This week, The Peace Abbey in Sherborn, Massachusetts, informed Groton-Dunstable Middle School Principal Steve Silverman and teacher/club advisor Betsy Sawyer that the school’s “Big Book: Pages for Peace” project has won the Children’s Courage of Conscience Award.
Director Lewis M. Randa writes, “Throughout the year, this Award is presented to individuals and organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary commitment and creativity to the causes of peace and nonviolence.
“The Pages for Peace Project exemplifies what young people can do to promote peace and how their efforts can inspire others on the pathway to peacemaking. We are especially delighted to present this award to a group of children as it is the same recognition that young fifth grade, Ambassador for Peace from Maine, Samantha Smith received posthumously a few years ago, as did Jim Henson, creator of Sesame Street’s Muppets.”
Previous recipients of the Courage of Conscience Award include humanitarian Mother Teresa of Calcutta; civil rights activist Rosa Parks; heavy weight champion and humanitarian Muhammad Ali; spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dali Lama; musician and activist Pete Seeger and many others.
The Big Book club members will be honored at a ceremony scheduled for June 21 at 4 p.m. “The Courage of Conscience Award is in the form of a peace dove in outstretch hands,” Randa writes.
According to its Web site, The Peace Abbey was created following an inspiring visit by Mother Teresa in 1988.
“The Peace Abbey is dedicated to creating innovative models for society that empower individuals on the paths of nonviolence, peacemaking and cruelty-free living.”
Programs and resources offered “teach, inspire and encourage one to speak out and act on issues of peace and social justice. Faith in action is the cornerstone of our fellowship and activist pacifism is our creed.”
There are a great many lessons children learn in school. But this one reaches far out into the world these young people will join as adults.
We will all benefit by their dream, and by their work to make this world a place of peace.