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Article—Thursday, April 29, 2004 The Dickson Herald.

Making a stand for world peace

Staff Writer

Fourth graders at Charlotte Elementary School are making a stand for world peace one quilt square at a time.

Students in the four fourth-grade classes are participating in the More Than Warmth project, founded by director Judith Biondo Meeker, a former schoolteacher.

Meeker began making quilts for people of different cultures overseas to help her students deal with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“In our culture, we have an affinity with quilts,” she said. “They keep people warm.”

More Than Warmth has touched thousands of tiny fingers across the globe. Hundreds of quilts have been made by thousands of children and have been sent to people in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa.

While students at Charlotte Elementary worked on their designs, tracing them onto quilt squares and coloring them last week, some were thinking about those who would be using them to keep warm.

Some were thinking about a war that is going on today in Iraq.

One student asked Meeker, “If Iraq doesn’t want war and we don’t want war, then why are we fighting each other?”

Meeker paused for a moment and then replied, “Sometimes you get into it, like when brothers and sisters get into it, and then you have to figure out how to get out of it and how to forgive each other.”

Another student commented, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

The mission statement of More than Warmth says the project seeks to foster understanding, knowledge and compassion between cultures through nonviolent, nonpolitical and nonreligious means.

Although making a quilt might seem like a small gesture to achieve peace, it’s the little things that count, she said.

“It’s about helping on some level someone who is cold, like a child,” Meeker said.

Students can also work for peace in other ways, she said.

“It’s about being kind, helping mom set the table,” she told students. “Don’t make fun of people in school.”

Teachers at Charlotte Elementary said students really enjoyed the project and they look forward to getting the quilts back soon.

“The project went really well,” said Debbie Hagewood, a fourth grade teacher. “Children really had a good time participating. They also got to watch the quilt squares pieced together. The quilts have already been sent to the quilters to be finished and they will be displayed in the school before being sent to a needy person.”

Hagewood said she was thankful to parents and Phil Buckner, of the Dickson County Farmers Co-Op, who made donations for materials.

Meeker said she was inspired by the students’ comments.

She said children are our future leaders. Someday, they’ll be able to influence policy and world events, she added.

Maybe the students’ efforts will even influence someone they might never meet in person, she added.

“If we love them, we can make a difference,” she said. “Maybe they’ll be inspired to help someone else.”

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