Peace

Beginning In the Right Direction - B.I.R.D. Ministries

One summer morning in 2001, Linda Bird got a phone call asking if she’d be willing to go into the Lancaster County Prison and teach a parenting class for women incarcerated there. Linda agreed to do the class, even though she had no idea what to expect . . .

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Rest

Three russet leaves rattle on a dogwood branch in my neighbor’s back yard, holding fast against the late-autumn wind. Chattering wrens, sparrows and chickadees fatten their tiny bodies at the birdfeeder outside my kitchen window. Squirrels leap from treetop to rooftop to earth and back again, gathering acorns to stash in their wild, oversized nests high in the bare branches. The sage and lavender in my garden have cast their final tender blooms to the ground and curled leaves around stems in a protective pose. Even the once-bright blooms of hardy mums have dropped their ruffled heads in surrender. The dawn arrives later and dusk falls earlier. It is December . . .

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Six Reasons to Take Kids Holiday Shopping (at GTGH)

While you might typically be inclined to leave the kids (or grandkids) at home while you do your holiday shopping, the Gifts That Give Hope (GTGH) Alternative Gift Fair is different. Here are six great reasons to bring children or grandchildren along to GTGH . . .

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Restorative Justice in Schools - Lancaster Catholic High School - Part 2

Adrienne Howe, the new Director of Restorative Justice at Lancaster Catholic High School, knows a lot about the importance of “second chances.” For six years before taking this new position at LCHS, Adrienne worked for Lancaster County Adult Probation and Parole, helping people coming out of prison to get out of the cycle of crime and incarceration to become successful . . .

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Restorative Justice in Schools - Lancaster Catholic High School

“Restorative justice is what made me a high school principal,” Tom Fertal tells me. I am, in fact, sitting in the principal’s office (something I haven’t done in a VERY long time!) . . .

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Saturday in the City - The Alley Garden

I spent much of last Saturday wandering the narrow and often-fascinating alleys around the city. Down a narrow alley in the southeast part of the city, off of Shippen Street, I found a group of neighbors involved in a clean-up day in their communal “Alley Garden” . . .

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Points of Pride - Lafayette Elementary School

Wanda Suarez, principal of Lafayette Elementary School in Lancaster city, beams as she shows me the numerous awards the school has received. They’re all displayed in the school’s new entrance lobby. And Lafayette has just received another one: they are the first urban school in the United States to become a “Certified Olweus School,” for their comprehensive implementation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP), and one of only four schools in the US to have achieved this distinction . . .

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A Whole Lotta TLC

Frank was once “a respectable college-educated former Marine, and business owner with a beautiful, caring wife, three wonderful children, and three beautiful grandchildren.” But after decades of battling alcoholism, he wound up “a penniless, homeless, unemployable drunk.” These are Frank’s own descriptions of his life, in a letter he wrote to the staff of the Transitional Living Center after he successfully completed their “homelessness to housing” program and moved into his own apartment . . .

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The NOW Generation of Peacemakers

I spent last evening with 15 long-time community activists and peacemakers. Men and women from right here in Lancaster County who have been involved for years in a variety of causes, from environmental issues to global peacemaking to matters of social justice. All are in the “second half of life” and have already had long careers as lawyers, teachers, healthcare workers, business people, and other professions . . .

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The Next Generation of Peacemakers

I spent yesterday with 29 new recruits for Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). Fifteen women and fourteen men from Alaska, California, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ireland and Germany . . .

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Gifts That Give Hope - Part 4

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
~ Margaret Mead, anthropologist (1901 – 1978)

The list of terrific non-profit organizations participating in this year’s Gifts That Give Hope alternative gift fair goes on . . .

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Gifts That Give Hope - Part 3

Three months from today is . . . CHRISTMAS! Only 91 shopping days left. Luckily, there’s a fantastic alternative to the mall madness that’s called “Gifts That Give Hope” . . .

