leader takes helm
at Indianapolis Peace House
She’s energized a large and successful team of community and college
volunteers to convince 1,200 inner-city youngsters how to solve their
problems without violence. She’s investigated crimes against South
African children. She’s a mentor, a leader, an attorney, a peacemaker …
and the new executive director of Indianapolis Peace House, an
undergraduate residency in peace studies.
Overdyck of the University of Notre Dame is the choice of the Plowshares
consortium of Indiana’s three historic peace colleges – Manchester,
Earlham and Goshen colleges, said board Chair Jo Young Switzer,
president of Manchester College. She will take her office in the
historic “Old Centrum” in downtown Indianapolis on Jan. 2.
Overdyck coordinates a project for the University of Notre Dame that
serves more than 1,200 inner-city children – partnering more than 120
college students and community volunteers to break the cycle of violence
and promote non-violent conflict resolution in South Bend schools.
During her four years with the Take Ten program, the volunteer team has
quadrupled and youth participation has increased 15-fold.
Her mentoring, programming and leadership experience are a perfect fit
for Peace House, where undergraduate students learn from community
organizers, teachers, political leaders, artists,
conflict-transformation professionals and others engaged in community
building and peacemaking.
"I am excited to be part of a program that will provide students with an
inner-city experience,” said Overdyck. “They will take what they learn
in Indianapolis back to their colleges and communities, where they will
continue to make a difference."
Overdyck’s professional journey is distinctive. For 13 years, she
investigated crimes against children for the South African Police
Service. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and private
and Roman Dutch law from University of Cape Town and a master’s degree
in international peace studies with a concentration in international
human rights law from Notre Dame.
“With a director whose own life journey has
been so purposeful, Peace House students will have extraordinary
learning opportunities,” said Switzer. “Her work with college students
has been so effective that we are eager for her involvement with
recruitment for college and university students at Peace House.”
Undergraduates studying any major from any U.S. college or university
are invited to apply for a semester or nine-week summer session at
Indianapolis Peace House. Students complete individual internships in
inner-city Indianapolis, study urban peace and social justice, education
and structural change, and live in a downtown residence. Peace House
students have contributed more than 14,000 hours of community service to
Indianapolis Peace House, at 1421 Central Ave., is in the fourth year of
a five-year of a Plowshares program funded by Lilly Endowment Inc.
Overdyck also will lead development of a comprehensive plan for moving
Peace house toward sustainable independence after the Endowment grant
expires in June 2008.
For more about Indianapolis Peace House, call
317-631-7322 or visit www.plowsharesproject.org/php/peacehouse.