Students at Bridges Community Academy were asked to lie on the ground and envision being a tree standing tall and confident Tuesday in a class teaching ways to prevent violence.
Sr. Paulette Schroeder and the Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin have established an initiative called Project Peace through which they hope to promote peace in schools, the community, the state and the world.
Project Peace began this past June with a peace fair and parade. A 5K run is set for Nov. 10 and is to start at the St. Francis campus.
"I am developing as I go," Schroeder said.
She said she wants to teach students what violence is and how it gets started and to arm them with tools to keep violence from getting started.
Schroeder is the designated speaker for the project.
She meets with students at Bridges and sixth grade classes at Tiffin Middle School using materials students can relate to.
For example, Schroeder uses the example of a butterfly's wings flapping in the wind as a ripple effect. Mean comments from students can result in violence rippling from person to person. "Something little can make a big difference," Schroeder said. "Violence spreads and so does peace-making actions."
She gave students an assignment to do something nice and see how that action makes a positive ripple.
Schroeder spent time in Palestine with Christian Peace Making Teams from 2008-11.
There, Schroeder said she discovered that "if you love someone, help them."
Now, she is incorporating those ideals and concepts to help people learn personal skills to relieve stress and discover a will to live by using positive images to cope with tough situations.
Soon Schroeder will teach the importance of good listening and communication skills along with learning about the power of language.
"I love to speak on peace and about Project Peace," Schroeder said.
For more information on the project, contact Schroeder at (419) 447-0435 ext. 136 or email@example.com.