Peace-ing The Community Together

The Home for Little Wanderers' Safe-at-Home Program Opens Peace Arts Zone at Roslindale Facility

Safe at Home - Sidewalk Sam
BOSTON — For six-year-olds like Amy*, the meaning of “peace” is complex. She is still too young to understand global images of peace, although when her clinician at The Home for Little Wanderers recently asked what image made her feel calm, she thought carefully about her answer and responded “my mother’s house.”

As part of a global, intergenerational, social action project in August, The Home for Little Wanderers’ staff joined expressive art therapists from around the world at a four-day conference at Lesley University. At the conference The Home’s Safe-at-Home program was identified as a “Peace Arts Zone” in the Boston Community.

To create the Peace Arts Zone, clients of The Home for Little Wanderers programs were asked to draw an image in response to the question, “When you think of peace, what comes to mind?” To Amy this meant transforming images of her positive memories like the comfort and closeness that she experienced with her mother and siblings during “family time” into art on cloth panels which now hang on display.

On September 4, 2009, local artist Robert Guillemin, a.k.a “Sidewalk Sam,” helped The Home for Little Wanderers celebrate the opening of the new Peace Arts Zone in Roslindale with one of his well-known peace dove paintings. The opening provided clients and staff who participated in the project, along with members of the community, an opportunity to reflect on the exhibit.

“This project was an incredibly meaningful experience. In the vein of what Sidewalk Sam told the group, communities need peaceful images to replace the violent one that we see daily,” said Janet Novotny, Safe-at-Home Clinician. “Clients and staff were all impacted by the process of creating the Peace Arts Zone because it opened a dialogue about the levels of peace from within oneself to within the world.”

And according to another clinician a family she worked with created images of remembrance, sharing, and love as a representation of peace, “The process of creating the peace panels for their family provided them with an opportunity to have a conversation about how community violence had silenced the voices and breaths of many in their large family and, how as a result, they each work to decrease violence and promote peace.”

The Peace Arts Zone will be on display at The Home for Little Wanderers’ Roslindale facility on American Legion Highway to remind visitors of its message. The panels of artwork which line the walls were created by staff and clients in the Safe-at-Home and Children’s Collaborative programs, at the Roslindale site.

With roots dating back to an orphanage founded in 1799, The Home today plays a leadership role in delivering services to thousands of children and families each year through its18 programs. The guiding principle at The Home is the belief in the right of all children to be safe, nurtured and developed to their full potential.

*Please note that name was changed to protect this child’s identity.



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