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Featured Sites

PeacePartners, Inc. honors our valued partners by celebrating their passion for peace, their creative ideas, and the wonderful implementation strategies they incorporate.

As we continue to support our partners, it is our privilege to showcase PeaceBuilders sites. Don't just take our word for it. Read about some featured sites as they explored their problems, developed their PeaceBuilders solution, and discovered positive outcomes! We invite you to sit back and explore the fantastic PeaceBuilding events happening throughout the United States and U.S. Territories.

St. Mary's School - Johnson City, TN
The reason PeaceBuilders is so effective and easy to implement is because it is so seamlessly interwoven into daily practices and special events. PeaceBuilders is not merely a program comprised of a series of weekly lessons, as you all know; it is a way of behaving that changes an organization's culture.

The staff and students at St. Mary's School have found fun, meaningful ways to weave PeaceBuilding into the fabric of every day. And when it comes to special events or holidays, PeaceBuilders is part of the plan, as well. St. Mary's School celebrated Catholic Schools Week this year with a PeaceBuilders flair.

The Theme of Catholic Schools week 2009 was "Catholic Schools Celebrate Service." During the school week, the staff and students at St. Mary's held both a Grandparents Day and a Veteran's Day celebration to pay honor these "wise people" in the lives of the children the school.

Wise person Dr. Deborah DeFrieze and her granddaughters, Hannah Payne and Analeigh Costley, celebrate Grandparents Day together.

3rd grader, Catie Cheek, shared lunch with a wise person, her grandfather, Mr. Vance Cheek, Sr., who is also a veteran.

Veteran Mr. Jack Holiwiski and his wife, Mrs. Terry Holiwiski, were given praise and appreciation by members of St. Mary's parish.

As a way to praise and thank parents and family members, students and staff handed out brown-bag breakfasts one morning as students were dropped off at school.

And the week continued with many other celebrations based on the theme of service and on PeaceBuilders Principles.

While job shadowing, 8th grader Susan Jones practices the PeaceBuilders Principle Help Others by helping 1st graders Belle Preslopsky, Libby O'Brien and Jack Hartwig.

Lauren Scharfstein helps others and learns about being a wise person when she takes over for 4th grade teacher, Ms. Laura Goodhard (who plays along by dressing like a student for the day).

8th graders Robyn Manhard and Beth Morgan help others and practice being wise people by grading papers in a 2nd grade classroom.

For her job shadowing experience, 8th grader Chantal Sastre helps by working in the office for the day.

Helping others often entails a very easy plan like St. Mary's school-wide "Wear a Pair, Share a Pair" service project, for which students donated pairs of socks or slippers and were allowed to wear their own pair to school.

Sadly, people too often do nothing at all to help others because they can't think of something "big and significant" to do to make a difference in the world. But in the words of Edmund Burke, "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."

We all know that if everyone did a little, an enormous amount would be accomplished.

Thanks to the generosity of students and staff at St. Mary's School, many socks, slippers and pajamas were collected and distributed to Safe Passage, a domestic abuse protective shelter serving families in Johnson City and Washington County.

The staff and students at St. Mary's School ended Catholic Schools Week by holding a volunteer breakfast for all the people who donate their time at the school. What a wonderful way to praise people for helping--what a fine way to let them know that what they've done is appreciated.

The final event on Friday was a staff appreciation luncheon hosted by St. Mary's Home and School Association.

Catholic Schools Week at St. Mary's was a huge success. Students learned even more about their obligation to give back to their community and to continue with service projects that make the world a more peaceful place. Many different groups and individuals were praised and shown appreciation for their contributions to this impressive PeaceBuilders school.

We appreciate the myriad ways the staff at St. Mary's School ensures that building peace is part of the fabric of their daily instruction. The students here know the power and the value of service and gratitude. They know how to build peace.

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