PeacePartners Inc. selected Mercy Medical Center Mission Outreach's Camp Akwaba, now in its 14th year of operation, as a showcase site for its PeaceBuilders program, a well-known violence prevention and character education youth course approved for the federally funded Safe and Drug-Free Schools Act.
Representatives from PeacePartners – as well as interested school administrators, civic leaders and government officials from the area – visited this year's camp, held July 13 – 17 at Skyline Terrace in southeast Canton. Thirty-six children and 22 volunteers participated, including four former campers, now teens, who returned to share their time and talents as camp counselors.
Mercy receives support for the camp from Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton, Community Christian Church of North Canton and Peoples Baptist Church.
Karen Feller, manager of Mercy Mission Outreach and the camp's coordinator, says being selected as a showcase site gave Mercy the opportunity to share how it integrates PeaceBuilder principles into a community-based (rather than school-based) program.
She adds, "We were thrilled to share our model with others interested in helping to build peace in our neighborhoods and community."
PeaceBuilder's six principles, which have been used at Mercy's camp since its inception in 1995, include praise people, give up put downs, notice hurts, right wrongs, seek wise people and help others.
Sister Carolyn Capuano, vice president of mission and ministry at Mercy, notes the harmony between the missions of Camp Akwaba, PeacePartners and Mercy Medical Center.
"Together we are dedicated to caring for the whole person – in this case, the whole child – body, mind and spirit," says Capuano. "We strive to deter violence – which can devastate people on so many levels – and promote peace by helping young people handle conflict in a productive way. Camp Akwaba continues to make a difference in the lives of some of the area's most vulnerable children."
PeaceBuilders is the research-validated violence prevention and character education youth program approved for the federally funded Safe and Drug-Free Schools Act. It is a comprehensive program launched in organizations that shifts the entire climate to a peaceful, productive and safe place for children, parents, staff and faculty. To learn more, visit www.peacebuilders.com
About Mercy Medical Center
Mercy Medical Center, a nonprofit corporation of the Sisters of Charity Health System and University Hospitals Health System, operates a 476-bed hospital serving Stark, Carroll, Wayne, Holmes and Tuscarawas Counties and parts of Southeastern Ohio. It has 550 physicians on its Medical Staff and employs 2,500 people. Mercy operates outpatient health centers in Carrollton, Jackson Township, Lake Township, Louisville, North Canton, Plain Township and Tuscarawas County. A Catholic hospital, Mercy Medical Center upholds the mission and philosophy of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine and continues to be responsive to the needs of the community, including the provision of care to all, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information, see www.cantonmercy.com