits, always willing to confront adult leaders for the current climate crisis we see today.


yasminearringtonactionphototwoYasmine Arrington, 22, Washington D.C.

2.7 million young people in the US have an incarcerated parent, and statistics show that they are more likely to drop out of high school and go to jail themselves because of it. Yasmine is one of those 2.7 million; she has experienced firsthand the financial and emotional burdens, and the marginalization that a family goes through as a result. And through building a meaningful relationship with her incarcerated parent, by forgiving him, she was motivated to do something to support her peers and help them find their own peace of mind and end this cycle of incarceration.