06/08/2007
NID in the News
Voices on violence

Children write thoughts about violence in a book

(Philadelphia Tribune) The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts has allowed second-graders at Alexander K. McClure School in Hunting Park to use their creative prowess to illustrate their dreams. They are using this activity to craft their futures and denounce the grievous gun violence that is currently hammering the city -- Philadelphia's death toll is nearing 200.

Their frustration has culminated in the formation of a published book, titled Protecting Every Child's Dream, which was composed as part of the Lost Dreams on Canvas program at PAFA.

It's an exhibit that displays portraits of innocent young Philadelphians whose lives were lost through random violence.

Yesterday, as a celebration of the publication of the book, the PAFA held an event to show off the students' hard work.

Throughout the school year the pupils have been learning abou the causes, effects and solutions to gun violence in cooperation with Need in Deed, a nonprofit organization that helps bridge academics with their everyday experience.

Under the umbrella of Need in Deed falls the My Voice program which allows students to use their abilities in drawing, math, dancing and writing to speak on behalf of others.

The work thet studentes have contributred to Protecting Every Child's Dream has garnered them the My Voice Outstanding Project award.

Every year the teachers at McClure allow the students to select a topic to focus on. This year's topic was one close to home for the students, especially since some of them have experienced loss through gun violence.

Nancy Goldschmidt, who teaches second grade, said the subject of gun violence is onoe her students are far too familiar with.

"They know all about gun violence," she said. "More than we want them to."

In the book, the students wrote a pledge to families of victims, stating such things as what they would do to cure the wave of gun violence that has affected them.

Maria Ozuna, 7, wrote in the book that she would like to be a teacher when she grows up. She knows about the perilous aftermath of gun violence and said she would like to see it ended.

"I want to see (gun violence) go away because my cousin died from a gun," she said. "People should listen to the law and do what's right."

Her classmate and aspiring hairstylist Diana Interiano, 8, shared her sentiments on the scourge of fatal shootings.

"There's too much violence in the city," she said. "If people keep getting shot there will be no one left."

Eric Funches, 8, who said he wants to be a basketball player, expressed how the shootings make him feel.

"I feel sad because of the shootings," he said. "I wish people would stop the violence."

Hoping to be Funches' teammate in the NBA, Francisco Borges said he is tired of the harm that guns cause.

"People should stop shooting, because we are getting hurt and a lot of people are dying," he said.

Goldschmidt was pleased with the initiative that her students took to get the book done.

"The students wanted to do this," she said. "They all did a great job."

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