From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 08:40:06


                      "GLOBAL NEIGHBORHOOD" 
                          by Eva Stimson 
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.--While some families at the Presbyterian Peacemaking 
Jubilee visited the United Nations Aug. 15, about 40 other parents, 
children and friends spent the day constructing a "global neighborhood." 
     Hedda Sharapan, associate producer of the television program "Mister 
Rogers' Neighborhood," got them started.  She had each family make a list 
of the buildings needed in a peaceful neighborhood. Each family group chose 
a building to construct. 
     Then the kids took over.  After several hours of cutting, taping and 
painting, cardboard refrigerator and stove cartons were transformed into a 
house, church, fire station, school, library and other buildings.  There 
was a veterinarian's office with a cardboard horse outside, a train station 
with a train and tracks, and an airport with egg-carton airplanes parked on 
crepe-paper runways. 
     Three-year-old Lucas and his mother built a Chinese restaurant with a 
giraffe-shaped window on one side and a wheelchair-accessible entrance in 
the back.  His mother, Susan Barnes, a pastor in Weatherford, Okla., said 
the best thing about the day's activity was that "I was not in charge.  I 
did not have to do anything but participate." 
     The tallest building in the neighborhood -- the Empire State Building 
-- was constructed by two friends from Gordon, Wis., 10-year-old Shane and 
8-year-old Matt.  They said they chose the Empire State Building because 
it's so big "you have to paint a lot, and we like to paint." 
     Gail Aichroth, a former art teacher from Bay Shore, Long Island, New 
York, came to the day's activity alone, but was "adopted" by 4-year-old 
Ethan and 7-year-old Nicholas from Schenectady, N.Y. She helped the boys 
and their mother make a church with a steeple and bell on top and pews 
inside.  The bustle of creative activity brought back old memories of her 
days teaching art to children, Aichroth said. "It was nice to get messy 
     Danny, 12, and Terry, 8, from Smithtown, Long Island, worked with 
their mother and 3-year-old adopted sister Meredith to build a soccer 
stadium.  Then they used a box to build the team bus.  The brothers said 
they were able to cooperate more in carrying out this project than they 
usually did at home. "I got along a lot better with my brother here," Danny 
     "I think the real point was to learn how to work together," said 
10-year-old Peter of Tenafly, N.J., who helped build the neighborhood 
doctor's office. 
     As tired parents and children gathered in the center of their 
"village" for a closing song and prayer, Sherapan said, "This has been a 
wonderful treat for me -- watching things grow out of nothing. 
     "There was a lot of helping going on," she added.  "A lot of sharing, 
compromising, caring. Take it with you." 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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