By Deb Pellegrini, a Peace Ambassador
Bullying impacts everyone. Not a week goes by without hearing about a devastating result of bullying. It is a global problem and it involves nearly every age group. My name is Deb Pellegrini. When my oldest son, who has Tourette Syndrome, was bullied and emotionally traumatized daily in 6th grade, I knew that I had to find a way to reduce this behavior and prevent other children from being bullied.
1st Stone for Peacebuilding started with the idea of the 1st Stone message (“1st Stone, I will not throw,” based partly on Jesus’ message “Let he without sin cast the first stone.”) in November 2012. Over the next several months it expanded into jewelry making and sales to raise anti-bullying awareness and to emphasize our personal responsibility to reduce bullying.
During this time, I was also studying peacebuilding, and became a certified Peace Ambassador in August 2013. Through my studies, I learned about peaceful conflict mediation and resolution skills. These skills have been used to reduce and resolve conflict in highly volatile areas of the world. There are outstanding programs for preschool through high school available for free on line. I envisioned that if children were taught these skills in school, they would develop the mindset of being a peacemaker and peace builder in their communities and beyond. They will also have the tools to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner. I believe that this knowledge will reduce bullying in schools and into adulthood.
I decided to combine my two anti-bullying visions to create 1st Stone for Peacebuilding. Through the sales of 1st Stone jewelry and products, I am raising money for schools to integrate peacebuilding curriculum into their current curriculum, and eventually to bring in world-changing peace builders to speak to the students and further inspire them. To my knowledge, this is the first anti-bullying program to combine these two concepts.
With the support of my family and friends, I have been able to raise money to initiate my vision (starting November 4, 2013) in my son’s current school in Wake County, NC. My hope is that this concept will spread to all Wake County schools and beyond. Together we can build a more peaceful and caring world.
For more information, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Deb Pellegrini is the mother of four boys and an Anesthesiologist at a very busy hospital in Raleigh, NC. Prior to moving to Raleigh with her husband, she spent eight years active duty in the U.S. Air Force (including pre and post 9-11 events). Her years of medical training and military experience opened her eyes to how crucial it is to teach children from an early age how to be peace builders in hopes of creating a more peaceful world.
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This article appears in:
2014 Catalyst, Issue 6: Peace Ambassadors for the 21st Century