Remembering Pete Seeger in Song
Folk singer Jim Scott will hold a Pete Seeger Songfest to benefit the Center for Nonviolent Solutions 7:00 PM Sunday November 6, in the sanctuary of the First Unitarian Church, 90 Main Street, Worcester, MA.
Composer/guitarist Jim Scott, who knew Pete well and collaborated on many projects with the folk legend, will lead the audience in songs for the causes Seeger championed and will remember his great contributions to peace and to our American heritage.
Scott brings a warmth, and authenticity that turns any size audience into an intimate gathering. His lyrical melodies, well-crafted words, guitar mastery and humorous surprises moved Pete Seeger to call him “Some kind of a magician.” A guitarist with the Paul Winter Consort and co-composer of their celebrated "Missa Gaia / Earth Mass," Scott is a prolific composer in his own right.
Scott, a lifelong Unitarian Universalist (UU)has also become a student of the movement for peace and justice in song, compiling and arranging the "Earth and Spirit Songbook," a collection of over 110 songs by many contemporary composers, including Pete Seeger. His much loved "Gather the Spirit" and other songs are in the UU hymnbooks. He was one of the creators of the Green Sanctuary program for churches to become more sustainable.
The Center for Nonviolent Solutions is a non-profit organization that provides education and resources to help people in the Worcester area to understand nonviolence and peacemaking as a way of life and to reject the use of violence in resolving conflict. The Center teaches middle school and high school students how to resolve conflicts peacefully through mutual respect, empathy cultivation, active listening and peer mediation. The Center also provides training in peacebuilding skills to teachers and youth workers, and provides instruction in the history of successful nonviolent movements in the modern world.
Suggested donation: $20 for adults. $10 for students.
Late September and early October were busy times at the Center. On September 26 and October 3, staff members met with Clark University Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) students working at Claremont Academy and gave brief presentations on peace education. On September 27 and October 4, we hosted an introductory training in peace education at 901 Pleasant Street, open to anyone in the Worcester community who teaches or works with young people.
At the community training, participants were introduced to the basics of peace education, including sequential processes for resolving conflicts nonviolently, mindfulness activities, and nonviolent histories.
At the first session, Rose Koerner, of Clark University, discussed mindfulness activities she did with children in fifth grade as a teacher/researcher at Worcester’s Goddard Elementary School. Claire Schaeffer-Duffy and Dan Margolis began the evening with a “cocktail party,” an exercise that encouraged community building among attendees and also helped build active listening skills. The evening ended with stories of youth peacebuilders, including those opposing the projected South Dakota pipeline.
At the second session, participants were given some “brass tacks” tools to use with their youth, including the Conflict Escalator and the CLEAR method of conflict resolution. Participants agreed that they wanted to continue meeting informally, to hear talks on strategies for peace- building with youth, share experiences, and enjoy each other’s company.
At the sessions for Clark MAT’s, Claire Schaeffer-Duffy presented a broad overview of peace education and restorative practices to five student teachers, as well as others in the Claremont community who expressed interest. The Center believes that peace education is a necessity for teachers, and hopes to see it included in college teacher training curricula. We saw the meeting with the MATs as a small first step in that direction.
For more information, or to learn more about tools and events for educators, please feel free to contact us.
Teaching the Fourth R: Right Relationships and the Culture of Peace
An Introductory Training in Peace Education
September 27th and October 4th
This free two-part training by CNVS instructors introduces participants to ways of creating peace in their workplace, communities, or classrooms using nonviolent strategies and problem solving skills. Specifically geared for youth educators and youth workers.
Topics covered include:
- Centering activities and restorative circles
- Tools for conflict assessment and transformation
- Cooperative games
- Real-life stories of peace heroes and heroines to inspire youth
- Strategies for nonviolent management
Learn how you and your students can become agents for peace in the classroom and beyond. Additionally, you will have an opportunity to connect with like-minded educators.
