Toys for Peace a How-To Manual
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Violent Toy Trade-Ins Completed
Pheonixville Area Violence Prevention Network
Graham Elementary School
In addition to trading in their violent toys and games, children participated in multiple peace activities including a special theatrical performance about peaceful conflict resolution, and "Play for Peace" activities that introduced the children to fun, nonviolent activities and games that included principles of teamwork, sportsmanship and friendship.
Evanston Task Force on Safety & Civility
The Evanston, IL YMCA was the site of the first violent toy trade-in held by the Evanston Task Force on Safety & Civility. This event was held in conjunction with a gun buy-back program organized by the Evanston Police Department. Youth participants at the toy trade-in were rewarded with a certificate of recognition as well as a coupon for a free swim or open gym at the Evanston McGaw YMCA. A peace sculpture to commemorate this event is was constructed using the 70+ toys that were collected.
Hooker Dunham Theatre and Gallery was the site for a violent toy trade-in sponsored by local Americorps Members. Entertainment included a show by The National Marionette Company, and an art exhibit produced by local children. The peace sculpture created from toys traded- in at the event is currently on display at a local store. Children can actually stop by at any time and drop off their violent toys.
A group of Rockford College students, encouraged by psychology professor Dr. Belinda Wholeben, organized a violent toy trade-in as part of a Community-Based Learning Project (CBL). This service project was completed in conjunction with two local groups: P.H.A.S.E./W.A.V.E. (Personal Health/Abuse Services and Education Working Against Violent Environments) and Parents Care and Share of Childrens Home & Aid Society of Illinois. In addition to gifts of non-violent toys, children in attendance were treated to a special appearance of McGruff the Crime Dog, the National Crime Prevention Councils mascot.
AmeriCorps, VISTA at the Institute for Global Education and Service Learning
A violent toy trade-in was held as part of The Institute for Global Education and Service Learnings literacy event at two Philadelphia city schools Brown Elementary and Richmond Elementary. In exchange for a violent toy, students were awarded with a book of their choice. (Over a thousand books were donated from local stores and organizations.) Classes with the most participation were given a book with a corresponding CD-Rom. About 400 toy guns were collected, which were given to the schools art teachers who worked with the students to create their own peace sculptures.
The William C. Sims Recreation Center
As part of a community coalition to reduce the risk of gun violence, the Peace Toys for War Toys, campaign had its fourth successful annual toy trade-in. Winston Salem Police Chief George Sweat was on hand to disarm and decommission all collected toy weapons. Sponsors of the event included North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, Winston Salem Police Department, and Winston Salem Coca-Cola.
Webster Montessori School
In an effort to demonstrate The Lion & Lamb Projects mission on a local level, the students of Webster Montessori School sponsored a violent toy trade- in. State Assemblyman David Koon, presented a speech stressing the importance of peace and safety. Informative packets covering topics such as media violence and conflict resolution were distributed, and peace collages created by the students were displayed. Recycling artist, Dawn Sheri Barker, transformed the collected toys into a peace sculpture in the image of a lion and lamb resting together peacefully.
Scotch Town Hills Elementary School
Do I think (the sculpture) is going to change the world? No. Do I think its going to get people thinking? Yes, stated Ruth Walls, the lead organizer of several recent toy trade-ins in Laurel County Maryland. Hundreds of toys collected from violent toy trade-ins held in several schools were attached to a structure in the shape of the word NO, and will be displayed at several local elementary schools.
Michigan Education Association
In observance of the annual Day of National Concern About Young People and Gun Violence, the Michigan Education Association partnered with the Lansing, MI police Department to hold a violent toy trade-in. Over 1,000 violent toys were exchanged for $10 gift certificates from local merchants. Artist Mark Chatterly transformed to violent toys into a peace sculpture. At the unveiling of the sculpture, Michigan Attorney General Jennifer Granholm compared the sculpture to the skull and bones design associated with poisonous items, and stated that violent toys are poison to our children.
Palmetto Elementary School
Palmetto Elementary School held a raffle for children who turned in violent toys. Other scheduled activities included Peaceful Play Stations, speakers, and the creation of a Peace Sculpture with the collected toys.
Capital Children's Museum
We unveiled our National Peace Sculpture at the Capital Children's Museum in Washington, DC on Martin Luther King Day. The house-shaped sculpture was formed with violent toys donated by children nationwide as part of Lion & Lambs 10,000 Toy Campaign. Thank you to all the children and communities who helped us reach this goal!
