Meet Iran Nazario, native of Hartford, CT and Founder and President of the Peace Center of Connecticut, Inc. Nazario’s early life, however, was anything but peaceful. The trauma Nazario endured began before he was even born. During pregnancy, Iran’s mother suffered domestic abuse at the hands of his father. Iran was born into a life of drugs, abuse, neglect and gangs. Inevitably, his home life led to placement in foster care.

After bouncing back and forth between the foster care system and his biological family, Nazario ended up living on the streets of Hartford at the tender age of twelve. He dropped out of school and tragically, having been taught to use violence as a weapon, he served time in prison for domestic and other violent crimes. Nazario was caught in the perpetual cycle of the violence and crime he had known all his life until the intervention of Mike Borrero, a professor at UCONN, who encouraged Iran to tell his story, talk about his path and speak up about his life experiences.

Because of his relationship with Professor Borrero and his experience telling his story, Nazario found the organization COMPASS Youth Collaborative, where he developed his passion for helping others, specifically supporting at risk youth.

Nazario began to think, breathe, and lay down tracks on his journey to the peace he so desperately craved. Along the way he developed as a leader, was empowered by others, and built important relationships with people who supported his growth and goals. In 2016, he founded the Peace Center of Connecticut. It’s mission is to engage partners and take action to achieve peace in the community.

Iran’s story is one of overcoming the odds and prevailing in the face of obstacles, but if anyone can relate to the anger and frustrations that can affect our youth in foster care, it is Nazario. Like many of our youth in foster care, Nazario was faced with a life of violence, born into it and destined to perpetuate it. But Iran choose a different path, with the help of a village. Nazario is now working to build that village for others and it is why he has been a longtime community partner of IPPI. Nazario wholeheartedly supports foster care awareness, collaborating with members of the IPPI permanency team to spread the word about the need for supportive foster care.

Don’t miss the Peace Center’s annual Peace Hero Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 25, 2019 at Pond House Café in West Hartford. Join Iran and learn more about the work he is doing to build community, promote peace, and lift up the everyday heroes who are transforming our communities.

Visit the Peace Center’s website and Facebook page.