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Gifts That Give Hope - Part 2

In a previous post, I introduced Gifts That Give Hope and some of the organizations involved in this year’s event. This post introduces several more of the organizations that will be part of the 2011 GTGH fair . . .

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Profound Reconciliation

On this anniversary, a powerful message from two mothers . . .

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Gifts That Give Hope

Regular readers of my blog know that I often write about people and organizations who dedicate themselves to making a positive difference in the world, creating peaceful, healthy, strong and sustainable communities – whether by promoting peace and justice, respect for diversity, environmental sustainability, high quality education or equal access to basic human needs like nutritious food, clean drinking water and safe shelter.

Well, on Sunday, November 20, 2011, thirty such organizations will be gathered under one roof . . .

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Restorative Justice in Lancaster County - LAVORP at Work

I’m going to wrap up this multi-post series on restorative justice in action with another LAVORP story . . . and a call to action. First, the story . . .

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Back to School - Part 3 - Peer Mediation in Schools

Back in 1989, Frank Albrecht taught phys ed and health at J. P. McCaskey High School in Lancaster, PA. He’d been at McCaskey for four years, and enjoyed teaching students about healthy living and physical fitness. Then, one afternoon after school, five of his students had a fight. One of them was stabbed, nearly fatally, in the heart . . .

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Restorative Justice in the Community

My last few posts have focused on how schools address situations where students violate rules and cause harm in the school setting, and I’ll be writing more on that subject in the coming weeks. But what about situations where young people violate rules or laws and cause harm in our neighborhoods and communities? . . .

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Back to School - Part 2 - Restorative Justice in Schools

A fight broke out in the middle of the hallway at a Lancaster area school. Two teenage boys – one black, one white – threw punches and hurled racial slurs at each other . . .

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Living Lighter

Today’s brilliant blue skies and cool breezes are sure signs that autumn’s right around the corner. You can almost smell September in the evening air. And as the sun settles over the rooftops on the other side of the street, the whirr of locusts is replaced by the gentler rhythms of cricket song. I love the sound of it . . .

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Lancaster City Culture - Fulton Youtheatre

Among Ruth’s memorabilia are dozens of theater programs, playbills and ticket stubs from theaters in Philadelphia, New York, London, Edinburgh, Barcelona and other major cities around the world, as well as from F&M’s Green Room Theatre and the Fulton Opera House right here in Lancaster. Ruth clearly enjoyed theater – all kinds of theater from opera to Broadway, from comedy to musicals to drama.

I have a hunch she would have really loved the upcoming production of For We Were Strangers In The Land by Fulton’s Youtheatre . . .

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People. Stories.

“My sister’s voice was like mountain water in a silver pitcher…” Scott Feifer read aloud the opening lines of “Silver Water,” a short story by Amy Bloom, as forty people listened and followed along on printed copies of the story. The listeners were suburban school teachers, teen boys from a residential treatment program, middle-aged moms, former gang members, young women recovering from addiction, business professionals, high school dropouts and people with Master’s degrees . . .

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Little Wads of Beauty

One of my dearest, long-time friends, Marion, has an amazing gift for seeing beauty and possibilities in things many people would overlook. She’s expert at fashioning something wonderful out of odds and ends, scraps and remnants. A mutual friend calls Marion’s creations “little wads of beauty.” But it’s occurred to me that Marion’s “little wads of beauty” are really outward evidence of a manner of living . . .

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A Tiny Slip of Blue Paper

June has been a “travelin’ month,” including trips to North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and, most recently, Maryland, to help with orientation for a new group of volunteers with Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). Now, I know lots of you who follow my blog know all about BVS, served as BVS volunteers yourselves and have your own stories to tell. But for those who don’t know about BVS, I thought I’d try to give you a little glimpse of what it’s all about . . .

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Standing on the Shoulders of Women Peacemakers

Fifty years ago today, on Monday, June 5, 1961, eighteen year-old Shirley Thompson, of New Orleans, was getting ready to take a trip. She was a student at George Washington Carver High School. The next day, she would board a Trailways bus bound for . . .

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