Can you imagine forgiving the person who fatally shot your son? Could you get far enough through your grief to realize that there are victims on both sides of the gun? Would you call up the killer’s family and create a foundation with them to keep kids from killing other kids?
That’s how the Tariq Khamisa Foundation (TKF) came about. TKF was founded after 14-year-old Tony Hicks murdered 20-year-old Tariq Khamisa. Both of their families came together in the spirit of healing to launch TKF in 1995. The mission of the foundation is to create safer schools and communities by educating and inspiring children in the restorative principles of accountability, compassion, forgiveness and peacemaking.
The foundation has developed the TKF Safe School Model of programs for teaching children a peaceful approach to problem solving, reconciliation, conflict management and relationship building. TKF makes a solid, positive impression on young people through a variety of in-school programs:
- Peacemaker Assembly — Using video and open discussion, TKF presenters tell the real-life story about the consequences of violence, the importance of accountability and the real-life benefits of restorative practices.
- Restorative Workshops — In a series of ten 45-minute sessions, children learn to be mindful, manage emotions, be accountable for their actions, make amends and practice compassion and forgiveness. The curriculum meets educational standards for character building, social competency and personal safety.
- Peace Educator Mentoring — Hired mentors work on school campuses to assist and support the most vulnerable students with individualized attention and guidance. Mentoring is focused on peacemaking, behavior management and mediation to prevent misconduct. Interventions promote advocacy, educational assistance, life skills and positive school engagement.
- TKF Peace Clubs — Peace Clubs are customized, extra-curricular programs designed to develop youth leadership. Club activities emphasize the educational strategies of achieving inner peace, building collaborative relationships and making a difference in school and community.
- Training Institute — TKF offers several types of training, including Professional Development for school staff, Restorative Circles to promote community building and Restorative Parenting Workshop as a five-session educational series.
That’s a long way back from the depths of grief in which the Khamisa and Hicks families found themselves.
Through its programs and presentations, TKF has reached more than a half-million students and counting. Its mission of relationship building and violence intervention fits squarely with the goals of San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention. We’re honored to have TKF as a member of our coalition.