Peacebuilders, a branch of COMPASS Youth Collaborative in Hartford, works to reduce violence by connecting potentially violent and aggressive youth to formal systems and positive opportunities. Through conflict mediation, crisis intervention, and other counseling services, Peacebuilders helps rebuild the lives of this vulnerable population.

Immanuel’s interest in Peacebuilders began after Sandy Hook, when a number of members of the congregation were searching for ways to impact violence and gun violence in our city. We contacted Iran Nazario and asked him to speak with a core group of congregants. We were so inspired by Iran that we then invited him to address the whole church in a post-worship second hour talk.

Iran impressed us with his story and his vision and dedication to his work. He not only spoke to the adults but he also spent the worship hour in a special session with our youth – engaging them with stories and role playing in a way that was potent and memorable and spurred them to try to think of ways they could have an impact working for non-violence.

We have supported the work of Peacebuilders with monetary donations and technical assistance in grant writing. Immanuel hosts the training of Junior Peacebuilders who meet three days a week to learn how to promote nonviolent responses. Social Action and Mission Committee continues to seek ways both to support this work as well as to collaborate with Peacebuilders in developing our South Marshall Street relationships and finding ways for our youth to connect with this work.

For more information, visit or contact Immanuel members Terri Williams or Jim Boucher.