Peace Scholar Award:  PeaceWorks desires to provide assistance and encouragement to young people who care about peace and justice issues. Therefore, a $1,500 award each semester has been established for an exceptional student at Avila University. Avila offers a peace studies class and several related peace and justice courses. Applicants for the award must be taking, or have taken, the peace studies class and preferably other related classes. The selected recepient is the applicant who has best demonstrated interest in peace studies and involvement in peace and justice issues. The recepient agrees to participate in six monthly meetings of the PeaceWorks board and be involved in some PeaceWorks actvities as their time and studies perment.

For more information: Contact Steve Iliff at Avila University, 816/501-3763,; or PeaceWorksKC, 816/561-1181.

"The One Best Book In Peace Education" Reading List

The Kansas City Plant Accountability Project

The Urban Ranger Corps


Peace scholars enhance PeaceWorks’ vision, mission

Victoria Surdyke

By Lu Mountenay

PeaceWorks-KC supports peace education for youth—in the world, in our community, and in personal life. In addition to support for the Urban Ranger Corps and Learning Club of KCKS, we offer one scholarship per semester at Avila University for peace-related course work.

Our Vision
A healthy world
of justice and peace
war and its weapons.

Our Mission
To embody and
empower our core truth—
peace works!

Angelae Alexander

All about our 2015/16 scholarship winners

Victoria Surdyke is a junior at Avila University studying Social Work. She says, “Service has and will always be my passion because it is what fulfills my worth. Service is where my heart is.” She has been a fulltime staff member at the Holy Family House, a Catholic Worker house that serves as a kitchen and home for people in need of food and shelter, but most importantly nurtures community. During the 2015-2106 school year, she will serve as one of the interns of the American Friends Service Committee Kansas City office.

Angelae Alexander finished her academic work at Avila in May 2015. She has been employed fulltime as part of the transplant team at an area hospital. She has had a long involvement with a church in Kansas City, KS, serving in many roles there and learning the value of serving the community in the urban core. She has been active in prison ministry for over 10 years, ministering in prisons in Lansing, Leavenworth, and Topeka. With PeaceWorks, Angelae has already attended a MORE2 dinner and helped with our conflict resolution training for the Urban Ranger Corps.

Anne Kwon wins PeaceWorks Award

Anne Kwon

Congratulations, Anne Kwon! Anne is the new PeaceWorks-KC Peace Scholar, now serving on the PeaceWorks Board in virtue of receiving the award. Kwon graduated in May from Avila University with a baccalaureate in social work.

Kwon participated in Steve Iliff’s Peace Studies course, which led her to interview Ira Harritt of the American Friends Service Committee and protest against war with the 63rd Street Patriots (at 63rd and Ward Parkway each Tuesday afternoon). “My visit to the 63rd Street Patriots made me realize that peacemakers should not only advocate peace in given situations, but also educate others on exactly what peacemaking entails and what each of us can do as an individual,” says Kwon.

Kwon recently became a social work case manager at KVC in Lenexa, Kan. She hopes to use her social work experience and skills in PeaceWorks activities, she says.

PeaceWorks gives a $1,500 award in the spring and fall semesters to students taking peace-and-justice courses at Avila. The award provides students with financial assistance in their peace studies and nurtures their continuing activism beyond graduation.

Samantha Smith wins fall 2012 Peace Scholar Award

by LD Harsin

Samantha Smith

Samantha “Sam” Smith, the fall 2012 recipient of PeaceWorks’ Peace Scholar Award, is an Avila University senior majoring in social work. She chose this profession to “hear the voices of the unheard and to be an advocate in their best interests.” Smith is the student chosen to serve on the Board of the Missouri chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She says she expects this NASW position “will provide an opportunity for relationships with persons rooted in the mission of peace and justice, and to help changes happen in community.”

Smith’s activism includes volunteering with KC’s Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault, MOCSA. In this capacity, she is a crisis responder to newly admitted hospital rape survivors. She purposely chose to serve in an area of Kansas City with a higher volume of rape victims and of more diversity than her home area of Raymore, Mo.

Through PeaceWorks, she hopes to continue her “life’s mission to make the world a better place to live.”

PeaceWorks gives a $1,500 award in the spring and fall semesters to a student taking peace and justice classes at Avila or Park University. The recipient is the candidate who best demonstrates an interest in peace studies and is most active in peace and justice causes. By virtue of receiving the award, the student becomes a participant on the PeaceWorks Board. We are proud to provide financial assistance to such scholars and to nurture their continuing activism beyond graduation.

—LD Harsin of Independence, Mo., a PeaceWorks Board member, coordinates the Peace Scholar Award program.