SAN FRANCISCO, CA--( September 21, 2016) - On the United Nations International Day of Peace, nonprofit organization Peace First and After School, the largest teen-only social network in the U.S., are launching a partnership to help millions of young people become peacemakers.

“Unfortunately, not enough young people are being called and prepared to be peacemakers. Even though we know that young people are disproportionately affected by violence, all too often they are not asked for their solutions, and rarely do we invest in their ideas. Instead, we continue to think of them as victims, perpetrators, or “the future” rather than powerful agents that can change the world for the better right now,” said Eric Dawson, Peace First Co-Founder and CEO. For twenty-four years, Peace First has prepared young people with the skills and commitments necessary to imagine and implement compassionate solutions to complex community problems. Its award-winning work reaches thousands of young people in all 50 states in the US and in 90 countries around the world.

After School will promote the Peace First Challenge, and share inspiring stories of youth peacemaking beginning on September 21. The Peace First Challenge is a “call to action for young people around the world to identify an injustice they care about and solve it using the tools of compassion, courage, and collaborative leadership, supported by a digital resource center, and mentors to power their ideas.” The challenge is open to youth between the ages of 13-24 years old and will invest through mini-grants to encourage projects and grow their impact. “Fortunately, there is an incredible opportunity through the Peace First Challenge to change this narrative by supporting young people around the world to unleash their moral imaginations and join a movement of peacemakers, starting here in the US,” Dawson stated.

After School has active online communities in over 80% of high schools and millions of users.  The app fosters fun and creative online and offline experiences for America’s teens, and helps connect them with opportunities to make a positive difference in their communities. The app provides these opportunities through active partnerships with leading youth-oriented organizations like Crisis Text Line, DoSomething.org, ConnectSafely, and Youth Service America, and now Peace First.

“Our teen users care about making their communities -- both online and offline -- a better place. We are delighted to work with Peace First to present young people with opportunities to tackle challenging social issues and make positive social change,” said After School’s Jeff Collins. After School’s efforts with partner DoSomething.org have resulted in over 50,000 students participating in social campaigns. The company is expanding partnership efforts to increase involvement in similar programs.

In response to why they’re partnering with After School, Dawson said, “After School has a wide audience of teens who have the ability to make positive change. We’re hopeful that our partnership, along with After School’s mission of activating their users in positive activities, will inspire youth to get involved with peacemaking efforts right now to help create a new cultural norm of peace.”

Peace First is a nonprofit (501(c)(3)) public benefit corporation that prepares young people around the world with the skills and commitments necessary to be powerful peacemakers

After School is a social network that fosters fun and creative online and offline experiences for America’s teens in a positive and safe environment that does not tolerate cyberbullying, threats, or content that threatens the safety of our online community. Millions of students in more than 80% of U.S. high schools, are using After School – making it the largest social network for teens.