On Valentine’s Day, the Springfield Peace Center held its eleventh annual Sweetness of Peace event in Shouvlin Center.
“The Sweetness of Peace fundraiser was started by our Springfield Peace Center Board,” stated Nanci Keller, director of the Springfield Peace Center. “Several Wittenberg professors and Steve Schlather wanted a happy, fun, family-friendly event that showcased important people in Springfield who were known to be giving and aware of others issues. The late Pastor Michael Wuchter — along with his wife Shirley — as well as Dr. Gilbert Ware (education dept), actually started the Peace Center.”
The non-profit Peace Center uses this event as a fundraiser for the summer’s Peace Camp.
“The week-long summer Peace Camp accepts the first 225 children ages four years to sixth grade who register after Easter to learn how to handle conflicts non-violently, how to handle bullies and to appreciate differences,” Keller said. “This Peace Camp stays free so ALL children can attend.
“All of the teachers and helpers who help at the Camp are volunteers,” she said. “Teens are trained in a free mediation training the week before Peace Camp at Wittenberg. They then take the training to their schools and help with children during Peace Camp.”
Many Wittenberg students volunteer at the Peace Center to meet their graduation requirement of community service.
“Since we are such a small non-profit, the work the community service students do with curriculum prep, art project preparation and cooperative games save us money,” she said.
Several Wittenberg volunteers were present at the event, helping to serve patrons, run raffles and take money.
For the event, 10 local organizations and bakeries such as Cake Creations, Sisters Surviving SMA, Jazzy Cakes and Sodexo donated cakes, cupcakes, cookies and other sweet treats. Patrons paid a $10 entrance fee, for which they got 10 tokens. They could exchange tokens for these baked goods, and people left with plates still full of delicacies.
In addition, patrons are put into raffles for door prizes, which included 30 and 60 minute massages, bouquets of flowers and pottery donated by a local artist.
Patrons were also given a slip on which they would vote on the sweetest “celebrity,” who got a special prize at the end of the event. This year, E. Jean Harper, owner of the Harper Mack Group, was the Sweetest.
“Many celebrities give away their votes so others can win and it becomes a light-hearted and fun competition,” Keller said.
This year, the event had over 200 patrons, and raised roughly $2,000 for this year’s Peace Camp.