It's time to spread the love -- and keep the peace.
The week of Sept. 23-29 has been declared "Peace Week," a week-long celebration of peace and understanding throughout the Brainerd lakes area, sponsored by St. Joseph's Foundation, Crow Wing County Child Protection Team, Cuyuna Regional Medical Center, Community Asset Builders and The Brainerd Dispatch.
The week's activities will center around specific daily themes: love, kindness, courage, compassion, diversity and humor. A series of speakers, events and presentations during Peace Week are meant to foster a greater understanding of the inter-connectedness that exists in our lives -- resulting in increased dignity and respect for others -- and to decrease the violence in the Brainerd lakes area.
Area schoolchildren of all ages will also be celebrating Peace Week in schools throughout Crow Wing County. The Brainerd Dispatch has created a special newspaper for students that gives examples of how Brainerd lakes area citizens, families and teens have started to create communities of peace in their own lives.
Peace Week is the third annual St. Joseph's Foundation Community Health Symposium series. Usually, the symposiums are held one day, but the idea for Peace Week has snowballed into a larger week-long celebration.
Alice Larson, executive director of the St. Joseph's Foundation, is hoping that area businesses, churches and organizations will also share in the celebration by building on each daily theme and incorporating those themes into their workdays. Several area ministers have said they will preach that week about love and peace, said Larson.
"We would like to see businesses make peace important, too," said Larson. "There is violence everywhere. Violence in the workplace and violence in the homes and schools."
St. Joseph's Foundation began the annual symposiums in an attempt to combat the high rate of family violence and child abuse and neglect in the region. In 1997, the counties of Crow Wing, Cass and Aitkin had double the number of reported cases of child abuse and neglect (9.3 percent) than the st atewide average.
Any businesses or organizations interested in receiving informational packets about Peace Week and to giveaway Peace Week stickers and bookmarks, call the St. Joseph's Foundation at 828-7624. The St. Joseph's Foundation is also selling Peace Week T-shirts for $6 each.
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