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July 12, 2010

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 961-6682


(Left to Right) Warren-Prescott student Aidan Kelly, Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral, Warren-Prescott Principal Dr. Dominic G. Amara, and Warren-Prescott student Brian Santvil.

Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral was recently invited to attend a Peace Conference held at the Warren–Prescott Middle School in Charlestown. Principal Dr. Dominic Amara greeted Sheriff Cabral, State Representative Eugene O’Flaherty and a handful of other leaders representing organizations such as the Boston Police Department and Charlestown Lacrosse.

Principal Amara said that the idea about having a peace day was discussed while walking around the neighborhood with Registered Nurse Patricia Simpson. Simpson broached the subject of having a peace conference and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Kids see violence as a part of their daily lives and they develop their own tools to deal with these issues,” said Dr. Amara. “By holding a peace conference, it will help our children to incorporate some of the information they are given by the participants into their resources. There is no cookie–cutter approach to dealing with violence and someone like Sheriff Cabral might have some good tools to help our students.”

Nurse Simpson started teaching a peace curriculum to youngsters following the September 11th attacks on the United States. She has taken her peace program to various housing projects, Boys & Girls clubs, and other local schools. She incorporates materials that help students discuss their thoughts and feelings by incorporating music, art, reading and even poetry into her program. She focuses the peace curriculum around these mediums to help youngsters open up, relate and understand the message of peace.

Students at the Warren–Prescott had designed posters about peace, which draped the walls of the auditorium where Sheriff Cabral and Rep. O’Flaherty spoke to the 6–8th graders. Sheriff Cabral spoke with the group of students about her role as Sheriff and discussed with them their feelings around violence and the importance of thinking about their futures.

“There is a lot that you can do even as young as you are,” Sheriff Cabral said. “There is a lot that you can do to promote peace and it really starts with you feeling peaceful within. You have a lot of control over the environment that you live in. You can chose who your friends are. You make that choice.”

“You can make choices to hang around people who aren’t going to bully you or other people around you,” Sheriff Cabral continued. “There are more people who are not bullies than people who are bullies. If you see someone being bullied, you can do something about it. Maybe you are a friend of the person that is being bullied. You can choose to spend time with that person or maybe you choose to say to the bully, ‘Don’t do that. You can’t do that around me.’”

When asked by students to identify the part of her job that she found to be the toughest, Sheriff Cabral was emphatic in her reply.

“Everyday in some way, I see people who never realized what they are capable of, never realized their potential, and who don’t have any hope that they can be anything better than what they are right now,” Sheriff Cabral said. “Their world is very small and they think this is going to be their existence. I hope you hear it a lot in your life about how important you are. You literally have your whole life ahead of you and the potential to do anything, and the worst thing that can happen to any person anytime is to stop believing that they can achieve something or think that they can only do bad things to get ahead.”

“Your character is really who you are and really says a lot about you,” Sheriff Cabral went on. “When you make the right decisions – when they are the hardest decisions to make – that strengthens your character. But, you definitely have to work for it – you have to believe that you are capable of achieving anything you want to achieve – don’t let anyone stand in your way, and just keep going – stay on that path.”

Following the presentation, Dr. Amara expressed his gratitude for Sheriff Cabral’s visit.

“We are extremely pleased that the Sheriff took the time to work with our students,” said Dr. Amara. “Prevention is by far the most effective way of helping students so that they don’t have problems later in life. We are very happy that she was able to have such an impact on our students.”

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