Saturday, October 17, 2009

Seton HS Girls Come to the Peace Room at Perry for their “Urban Plunge Project”

This morning, 3 girls from Seton High School arrived at LFFP’s Perry site with their teacher to plunge into peacemaking in the Perry community. They were most eager to engage in direct service and to learn about the Peace Room and the peace we teach throughout the Sursum Corda neighborhood.

First, we gave them an overview of the program and shared a bit about the mission of LFFP and the creation of the Peace Room at Perry. We shared with them about the children, their backgrounds and their experiences of peace and unpeace, as well as our LFFP approach and our goal of helping the children experience peace, meet peacemakers and learn about the Peace Train and other instruments of peace. Most of all, we shared with them how we want to empower the kids to use the Peace Train steps in their neighborhood, school and family.
Then we went over to the Sursum Corda neighborhood where they met Ann and saw her inspiring picture walls adorned with images of her many children, whom she has welcoming, helped, sheltered and loved. The girls were moved by it all.

After that, we went back over to Perry with the neighborhood kids who were so excited to have their new “tutors.” We grouped into the “Peace Circle,” recited the “Peace Pledge,” sang a few songs and then we did our Check-In, talking about what is bringing us peace and what is taking peace away. The children shared that having the girls visit, coming to the Peace Room, and doing art together was what was bringing them peace today. They also shared that the rain and not always having a warm Peace Room to go into was what was taking away their peace. The Seton girls shared that engaging with LFFP and being with the children was bringing them peace today. Everyone then divided into projects, some making a peace tree with leaves inscribed with peacebuilding actions, while others made a pumpkin bog, arranging pumpkins around it while discussing how they were going to bring light to the world.

Then, we were pleasantly surprised when 5 more Seton High School girls showed up with their teacher and said the project they were assigned to didn't have enough work for them. So we welcomed them, gave an orientation, and walked them over to Ann’s house so they could get the feel of the neighborhood, while the other group stayed with Jerry in the Peace Room. We concluded the day as one big group playing cooperative games, passing the Earth Ball and circling up for check-out.

All of the girls expressed that they were moved, on fire and ready to come back. The children too could not stop talking about how they want to come back to the Peace Room every day, as they proclaimed, “We love the Peace Room!” We are so grateful that one of the teachers also wants to come back, and is planning to return this Thursday to bring snacks and help with math during afterschool home work time, and that one of the girls who has volunteered with us before is interested in becoming a summer intern. It was a super special service-learning day: a real “Urban Plunge!”

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