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More About Our Program...

Since 1999,

Our approach is simple:

Provided free of charge,

books on over-coming fear and prejudice, nurturing forgiveness, and related themes are offered to participating students at their request. More than 400,000 copies have been distributed to date. See our resources page for teaching materials. Breaking the Cycle fulfills requirements placed on New York schools by the state’s S.A.V.E. legislation to instruct the entire student body in nonviolent conflict resolution. And recently, our speakers received the Pride of Ulster Award, the highest honor bestowed by that county.

Breaking the Cycle has brought a message of Nonviolent Conflict Resolution through Forgiveness to hundreds of thousands of students across the United States and abroad.

Our speakers tell personal stories of life experiences that demonstrate the positive effects of choosing forgiveness in the face of conflict. Their message emphasizes self-respect and the unique value of each individual. If time allows, the presentation ends with a Q&A session and an opportunity for students and staff to speak with the presenters.


We started in 1999 as a response to the Columbine High School shooting hoping to provide dynamic school assemblies based on conflict resolution through forgiveness.

Johann Christoph Arnold

Johann Christoph Arnold was a lifelong peacemaker, pastor of the Bruderhof, and bestselling author of eight books including Why Forgive? He was born in 1940 but his parents resisted Nazi Germany and consequently fled Europe to settle in South America. In the 1960s, his interest in Civil Rights led him to go south, where he met and marched with Martin Luther King Jr.. Their ensuing friendship impacted the rest of his life.

Steven McDonald

Steven McDonald, a detective with the NYPD, was questioning three youths in Central Park one hot summer day in 1986 when one of them shot him three times, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down, and dependent on a ventilator. He now says that if he had not chosen to forgive his attacker, hatred would have completed what the bullet failed to do. His life is a remarkable journey.

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Breaking the Cycle is a project of the Bruderhof, an international movement of Christian communities. Bruderhof communities, which include both families and single people from a wide range of backgrounds, are located in the United States, England, Germany, Australia, and Paraguay. Visitors are welcome. Learn more about the Bruderhof’s faith, history, and daily life, or find a Bruderhof community near you to arrange a visit.

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