Peaceful Conflict Resolution/Peace Education Project
Phone: (716) 884-0582, (716) 931-3520
Peace-Justice-Nonviolence Festival & Walk, 9-11-16
We had a wonderful turnout of more than 600 participants at our 3rd annual Peace-Justice-Nonviolence Festival on September 11th! The summer air at Canalside was filled with joy, camaraderie, and excitement.
Thank you for all of those who helped to make our event a success. If you missed out this year, make sure to catch our walk in 2017!
For more info, you can also go to:
Meanwhile, the movement-building continues – for a just, nonviolent and peaceful community and world. Together we can make it happen – si, se puede!
“PATHWAYS TO PEACE”
Camp Peaceprints 2016 Report
St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, 2253 Main Street, Buffalo
July 18 – 29, 2016
The ninth annual Camp Peaceprints, put together by the Interfaith Peace Network, the SSJ Sister Karen Klimczak Center for Nonviolence, and the WNY Peace Center, was a rousing success. The Camp, for youth ages 8 to 13, provided exposure to a diverse community while introducing and exploring communication, social justice issues, and peaceful conflict resolution. Our focus on “Pathways to Peace” – or the various religions and life-ways – was very well-received and fruitful. It was our best camp yet!
Some 50 children and youth attended the camp, both as campers and youth assistants. Their feedback included that they “liked” or “loved” the Camp, learned “how to get along with each other,” and wished that “Camp would last forever.” One of the moms said, “It was a very enriching experience for the kids. They learned so much, especially from the sign language, and being around other cultures. They were very excited every day and would go again in a minute!”
Nurturing male role models were a particular strength of the camp this year. Our first group of Young Neighbors in Action (coming all the way from the Diocese of Sacramento, California!) were all young men, with two wonderful male advisors. They were called upon to nurture the campers, and to be models of gentleness and peaceful conflict resolution. Their tremendous success in and great appreciation for such a role, in this fairly “macho” society, was exciting to campers and staff alike, and encouraged similar behavior, especially in the boy campers. Positive male role-modeling was further accentuated by the two volunteers who came as part of the Foster Grandparent Program of Catholic Charities.
This year’s special focus on pathways to peace included learning about and celebrating different faith traditions and their common themes of peace, justice, sharing, and love. Indigenous life-ways, the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and Eastern faiths (Hinduism and Buddhism), were all covered by wonderful guest presenters – activists and artists from the Buffalo area.
We began camp with a welcome and traditional thanks-giving from an Indigenous (Tuskaroran) woman, Jill Yagwaneest Clause. Our guest speakers also included a young Muslim film-maker and activist, an Episcopalian priest, a City Commissioner, an Imam, and a Buddhist monk – all peaceful, gentle, and accessible men. The strength of a compassionate nature was emphasized by all.
Our art projects were once again led by Janice Burns, artist, art teacher, and director of the Motivational Counseling program of ECCPASA, and included gift bags for homeless people that were left at the Homeless Jesus statue by St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral on our second week’s field trip.
We also created artworks made of and left in nature at Tifft Nature Preserve on our first week’s field trip. A giant colorful Peace Dove was fashioned of puzzle pieces decorated with symbols and words representing what each camper had learned at Camp Peaceprints.
Our field trip to a local mosque was covered by Channel 4 for working for interfaith appreciation and against Islamophobia. Back at the school students from St. Mary’s taught us some American Sign Language. The intensity of affection, and determination to cross the language barrier to communicate, was powerful. They also joined us in a drum circle.
Our youth assistants from Young Neighbors in Action for the second week were young Catholic women from Milford, Massachusetts. They took over smoothly from our first group of young men from California, leading the campers in games and recreation, including swimming at Buffalo State College. Throughout the two weeks, adult volunteer Deidra EmEl was a calming presence and a big help with the camp program.
Campers learned and practiced listening, expressing themselves, cooperating, dealing with feelings, and problem-solving. At Camp Peaceprints 2016 creativity was encouraged and celebrated, and Nonviolence was explored in real and powerful ways. As we sang in the Peaceprints song, we learned together to “follow the way of love.”
Many thanks to the Network of Religious Communities, St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, WAVE (Women Against Violence Everywhere), St. Columba-Brigid RCC, the Presbytery of WNY, University Presbyterian Church, the Peace Education Fund, the Sisters of St. Joseph, and all others who gave of their resources to make Camp Peaceprints 2016 a life-changing experience for all!