Students write messages of love and encouragement at “Peace Day”

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Local non-profits provide information on community services.

By V. Finster          

vfinster1@student.alamo.edu

Representatives of ChildSafe, The Peace Initiative and the Rape Crisis Center handed out literature on support resources and answered questions Sept. 20 at this college’s observation of International Day of Peace.

A flyer from the Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Services was available but no-one from the organization was there.

More than 81 students attended the second annual “Peace Day” event presented by this college’s community engagement office and RAICES in Loftin Student Center.

International Day of Peace celebrated Sept. 21, was established in 1981 by the United Nations.

According to U.N. resolution 36/37 the day IS devoted to commemorating and strengthening ideals of peace among all nations and peoples.

This year’s Peace Day theme “The Right to Peace”, celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights document adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in Paris Dec. 10, 1948.

Students sampled food and drink while writing uplifting messages on paper die-cut flowers to decorate a Peace Day banner at the event.

Architecture freshman Javier Santiago wrote multiple messages on his flower reading, “Do the impossible. Break the unbreakable and high five the sky.”

“It encourages you to not give up,” he said. “You can overcome.”

Local nonprofit ChildSafe helps abused or traumatized children and their families by providing crisis intervention, such as counseling, advanced therapy and management services. 

Lauren Zuniga, volunteer coordinator of ChildSafe, said a new 65,000-square- foot center is being built near interstate 10 and East Houston Street and should be completed by the summer.

The center will include offices for employees from Bexar County Child Advocacy Center, San Antonio Police Department, Child Protective Services and the District Attorney in an attempt to improve case management.

Dolores Moreno-Valles, volunteer for the Peace Initiative, said the purpose of the nonprofit is to end family violence by designing and implementing community events that raise awareness about abuse.

The Peace Initiative advocates for systematic changes, challenges law enforcement when they deviate from departmental policy in response to family violence calls and analyzes the effectiveness of city dollars spent by community agencies, according to the organization’s literature distributed at the event.

Andrea Lopez, community engagement coordinator for the Rape Crisis Center, said the nonprofit has a 24-hour hotline that provides immediate help to callers along with referrals for other social service agencies. 

The hotline number is 210-349-7273.

Center resources include counseling, advocacy and hospital accompaniment at no cost to the client. Services are confidential.

RAICES, is a nonprofit that provides low-cost legal services to immigrant children, families and refugees in Texas.

Though no representative from RAICES was in attendance, the organization provided a flyer with information on Deffered Action for Childhood Arrivals clinics, on-campus discussions and workshops, Know Your Rights presentations and general volunteer or involvement opportunities.

More information on these organizations is available at www.childsafe-sa.org, www.rapecrisis.com, www.thepeaceinitiative.net and www.raicestexas.org.

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