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Peace Event



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Paul Hillman

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since 04/24/2017

5th annual Balsz Promise Neighborhood Community Wellness Celebration occurred on Earth Day, April 22nd at Balsz Elementary School

This year the celebration also embraced Earth Day. Earth Day’s 2017 Campaign: "Education is the foundation for progress." We wish to promote and build a global citizenry fluent in knowledge to inspire action in defense of environmental protection. The Phoenix Department of Water brought in literature on Reimagine Phoenix Transforming Trash into Resources. Wonderful booklet titled JOIN R TEAM: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Reconsider and Reimagine everyday (4th-7th graders)!

The Balsz Promise Youth Advisory Councils have discussed through creativity and innovation during this semester, information from various health and social service agencies...And the Dedication of a community peace pole by the Balsz NJHS students during Taiko Drumming (Ms. Heidi Strate the sponsoring teacher)! The Phoenix library, Saguaro branch, made available the story of "Sadako" and created origami cranes with all in attendance promoting acts of peace building.

Ms. Chelsey Saperstein, Destination Graduation teacher at Griffith, brought her students to assist with all kinds of activities throughout the day. We are so grateful for both of these teachers who give of their time to make a huge difference in the lives of these 7th and 8th grade students. Getting Connected through the World of Beads is always an amazing activity for all ages. Thank you Christy Puetz and Christy Sholola for being on site and helpful as the participants made many beaded bracelets.

All of these art making activities including "Everyone Needs a Rock" by Byrd Baylor have been trialed with the BPN YAC students during the school year. Michael Butzine, artist, has worked at these sites as well as others throughout the greater Phoenix area.

The Neighborhood Police Precinct officers came to discuss any issue of concern in their jurisdiction and talk to the children and family members. NOAH: Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health is always supportive of this community’s health challenges and needs.

Other Social and Health supportive non-profits on site were Valle Del Sol and Orangedale Early Learning Center. Veronica handed out books to children who were present, to read at home. Some of these books were donated by Ivan Armendariz @

The NJHS students at Balsz School had studied and prepared for this event for many months including learning Taiko drumming taught by Taiko teacher Eileen Morgan. A Peace Pole had already been ordered & installed on the campus in November. Saturday was the official dedication of the pole to the community.

Introductory Taiko Drum Beat...

Welcoming and explanation by Erica as to the origin of this performance with various students presenting studied themes: the book "Sadako" , Origami cranes, Peace Poles, Taiko Drumming, Obono Ceremony and the Japanese Memorial yearly program concerning the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan.

Following the NJHS speakers for each listed theme the students played their complex rhythms on the Taiko drums with precision. They were wonderful!

With Pride and Respect the young people thanked their audience and presented thank you flowers to both teachers: Ms. Strate and Ms. Morgan...

Ms. Strate then welcomed all of the audience to enjoy a healthy sack lunch prepared by UMOM... the largest homeless shelter for families in Arizona.

All artmaking and informative social services continued until Noon....Mt. Park Health Services Below....

We are very grateful for everyone who came including Balsz School Board member...

Southwest Human Development Center meets the needs of hundereds of children in our community. We are very fortuante to have Sara Palomares and her associate at this event.

People stayed until the very end, having enjoyed all of the art making stations for ALL Ages and ALL Cultural Backgrounds. It was a day of PEACE Making, shared stories and honoring of everyone and our environment! Thank you Dr. Halpert for opening the doors of the school to this educational and Fun!!! community Wellness Celebration.

Posters were also created by some of the Balsz NJHS students during the final semester and on display based on the United Nations’ Youth For Human Rights Curriculum From teaching human rights through conferences and workshops to hip-hop and dancing, the message spreads across the globe.

Everyone present said it was a great way to spread Earth Day: learning so much about the earth and its sustainability as well and being connected to the story of the Balsz Peace Pole.

Funding for this program for a year plus the supplies and the contracted opportunities through the Cultural Arts Coalition was provided by Desert Schools Credit Union to the Balsz School District.

Photos for this narrative by Michael Butzine...Thank you!

Photo Narrative by Judy Butzine, MSW, Director the BPN YAC

Director of the Cultural Arts Coalition 623-521-2880

The Mission of the Cultural Arts Coalition, Arizona: 501 (c) 3, a nonpartisan organization in existence since 2005: stimulates creative, analytical and leadership development for personal transformation and collective change through celebrations and multidisciplinary learning experiences.

Vision: Individuals of all ages, cultures, and walks of life explore arts-facilitated practices and experiences aspiring to personal and collective creativity, innovation and problem solving. The nurturing of belonging and respect within a larger community recognizes the value of each individual and advocates for social and economic justice.