An Autumn of Peacebuilding
The office is abuzz these days with the creative energy of our new staff. In late June, we bade a fond farewell to Jennifer Smead, our former director of finances and then interim executive director. In August, we hired Dan Margolis as our education program manager, Eileen Lawter as administrative assistant, and Kelley Eaton as communications coordinator. The Center also welcomed Eriberto Mora, a senior at Clark University as education intern for 2016-17. I relinquished my title as chair of the Board of Directors to serve as staff director. It is a joy to accompany this energetic team as they implement the important work of teaching skills for building a culture of peace.
On August 25 and 26, Dan and I assisted educator and mediator Karen Thomsen in training seventeen young people and two faculty for the Peer Mediation Program at Claremont Academy, an inner-city public school located in Worcester’s Main South neighborhood. What a remarkable group of youth! We are looking forward to supporting them throughout the school year as they mediate the conflicts of their middle school peers. The Peer Mediation Program is one of several efforts within Claremont’s “whole school" approach to creating a peaceable school.
Plans for our second annual fall training in nonviolence education are well underway. Teaching the Fourth R: Right Relationships and the Culture of Peace is scheduled for Tuesday, September 27 and Tuesday, October 4, 5:30-8:00 pm here at 901 Pleasant Street, Worcester. Geared for youth educators, this two-part workshop, will introduce participants to the basics of peace education and offer plenty of opportunity to network with like-minded souls. Details forthcoming. Mark your calendars and spread the word.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to our July appeal. Each contribution means more to us than a dollar value; it’s a vote of confidence in our mission. So onward! Let’s spend our autumn working to build a culture of peace in Worcester and beyond.
Meet the Center's New Peace-building Team
Claire is the former Chair of the Board of Directors for the Center and has been part of CNVS almost since its inception. She earned her bachelors in Social and Political Thought at the University of Virginia and is a 2013 graduate of the Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict at Tufts University. She and husband Scott are co-founding members of the SS. Francis and Therese Catholic Worker, a lay community that has worked for peace and justice and offered hospitality to Worcester's homeless for more than thirty years. The Schaeffer-Duffys have participated in numerous local and international peace campaigns and are the recipients of the Paulist Center's 2007 Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice.
A free-lance journalist, Claire has reported from various conflict zones including Bosnia, Afghanistan, Haiti, Burundi and the Middle East and received awards for her writing. Her travels have allowed her to observe first-hand war’s devastation as well as the courage of many global peacemakers. These experiences, along with a reverence for children and their future compel her commitment to peace-building. She and Scott live in Worcester, MA at the SS. Francis and Therese Catholic Worker. They have four children and three grandchildren.
Education Program Manager
Dan has a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, and he is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Nonprofit Management at Northeastern University. Dan was most recently the program director of a youth mentoring program sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, and prior to that was an assistant editor at Oxford University Press, where he helped to create online and in-print resources on African American, African, Islamic, and Biblical studies. He has previously worked as a program director and as a journalist, including as a correspondent at the United Nations. Dan has been part of the movement for a more peaceful world for more than 20 years, including participating early on in the movement to stop the U.S. war in Iraq.
Dan grew up in Worcester, where he attended North High School. After spending years away working in New York, Detroit, Miami, and elsewhere, he is glad to have returned to his hometown.
Eileen is a native New Yorker. Born into a military family, she first moved at the age of three and a half months old. This pattern has continued throughout her life, interrupted with spots of stability, staying in one place for years at a time. Both ways of living have provided interesting experiences and perspective. Eileen's higher learning comes mostly from the School of Hard Knocks, and she remains a dedicated student for life. She has worked as an artist, a baker/cake decorator and a writer, amongst other things.
It was her conservative Navy father who once told her that he knew of no military person that was for war. She was even joined in New York City by her parents along with a million others in June 1982 for the March and Rally for Peace and Disarmament. Her Dad showed up wearing a huge peace symbol belt buckle. Her Mom has been a happy participant and supporter working for peace and justice throughout Eileen's life.
She has spent some time in religious life and has been a member of the Catholic Worker movement since the 1980's, as an artist and a member of houses in New York, Massachusetts, and the Netherlands. That involvement has brought her into contact with many prayful and peacemaking activities. Having moved to Worcester in the Spring of 2015, she lives in community with friends. She is very happy to have joined such a wonderful organization and looks forward to many fruitful years with CNVS.
