Landmark Education Graduate Project “Genesis at the Crossroads” has Been Bringing The Arab and Jewish Communities Together Since 1999

Quilt communicates–One Peace at a Time

From: Sun Times News Group

December 4, 2006

By FELICIA DECHTER Staff Writer

The seventh-grade class from Nettelhorst School was as diverse and patchwork as the peace quilts its students were meticulously creating colorful, cotton squares for. The kids were participating in the humanitarian project, One Peace at a Time, which will ship bright and vibrant, handmade children’s quilts –created by American kids– to Iraq children, through Operation Iraqi Children.

A square of the peace quilt being crafted by students at Nettelhorst Elementary School. The quilt will be sent to children in Iraq. “It’s such a fun project,” said Lincoln Parker Wendy Sternberg, founder of Genesis at the Crossroads, the nonprofit organization responsible for the concept. “It’s not just their visual artwork that needs to go down in history, but ideas on how to communicate peace through words, colors. It’s a project to grow philanthropic kids, because I think that is what’s going to change the world.”

The project is part of a larger effort coordinated by Sternberg, who in 1999 founded Genesis, which is dedicated to bridging cultures in conflict through the arts as well as creating innovative arts education programs around the world.

With One Peace At A Time, Sternberg said she wanted to give kids an opportunity to think about world peace and show those emotions in a creative, artistic way. She asked the children to reflect their individual thoughts on peace through color and fabrics, thinking outside the box as they work. “You guys are ambassadors of peace,” Sternberg, a doctor with a private practice in Evanston, told the group. “Your message about peace in the world is actually going to be taken around the world.”

This is the ninth school and the 12th workshop Sternberg has held locally, and she has run the gamut, she said, of nationalities. Sternberg — who is Jewish — said she started the project with the ideal of, “acceptance, appreciation, and a celebration of diversity.” Each quilt takes about 10 hours to make, and the squares are meticulously put together by a team of professional quilters.

“The quilts are a nice medium,” Sternberg said. “Everyone associates warmth and comfort in a quilt.”

En route to the Iraqi children, the exhibit will be on display at the Merchandise Mart’s One of a Kind Show and Sale from Dec. 7 to 10, and will then stop at the Chicago Children’s Museum and other museums of peace and tolerance across the nation.In conjunction with exhibit, Concert for Peace, featuring actor Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band, will be held Dec. 10 at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza. The concert will benefit Genesis’ children’s humanitarian peace programs, and One of a Kind Show artists will also submit squares for an original peace quilt that will be auctioned off at the Sinise show.

At Nettelhorst, 3252 N. Broadway, students clearly got into creating their squares and promoting peace Nov. 21.

Julliannah Muyiwa’s quilt showed a sunset on the water, and hands and hearts. “I’d like to see no wars and everybody getting along and no violence,” Muyiwa said.

Yamonie Noy said peace means, “People living, loving and laughing, and coming together as one with no war, and happiness,” while Michelle McDaniel, said it made her happy to know she’s helping other people and making them happy.

Sternberg said she chose Iraq because, “There’s a war going on and there’s no end point, and that leads to a lot of death and destruction.”

Meanwhile, as they put the final touches on their squares, the students continued to reflect about peace.

Constanza Caal, drew a sunset, because it’s “peaceful close to the water,” and Miranda Davis drew both an American and Iraqi flag, with a peace sign in-between, so “the USA can have peace with Iraq.” Marie Mungenast said she hoped the Iraqi children, “Will be happy to know we’re thinking about them,” with her drawing of peace signs and trees creating a “peaceful environment.”

To Sternberg, who was tearful at times discussing the project and checking out the artwork, these children are the future peacemakers of the world.

“I love the spirit in little kids,” Sternberg said. “They have so much verve and fight, it’s endearing … and it’s going to take a fight for world peace.

“They have tenacity,” she added. “They can make a huge difference.”

For more information, visit on Genesis at the Crossroads.

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