Peter Yarrow Shares "Operation Respect" With Children
"This Little Light Of Mine", rang out in the Niswonger Performing Arts Center auditorium as over 600 elementary students took part in an assembly entitled "Operation Respect: Don't Laugh At Me". Peter Yarrow led the children in this and many other popular songs about their influence on others around them. Operation Respect is a non-profit organization working to assure each child and youth a respectful, safe and compassionate climate of learning where their academic, social and emotional development can take place free of bullying, ridicule and violence. Founded by Peter Yarrow of the folk group Peter, Paul & Mary, the organization disseminates educational resources that are designed to establish a climate that reduces the emotional and physical cruelty some children inflict upon each other by behaviors such as ridicule, bullying and-in extreme cases-violence. Through singing and stories, the "Don't Laugh at Me" programs help sensitize children to the painful effects of behaviors that too often are accepted as necessary rites of passage in childhood - ridicule, disrespect, ostracism and bullying. Children participating learned that by working together, they can positively shape their school environment, and eventually bring this message to the broader community.
The Niswonger was honored to welcome over 600 students from Coldwater and Parkway Elementary to the assembly. The daytime school assembly was sponsored by Elks BPOE #1197, The Van Wert Rotary Club, The Van Wert Service Club, Henkle Insurance Agency of Rockford, Leland Smith Insurance, Beta Delta Chapter PSI IOTA XI, Dr. Peter & Anita vanden Berg, Chuck & Karen Koch, Wal-Mart, Midwest Electric Company, Paulding Putnam Electric Coop and the Child Conservation League. Season Sponsors are Statewide Ford Lincoln and Van Wert Federal Savings Bank.