Spirits of Peace
Open Theatre Presents A Thousand Cranes
Nova Classical Academy presents Bye Bye Birdie

Spirits of Peace [IMAGE]| 5.11

Partners for Violence Prevention (PVP) Reflections by Marlene Jezierski

Little is assured, yet one thing we know
following sunset, a sunrise will glow.
Just fourteen years past, creative minds birthed
an idea. A caring cadre of leaders envisioned PVP
and gifted its beginning. And so it happened.
PVP’s stream of peace began as a trickle — fed
by existing nuggets of peace — it expanded and flowed
from boardrooms into community centers,
neighborhoods, hospitals, clinics, fire stations,
and classrooms. A greater spirit of peace
emerged, thrived, and grew. Children learned
peaceful ways and taught their teachers as they learned.
Good sports proliferated in the West Seventh neighborhood.
Gentle canines brought comfort and unconditional
love to children displaced by violence. A welcoming
play room brought parents and children together.
Nurses, doctors, firefighters, teachers, and volunteers
joined, and offered hope and peace — one relationship,
one family, one class, one school, one neighborhood
— at a time.
The stream’s force gained momentum. There were
activists and artists, victim advocates, dreamers
and organizers, leaders and workers, specialists
and generalists, ecologists and community health experts,
elected officials and media professionals, who freely
shared a glorious rainbow of skills, energy, fidelity,
and faith
that this greater spirit of peace would empower
and strengthen the community. All held a deep
respect and empathy for the faces and circumstances
of troubled people. All were driven by the belief
that neighborhoods could and must be sanctuaries
of respect, love and peace. All carried an unflagging
commitment to the belief that the world can only
survive through pursuits of respect, love and peace.
And so the stream widened and became a river,
flowing and growing ever more swiftly,
healing and enriching as it went.
the river
is changing shape and direction, but the dream
of a greater and more complete peace, the work
that was done, spirits of peace — live on
in the leaders, social workers, advocates and activists,

and in those touched by this work — women
who escaped violence and now live in peace,
children who model to friends, family
and on fields of sport, the peaceful ways
they learned. Spirits of peace grow
through caregivers as they reach out
and through community leaders whose civic work
is informed by spirits of peace.
Each carries the spirit forth in pursuit
of ways to engage neighbors and community.
Spirits of peace will live on
through giving of time and talents.
Energy and faith in the power of peace
will keep the river flowing. The glow of peace
will nurture new life and propagate
PVP’s beginnings to greater heights.

Dedicated to:
The grade school girl who remembered the message she placed on the tile she made and lived her message wherever she went.
The little boy who didn’t speak in the shelter until Juleen the therapy dog came to him and showed him her love.
The woman who knew her clinic was safe so wrote a call for help and put it in the lab slot. Helped to freedom from abuse, she told others her story to help them get free. The many others whose stories are not known.

Marlene Jezierski, RN, BAN. Family Violence Prevention Educator, Writer is a consultant, educator, lecturer and author. She has spoken widely on family violence in the U.S. and New Zealand, has taught family violence classes to health care professionals, faith community members and many others, and worked for PVP for more than five years as an educator and consultant. She has received many awards, including the Spirit of Peace award from Partners for Violence Prevention in 2007 and Changemakers Award from the Minnesota Women’s Press. Artist: Mary Southard, CSJ,, courtesy of, Congregation of St. Joseph.

Open Theatre Presents A Thousand Cranes [IMAGE]| 5.11

The possibility of building world peace from small, individual acts is explored and practiced in Open Theatre’s presentation of “A Thousand Cranes” followed by a multidisciplinary performance of student work from both elementary and secondary students called “A Celebration of Peace.” This features student performers in a peace choir, dance works, visual art and spoken word by Open World Learning Community poets.

“A Thousand Cranes” is an award-winning narrative based on the true story of Sadako Susuki, who developed leukemia (known in Japan as “atom bomb sickness”) ten years after the war ended. In her struggle against the illness, she began folding paper cranes, relying on the ancient tale that states if a sick person folds one thousand paper cranes, the gods will grant her wish and make her healthy again. Although Sadako’s life was taken before she completed folding the thousand cranes, her friends and classmates finished this task for her, and helped build a monument to Sadako and all the children who were killed by the atomic bombs.[IMAGE]

Audience members will also have a chance to learn about local peace initiatives and to take part in folding paper cranes for peace to send to the Children’s Peace Memorial in Hiroshima.

Steppingstone Theatre, through a Minnesota State Arts Board grant, is providing a scenic artist and a lighting designer to help Open Theatre’s stage technicians to create sets, props and lighting effects. Dr. Walter Enloe, professor at Hamline University, is advising the project. He has extensive experience is Japanese culture, paper cranes and international peace initiatives.

Performances at Open World Learning Community, 90 Western Ave. S., are May 18-20 at 7 p.m. with a 2pm matinee May 21. Tickets are $5 adult, $3 students/seniors. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to a charitable organization serving children. For info, call 651-293-8670.

This is the last O[IMAGE]pen Theatre performance to be held on the festive stage at Jefferson School. It is also the last performance for many seniors who have been highly involved in theater during their tenure, and it’s the last production directed by Pam Larson, who is retiring at year’s end. It is also the last chance to enjoy Open Theatre’s popular café tables (May 19-20 only) in the current setting. Upfront tables for four include tickets, desserts, and beverages served at intermission. Reservations must be received by May 12.[IMAGE]

(l-r) Derrick Le-Tran, Tom Barrett, Chante Neal, Sonja Youngquist, Alex Casebeer, Mai Yer Vue, KaYing Yang, Gabrielle Brown, Meredith Shimek, Frances Verner, Leo Veach. Cast not shown: Julie Xiong, Velonika Burnett, Matt Shay, Chue Khang, Peter Moua and Julia Iwaszek.  Pam Larson at final OWLC production. Photos: Lou ‘The Photo Guy” Michaels.

Nova Classical Academy presents Bye Bye Birdie | 5.11  [IMAGE]

The Nova Classical Academy Drama Department is offering Bye Bye Birdie as their spring musical production. This is the drama department’s third production, following Romeo and Juliet last spring and A Midsummer Night’s Dream last fall. The Bye Bye Birdie cast includes 35 students from grades 6-10, and rehearsals are in full swing. In addition, many members of the Nova community participate in the production as a part of the student and parent crews.

Performances are Friday, May 13 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 14 at 3 and 7 p.m. The performances are held in the gym at Nova’s upper campus at 426 Osceola Avenue (old SFSJ school building). Information on advance ticket sales (adults $8, children $5) can be found at or email Tickets are also sold at the door (adults $9, children $6). Bye Bye Birdie, a musical satire of American life in the 1950s, was a Tony Award winner when it opened on Broadway.

Nova students rehearsing dance numbers for Bye Bye Birdie

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