Jefferson County Attorney's Office
In a county where several children have shot and killed other children, County Attorney Irv Maze decided to sponsor a violent toy trade-in as a statement that violence is not child's play. Two of the "poster toys" that were turned in include a Playstation Game called "Project Overkill" that is rated for adults, but was brought in by a five-year-old; and a Chucky doll (from the R-rated movie Chucky) that is rearing back, ready to attack with a knife, also brought in by a young child. Community businesses donated coloring books, playing cards, whistle rings and coupons for the exchange.
University Park Church of Brethren
The University Park Church of the Brethren held a bake sale and had children's games during this Violent Toy Trade-In. Children discussed nonviolence and received certificates for turning in violent toys.
Washington-Caldwell School District
The Washington-Caldwell School District held a Violent Toy Trade-In as part of their "Violence Free Plan." In exchange for violent toys, each child received a Lion-Hearted Certificate and an educational toy from ZanyBrainy.com.
Zany Brainy, ZanyBrainy.com - virtual collection
In the largest-ever one day Violent Toy Trade-In, families were encouraged to turn in their violent toys at any of 103 Zany Brainy stores around the country. In exchange, children receive an age-appropriate non-violent toy valued at $15. Zany Brainy also conducted the first ever virtual Toy Trade-In by encouraging families to mail in violent toys.
Joining Hands For Peace
Joining Hands For Peace conducted a city-wide Violent Toy Trade-In over Veteran's Day Weekend. The organization worked with veterans' groups to emphasize Lion & Lamb's message that violence is not child's play. Children received certificates for bringing in violent toys and participated in a drawing for extra prizes.
The Children's Advocacy Center
This event was held as part of YWCA's Week Without Violence with help from the Bristol, VA Sheriff's and Police Depts. Kids received goodies, grab-bags and a $5 coupon from Wal-Mart for trading in violent toys.
YWCA of Carlisle, PA
The YWCA of Carlisle held the "Cool Down Olympics" to teach conflict resolution skills as part of the Week Without Violence. Coloring fast, taking 10 deep breaths and playing with clay, were among the techniques used to cool down. There were games and crafts, story-telling, and books given to every child. This was the second year the YWCA of Carlisle has participated in the Toys For Peace campaign.
YWCA of Oklahoma City, OK
The YWCA of Oklahoma City worked with two schools to make this collection a success. A local CBS affiliate highlighted the upcoming Toy Trade-In for two weeks prior to the event. During the event, children took part in face-painting, parachute games, friendship bracelet making, and making hand-made wooden tops with a woodturner's group. Children received coupons for free pizza, ice cream and discounts for sporting goods.
Buchanan Counseling Center
Total violent toys collected: 920
Fourth St. United Methodist Church
Pastor Norval Brown encouraged children to turn in violent toys during Sunday services. During the service, Pastor Brown explained, "...we aren't born knowing how to be violent; it is something we are taught, and toys such as these are teaching children how to be violent and suggesting that it is okay."
Stand For Children
Close to 500 people attended the Stand For Children event in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. After trading in violent toys, children took part in potato sack races, balloon tosses and many other activities offered at the festival. Organizer Kelly McMahan says the event went so well that she plans to hold another one next year.
Linda Shapiro has been working since 1997 to help The Lion & Lamb Project end the merchandising of violence to children. She began a violent toy collection at local stores and public places in May, 1999.
Stand For Children
Families gathered near the Washington Monument on a Tuesday evening to enjoy peaceable play and trade in violent toys. Gail Schleuning, who co-sponsored the event with Bright Horizons Childcare Center, organized a wide variety of activities including live music, face-painting, storytelling, and juggling. Children who brought violent toys traded them in for nonviolent toys and books.
KingderDreams toy store
Over 2,500 action figures, guns, arrows, and swords were traded in for 1,800 yo-yos at the Eastcourt Mall in Cornwall, Ontario in a four-hour trade-in. Kevin Rivette, who organized the event, expected to give away up to 1,500 yo-yos but the turnout exceeded his expectations. The Ontario Provincial Police Service and Crime Stoppers also took part. The plastic toys, brought in by over 2,000 people, were melted down after the trade-in.
St. Joseph School
About 550 students at St. Joseph School (grades one through eight) were asked to turn in one or more violent toys, games or comic books as a way of showing their desire for a safer and more peaceful world. This is the second year the school co-sponsored a toy trade-in with Lion & Lamb. Because of the ambitious goal, this school received a lot of attention from both local and national media. "I believe this campaign really sensitized both parents and students to the issue of violent play," organizer Janice Wilkerson reported.
