Creative Peacemakers is an exciting after-school enrichment experience
for children K-4, who live in Deaverview Apartments. It is an outreach ministry of St. George’s Episcopal Church in West Asheville. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this program looks a bit different, but still serves the same purpose.
To bring peace to our communities by helping children practice peacemaking using cooperative play and creative expression (yoga, drawing, weaving, painting, sculpture, dance, music, collage, gardening, cooking, and more).
We believe that peaceful living can change the world and create abundant life. Given the on-going conflicts in the world today and on the streets of our communities, we believe the time is right to offer an after-school curriculum for peaceful living for our children. Peace needs to be active, immediate, inter-disciplinary, meaningful, creative, and about attitudes and behaviors. We have chosen yoga and the arts (in the broadest sense) as a method to enhance the teaching and practicing of peace.
We typically meet on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons (weather permitting) for snacks, crafts, stories, lessons, and outdoor time on the playground at Deaverview.
The Children’s Motto: I am a Peacemaker. I am loving, kind and gentle. I am patient, faithful and joyful. I am generous and full of self-control.
Creative Peacemakers Program emphasizes peacemaking skills through the emphasis of four themes:
Peace for Me – helps children discover the wonder and beauty within themselves, where peace begins.
Peace for Us – explores daily relationships stressing cooperation, conflict resolution and compassionate communication; promotes understanding and respect for diverse traditions.
Peace for Everyone – encourages social justice thinking and actions and demonstrates the possibilities for peace within and among groups of diverse people. Children are exposed to ways to live together in peace honoring diversity.
Peace for the Planet – addresses sustainability, environmental care and appreciation of the natural world.
Peace for Me. Peace for Us. Peace for Everyone. Peace for the Planet.
Who We Are
Noel Schwartz is the program coordinator and developer of Creative Peacemakers. Noel has a B.A. in Psychology from Rhodes College and an M.Ed. in Special Education from the University of Memphis. Volunteers from various communities are mentors in the program. We have partnered with the Soul and Soil Project to provide community building and gardens in the Deaverview Apartment Community.
In the past, St. George’s Episcopal Church and its Center for Art and Spirit provided a universal sacred space for nurturing body, mind and heart. Currently, the program meets at the Deaverview Community Center in West Asheville. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program now meets outside in the afternoons when the weather is nice.
Peacemakers was born in Memphis TN and enjoyed five years at Caritas Village under the direction of Noel Schwartz. The curriculum was developed around the inspired works of Kelly Guinan, founder of the Young Peacemakers Clubs and author of, Peace Quest and Go with Peace, and other resources which we continuously expand. The group grew from fewer than 10 up to 27 children of diverse backgrounds. One of our themes was “I Can Make a Difference” using a book of the same title edited by Marian Wright Edelman, of the Children’s Defense Fund.
When Noel retired to Asheville in 2012, her passion for Peacemakers came with her. We have renamed the program Creative Peacemakers to accent the expanded use of the arts in the curriculum as is appropriate to the Asheville environment. The approach will remain the same: to develop healthy relationships that foster love and respect; for all people; to be flexible enough to meet the specific needs of children while maintaining balance, structure and inclusivity; to communicate using positive, encouraging, compassionate language; to be consistent, dependable and safe.
Through participation in this life enrichment program, children will learn to show love for themselves, others and the world by:
- Knowing that they are loved.
- Valuing their own personal gifts both in products of their art work and in their ability to communicate effectively (self esteem).
- Expressing themselves in clear non-threatening ways both verbally and through their art (compassionate communication).
- Respecting and valuing differences (racial, cultural, gender preferences, and all people).
- Modeling coping skills in dealing with an aggressive or threatening situation (self confidence).
- Acknowledging that their feelings are valid and that they are their own, not someone else’s.
- Identifying positive options for dealing with conflict as alternatives to fight/flight behaviors.
- Really listening when others are speaking.
- Being able to ask for help and to cooperate with others in group activities.
- Developing trust in and respect for the adults that work with them.
- Demonstrating self-esteem through creativity as their abilities in various art skills grow.
- Selecting healthy options for eating.
- Deciding how to use Reuse, Rethink, Reduce, Recycle, Renew, and Rejoice as choices for sustainability.
- Appreciating the wonder of creation and learning ways to be stewards of all life forms.
Because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, volunteer opportunities are very limited. We hope that in the future we will be able to provide opportunities for involvement with our program, so keep checking this page for updates!
Questions? Contact us!
St. George’s Episcopal Church
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