All community members of the Santa Maria Valley are invited to celebrate peace in our community with the award-winning event, Peace Week.

Peace Week is sponsored by the People for Nonviolence Committee of Marian Medical Center and will take place Saturday, September 24, through Friday, September 30, 2011. This year marks the 15th Annual Peace Week and will feature a wide-variety of events and activities designed to bring the three diverse communities of Santa Maria, Orcutt and Guadalupe together in peace, harmony and unity.

“There is so much violence in the world, we have come together to focus on promoting and building peace now and for the future,” says Sister Janet Corcoran, O.S.F., Vice President of Mission Services at Marian Medical Center and Chair of the People for Nonviolence Committee. “Peace Week reminds us that one by one, we must be peacemakers.”

Peace Week began in 1996 under the inspired direction of Sister Janet Corcoran who saw the need for local leaders to help foster a community-wide commitment of unity and peace. Local educational, religious, business, medical and civic leaders have joined forces to put together an event which has historically drawn thousands of participants each year.

This year’s Peace Week will kick off with Respect for and Celebrating Cultural Diversity Day with the Cultural Diversity Neighborhood Fiesta on Saturday, September 24 beginning at 11:00 am at the Boys and Girls Club of the Santa Maria Valley, 901 N. Railroad Ave, Santa Maria. The Neighborhood Fiesta will feature a classic car show, children’s games, food, and informational booths and will go until 3:00 pm. Continuing Diversity Day, will be the 7th Annual Free 4 the Weekend Event beginning at 7:00 pm at the Abel Maldonado Center, 600 S. McClelland St., Santa Maria. This event is for 7th and 8th graders of the Santa Maria Valley who pledge to stay alcohol, tobacco, drug and violence-free. The event will feature games, food, activities, entertainment prizes and more for attending 7th and 8th graders, and will go until 11:00 pm.

Organizations involved this year’s Peace Week celebrations include the Boys and Girls Club of the Santa Maria Valley, the City of Santa Maria, Conflict Solutions Center, Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley, Marian Medical Center, Peace Chair Project, Santa Maria Bonita School District, Teen Court, the Santa Maria Police Department, WonHeart and many more.

The annual success of Peace Week is due to the commitment of the People for Nonviolence Committee members who continue to represent diverse cultures and occupations and Marian’s mission of wellness, health and healing. Marian’s People for Nonviolence Committee are made up of both Marian employees and actively involved community members. The names of the committee members include Sister Janet Corcoran, Mike Cordero, Lisa Murray, Bill Libbon, Alice Patino, Sandy Underwood, Maggie White, Al Rodriguez, Lisa Thornhill, Lisa Brunello, Jill Martin, Robert Burrs, Crystal Moreno, Agatha Shorter-Lewis, Jessa Squellati, Commander Craig Ritz, Father Masseo Gonzales, Trina Long, Catalina McIssac, Officer Rick Bendle, and Joelynn Lutz.

PEACE WEEK  :  September 24-30, 2011

Saturday, September 24 – Respect For and Celebrating Cultural Diversity Day

Cultural Diversity Neighborhood Fiesta – 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Maria Valley, 901 North Railroad Ave. Children’s games and activities, a classic car show, information booths, giveaways, face painting and more – all free! Food sales support local non-profit groups.

Free 4 The Weekend – Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley hosts its 7th Annual Free 4 the Weekend  event for 7th and 8th grade students who pledge to stay alcohol, tobacco, drug and violence-free. The event will be held at the Abel Maldonado Center, 600 S. McClelland St., from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. There will be free food, games, activities, entertainment, music, prizes and more. Contact 346-1774 for more information.

Sunday, September 25 – Celebrate Harmony Day

Community Concert Event, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., at the First United Methodist Church, 311 S. Broadway, This free musical event will feature musicians, vocalists, and local choirs including, Santa Maria High School’s Jazz Band, Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale, and many more. The focus of the evening’s performances is to promote peace and respect in the community.

Monday, September 26 – Peace in the Heart Day

A Peace Chair Presentation will take place at Juan Pacifico Ontiveros Elementary School sponsored by the Peace Chair Project and Peace Chair artists from Los Prietos Boys Camp. The brightly painted Peace Chairs feature words in several different languages that promote peacemaking and encourage calm, respectful problem solving.

Tuesday, September 27 – Inner Reflection Day

Musical Peace Showcase, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 402 S. Lincoln St. This free musical event will feature musicians, vocalists, and local choirs. The focus of the evening’s performances is to promote peace and respect in the community. Light refreshments will follow.

Wednesday, September 28 – Peace Through the Eyes of Our Children Day

Students will share their thoughts on peace through their school writing projects.

Teen Court presentations will be held at local junior high schools.

Thursday, September 29 – Respect for Mother Earth Day

Community members/organizations will adopt parks in Santa Maria and pick up litter, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Students at several schools in Santa Maria and Orcutt will pick up litter on their campuses and nearby neighborhoods. Environmental education programs will take place at some schools.

Friday, September 30 – Peace in the Community Day

Closing Ceremony and Community Luncheon, noon to 1:00 p.m., at the Abel Maldonado Center, 600 S. McClelland St. Please join us for a free light lunch, musical performances, the presentation of the 11th annual Community Peace Builder Award, an inspirational message and the release of doves.

All activities are FREE of charge and open to the community.

Sponsored by: PEOPLE FOR NONVIOLENCE COMMITTEE and MARIAN MEDICAL CENTER

For more information or questions about Peace Week 2011 please call Marian Communications at (805) 739-3580.