Connecticut Children's Medical Center
All third graders in Hartford, CT public schools will participate in a toy gun exchange by the end of the 1998-99 school year. The toy gun exchange is part of a gun violence prevention program sponsored by the children's hospital. As part of this program, children sign a pledge to stay away from all types of guns. At the end of the school year, local artists will transform the toy guns into a peace sculpture.
YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh
Four more trade-ins are scheduled in Pittsburgh in addition to the ones held during the Week Without Violence. YWCA trainers will speak to children about the messages that violent toys promote, and encourage the children to turn in one of their violent toys as an expression of their desire for a more peaceful world. These events will be part of a Pittsburgh gun turn-in event called Goods for Guns, which will involve at least five schools.
Build the Peace Lehigh Valley
This toy trade-in is part of a nonviolent toy fair at the Wesley United Methodist Church that attracts more than 550 people. The fair, called Peaceful Productions, includes a concert by Dave Fry as well as peace-building activities such as "kindness gifts," and "peaceful playdough."
YWCA of Carlisle, PA
This toy trade-in had a festival atmosphere, with children's activities such as storytelling, crafts and cooperative games. Parents were be treated to more serious fare, with the opportunity to learn some family mediations skills. This was a toys-for-books swap, with books being donated by the Book-of-the-Month Club and Scholastic Books.
Children's Peace Pavilion
The event was held at the UN Peace Plaza, where children helped sculptor Julie Garwood build a Peace Sculpture. The trade-in included a chalk graffiti peace mural, as well as several children's entertainers. The event complemented two exhibits now running at the Peace Pavilion: a peace tapestry that children are weaving together, and an international peace poster contest.
YWCA of Binghamton & Broome Counties
This upstate New York YWCA sponsored a "Toys for Peace Campaign" during the YWCA's Week Without Violence. The YWCA encouraged all the children in the community to bring in a violent toy during this week, each child received a Lionhearted Certificate as well as a booklet of discount coupons. The YWCA also provided children with a list of alternative activities that do not rely on violence as a theme.
YWCA of Pottsville, PA
A giant white dove served as the basis for the Peace Sculpture to be built in Pottsville. Violent toys collected at this event were hung on the dove at a special event. The toy trade-in was held in conjunction with a student essay contest about alternatives to violence in schools. These events focusing on nonviolence and reconciliation have a special relevance to Pottsville, which was the site of a recent KKK rally.
YWCA of Northwest Louisiana
Children from five elementary schools worked with sculptor Lynn Bennifeld to build a Peace Sculpture from the violent toys they brought in. The sculpture will be displayed at the Tower Gallery in Shreveport, and then return to the YWCA. A violent toy trade-in seems especially relevant to this community, because of the recent deaths of several children due to gun violence.
YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh
This event reached about 350 children at 10 day care centers around Alleghany County. YWCA trainers spoke to the children about the messages that violent toys promote, and encouraged the children to turn in one of their violent toys as an expression of their desire for a more peaceful world. Some of the children created their own rag Peace Dolls as part of this initiative, and others received Beanie Baby lambs. This activity will continue in December, as part of a Pittsburgh gun turn-in event called Goods for Guns, which will involve at least five schools. Four more events are scheduled to take place before the end of the year.
YWCA of Bethlehem
The Bethlehem YWCA sponsored toy trade-ins at five different community locations during the Week Without Violence. All 1,300 third graders at Bethlehem were invited to participate, and trade-in their violent toys for nonviolent playthings donated by Discovery Toys. The YWCA also sponsored a poster contest with the theme "A World Without Violence."
Dallas Peace Center
The Dallas Peace Center co-sponsored a trade-in with the Caesar Chavez Learning Center. The TAFFY (Toys Are For Fun Yall) bear distributed prizes to the children.
YWCA of Danville
The violent toys collected at this event were transformed into Peace Sculptures the shape of butterflies, and are being displayed at area banks, the public library, the YWCA lobby and other locations. The butterfly Peace Sculptures will also serve as traveling exhibits in the community throughout the coming year. This trade-in was held in a festival atmosphere including storytelling, magicians, clowns and puppets.
YWCA of Decatur and Macon Counties
Sculptor Tibor Baron built a Peace Sculpture from violent toys collected during October. This event included Head Start students as well as elementary school children. The Peace Sculpture was unveiled following a March Against Violence.