Melanie Stanek, San Diego Site Director for Hands of Peace
Hands of Peace (HOP) seeks to empower young people to find and raise their voice as agents of change. San Diego Site Director Melanie Stanek, our speaker at the September 22, 2022 meeting, explained how HOP brings together Palestinian, Israeli and American teenagers between 15 and 17 years-old for intensive summer programs held in San Diego and Chicago. During the summer program, the participants engage in daily dialogue sessions about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that are moderated by professional facilitators, take part in team building and leadership exercises, as well as educational and cultural activities. They also have free time with members of the group and the HOP community. HOP youth who do not live in the San Diego area are hosted by volunteer host families. The program also involves around 200 volunteers during the program and throughout the year. 
HOP has a strong connection to Rotary. Multiple clubs in District 5340 have worked with HOP, which has received District Grant funding in recent years. There are multiple ways to get involved in HOP, including being a host family, encouraging local youth to apply to participate, volunteering time, and donating funds. On September 28, 5:30-7PM, HOP will hold a Community Circle featuring alumni of the HOP program at the Encinitas Community Center. Visit to register.