Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Crozet kids bridge green and global with Peace by Piece

Seven years ago Margie Shepherd was teaching world geography and loving it. Then the state mandated physics. What's a teacher as passionate as Ms. Shepherd to do? Turning lemons to lemonade, she began an end-of-the-year project celebrating world culture known as Peace by Piece.

A post SOL, end of the year project, Peace by Piece allows students to creatively express their vision of a better world. At the end of the year students aren't up for doing intense study, but, Margie told me, "they are excited about sanding and painting and quilting" and putting their creativity to good use.

The proceeds from the silent auction sale of their artwork, furniture and crafts benefits a locally-based international organization of the students' choosing. Past proceeds have gone to building a library in Guatemala, clothing for Mongolia, and help conserve rainforests.

This year they chose Dr. Ford's orphanage in Haiti (money will fund a much-needed well) and Bill Langford's Central American Solar Energy Project, an amazing organization that helps women around the world build solar ovens. Past proceeds have gone to building a library in Guatemala, clothing for Mongolia. A special surprise this year: Tom Cogill, a local photographer who has traveled with Bill, will give a sneak preview of his slideshow of the women's co-operatives and solar ovens in Central America.

The project has been an opportunity for creativity and oftimes a lesson in the three r's. This year students have re-newed (made new again) an old quilt and a beat-up chair, to name two, with paint and recycled fabrics from Bill's travels.

Friends and families will sell their handmade crafts as well as T-shirts and reusable canvas bags. Food will be provided by the French and Spanish classes.

Above all the project has taught kids and their families about the importance of reaching out, creating a cultural dialogue and broader awareness of the challenges that we face as humans. One family sponsored a foreign exchange student and created a lasting friendship that transcends geographical boundaries.

This middle school in our home town is reaching out in a very meaningful way, showing respect and stewardship for the planet we all call home. Thanks for building a better world, Henley! See you all there (details below taken from Betty's "Events" page),

Peace by Piece
Henley Middle School Rt. 250 West in Crozet
May 29th
4:30 - 7
Peace by Piece at Henley Middle School on Rt. 250 West in Crozet. This is a silent auction of student made crafts, depicting a vision of a better world. All proceeds go to save the world projects selected by the students. This year we will contribute to building a well in Haiti, and to the Central American Solar Energy Project, which teaches women to build their own solar ovens. In addition to the quilts and floorcloths made by students, many are refinishing and reinvigorating old chairs, tables and bookcases. There is also a "friends and family" table of crafts created by our school community. We'll also be selling great grocery bags with the words "Neither, thank you." on them. In green, of course. All are welcome, no entry fee.

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