During the afternoon of Tuesday, September 9, 2008, six Grannies for Peace met at the Emmaus Methodist Church after school program for a project called “Flowers and Flags for Peace.” Kim Kennedy had created the blank flags and colorful paper flowers along with small clay flowerpots filled with shiny foam that would serve as the containers for individually decorated flags and flowers. These flowers were based on an earlier project that Dahlia Herring had done with Albany children, which was in turn based on ideas that Dot Richards had used in working with community members at our “cooking up peace” event in May of 2008.
Since we were working with refugee children, ranging in age from elementary school to early teens we thought that flags would also be a good way for children to express their wishes for peace in their countries of origin, in their new country and in the world. During an energy filled two hours we moved from group to group (four groups in all) with our percussion instruments, song and art materials. Each group began with a brief percussion chorus and a song (Peace, salaam, la paix) and then quickly transitioned to work on the flags and flowers.
We were truly amazed at the enthusiasm and talent that the children brought to the projects and the results were colorful and deeply moving. Each Grannie brought her particular form of love and talent for working with children, whether it was art, gentle support, music, listening, story sharing, or other forms of nurturing. Each child shared gifts of imagination, cultural images, colorful use of stickers and markers, unexpected ways of picturing peace and great musical expressiveness.
So our thanks to Kim, Dahlia, Dot, Mabel, Priscilla and Mickie and to Pastor, Denise Stringer, and the teaching staff of the after school program of Emmaus United Methodist Church, and most especially to the 40 children who participated!
We had so much fun that we hope to make this an annual event.
The Times Union ran a story on the event on Sept. 16, 2008, Grannies spread peace to young refugees.
Grannies for Peace Celebrate Grandparents Day helping children make Flowers & Flags for Peace
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
With the 40 children in the after-school program of Emmaus United Methodist Church
4 PM Grannies gather & set up
4:15 PM Media invited
4:30 – 6:30 PM Crafts and singing with groups of children
The children will decorate flags and flower cutouts to put in pots — to create an image of what peace means to them. We will open each small group singing Peace, Salaam, La Paix. Many of the children are from refugee families, and some are speakers of French and Arabic.
Dahlia is coordinating this event, working with Rev. Denise Stringer at the church. Kim will bring art supplies, the pots and the flags & flowers. Mickie and Dot will bring percussion instruments. Everyone will bring stickers, extra art materials and grandmotherly love.