Promoting Peace

Written by Ben Swick

On September 19, the UD ECHO program facilitated a retreat with their student group called the “Peacemakers” at Ascension Church in Dayton, Ohio. The Peacemakers consist of sixty-four 7th and 8th grade students from local Catholic schools who were chosen by their peers as leaders and role models.  All through the school year the Peacemakers serve as agents for social justice, work on service projects, and promote peace among students in their school and throughout the community.  The retreat was lead by Rhonda Mercs and Amy Theodor, along with other ECHO clinical counselors and social workers, PULSE volunteer Hannah Sablan, and several teachers from the Catholic schools.

 The purpose of the retreat was to prepare for International Day of Peace on Thursday, September 21 and it was celebrated by seven Catholic schools in the Dayton area.  The International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations in 1981 as a day to celebrate and promote peace. The Peacemakers celebrated and fostered peace in their schools in many different ways. While on this retreat, they created peace cranes with origami, made signs promoting peace to hang in their schools, took the peace pledge, made peace buttons and peace pinwheels, and learned a dance to the song “Happy” so they can perform a flash mob dance in their school cafeterias and promote peace with the student body.

 Rhonda Mercs, ECHO director, emphasized the fact that peace is not only to be celebrated and promoted on International Day of Peace, but rather every day of the year. The Peacemakers do this daily by performing small acts of kindness such as peer mediation, sitting with someone who is alone at lunch, or simply talking to someone who needs a friend. The world can learn a lot from these young students who put aside their differences by looking at the bigger picture. To see the full interview from WDTN Channel 2 with Rhonda Mercs, follow the link below.

Link: http://wdtn.com/2017/09/20/local-university-celebrates-international-peace-day/

 Other school peace events include:

 -- At Ascension School the Peacemaker students created posters with messages to promote peace and hung them in their school to celebrate International Peace Day.

 -- At St. Anthony the Peacemakers read several quotes/prayers promoting peace over the announcements, as well as distributing Peace coloring sheets to the lower grades. Further, they spent time with grades K-2 reading "Mrs. Fox's Peace Week." and did a flash mob dance. The school also conducted a penny drive service project for survivors of Hurricane Harvey; they raised $123.57.

 -- At Our Lady of the Rosary, Mother Brunner, Holy Angels (Dayton), and Immaculate Conception Schools’ Peacemakers performed a flash mob for the student body.

-- At St. Albert School the Peacemakers joined with the student body to create a giant peace symbol in their school.

Edited by Barb Miller

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