Tisha Marina Bernard, Founder and Creative Director

Who I am:
I am the founder of the I Choose Peace Academy, whose educational mission is to empower young leaders with the courage, compassion, and leadership skills to create peace within themselves and their peers. As a bully prevention specialist, I have worked with hundreds of schools across the nation to help create a safe school environment. I am honored to be the the recipient of the 2009 Season for Non-Violence Local Hero Award from the Common Peace Center for the Advancement of Non-Violence. A professional hoop dance performer and featured artist in the documentary The Hooping Life, I use hoops and dance education as a vehicle for social change. 

My personal mission:
To serve youth, families and communities with tools for non-violent conflict resolution and inner peace; create and lead youth programs to promote emotional and physical health; expand awareness and collective action regarding social justice issues within all levels of communities through empowered youth and families. My motto, my academy and personal life mission is to CHOOSE PEACE.

I Choose Peace mission:  A global movement engaging young leaders with the courage, compassion, and leadership skills to peacefully end bullying and mistreatment through personal demonstrations of peace and action.

Why I do what I do:
I was bullied growing up. I know what it is like to lay awake all night worried about what might happen at school the next day. I know that gut wrenching feeling. Who was going to make fun of me? Where should I go if I have no one to sit with? I know what it feels like to lose all hope. I remember wanting to keep it inside and not tell my parents. Then one day, I saw another student being bullied and watched her cry. I didn’t know what to do, yet felt bad for not doing anything at all. It was from that day forward I vowed to do everything I could to not let myself and others be mistreated unfairly. Thus, I Choose Peace Academy was created with the hope that through tools and practices for peace, collectively we could be part of the solution. I do what I do because I strongly believe ALL human beings deserve to know they are important, valuable and loved.

If we are to teach real peace in this world, we shall have to begin with the children.
—   Mahatma Gandhi