Kelley is currently a second year graduate student at Clark University studying international development. Prior to living in Worcester, she worked with WorldTeach as a teacher in Micronesia and as a corps member with City Year Miami. Through her education experience, Kelley has seen first-hand the value and impact that education can have on a student’s life, especially the importance of peace education. She is very excited to continue to work to improve the lives of students through the Center’s mission.
Eriberto, a first-generation college student from Worcester in his senior year at Clark University, is primarily focused on teaching the principles of positive role modeling, as well as the importance of nonviolent conflict resolution. As an American of Mexican heritage, Eriberto seeks to encourage effective collaboration and communication between different cultures. He sees peace education as a vital effort towards this goal because it helps youth develop a foundational understanding of how to redirect resources into preserving unity, rather than destroying it. Eriberto is an old friend of the Center. He was first trained by the Center to serve as a Peer Mediator while in high school at University Park Campus School. Eriberto has since served as a key facilitator for the Center's Conflict & Cooperation and Healthy Power courses, and in 2015, facilitated Worcester East Middle School’s inaugural Healthy Power program. Eriberto is active in the Clark community and swims for relaxation.
Help build a culture of peace in Worcester
“There is so much hate and so much violence in this country,” lamented a dear friend in the wake of the Orlando massacre. I understood his reaction. Perhaps you have felt similarly. And yet, I am unexpectedly optimistic despite these heart-breaking times
Last week, I stopped by Claremont High School, located in Worcester’s Main South, to meet the teens who signed up for our Peer Mediation (PM) Program. We successfully ran a PM Program at the school two years ago. In August, we will train these teens to mediate the conflicts of their middle school peers throughout the 2016-17 school year. I expected eight registrants. Twenty showed up. Were any familiar with Peer Mediation? I asked. Indeed, they were. A number of them had used Center-trained Peer Mediators to help resolve their fights when they were in middle school.
Fighters becoming peace-builders. This is how we build a culture of peace. One young person at a time.
But to do so takes money. To hire a part-time Education Program Manager for just one semester costs $10,000, a hefty sum for our limited pool of funds. Imagine what two peace educators working full-time could achieve! Imagine how many “fighting” middle schoolers could learn to become peace-building teens and how many aspiring peace educators could develop professionally in this pioneering field.
Your contribution will help build a culture of peace. $10,000 is our summer fundraising goal, one we’d like to reach by mid-July. With $10,000 we can expand the hours for our peace educator and expand our programming. Help us meet that goal. Together, we can build a culture of peace in Worcester and beyond!
President, Board of Directors
Cultivating Nonviolence event
On March 22nd, the Center held its annual meeting event, Cultivating Nonviolence: A Celebration of Peace Education in our Schools and Neighborhoods. Attendees enjoyed some beautiful music by Neighborhood Strings, a program of the Worcester Chamber Music Society that provides free music lessons to Main South youth.
Lisa Brennan, Program Director of Services for New Americans at Ascentria Care Alliance, gave a fascinating talk about her organization's work with refugees in the Worcester area. Center Board Chair Claire Schaeffer-Duffy then presented Ascentria Care Alliance with the Center's annual Community Peacemaker Award, given to an individual or organization making a difference in our community.
Following the program, Executive Director Jennifer Smead reported on the previous year's accomplishments and activities. Some highlights are found in the Center’s 2016 Annual Report. Board Treasurer Ruth Rowan presented the Center's financial outlook, and Claire Schaeffer-Duffy reviewed the list of Board officers for 2016, which were approved by those in attendance. The Center's list of Board members and officers can be found here.
Thank you to everyone who sponsored, attended, and supported
our 5th Annual Way of Nonviolence event:
An Evening with Dr. Paul Walker, Chemical and Nuclear Weapons Disarmament Expert and 2013 Right Livelihood Award Laureate
We appreciate YOU!
THANK YOU for the financial support from many individuals, foundations, businesses, municipal and state funders who make this work possible!
Enjoy Cultivating Nonviolence (Annual Meeting) Event Photos
and our 2014 Annual Report
Support is always welcome! Donate Now »