Westchester mother visualizes peace

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Melina Silvestro is excited to share her dream for the world at the Circles of Peace gathering in Mamaroneck’s Harbor Island Park. Photos/Charles Silvestro

By Caroline Flanagan
Members of the Mamaroneck community gathered at Harbor Island Park on Saturday, Sept. 21, to celebrate International Peace Day.

The event, a forming of a peace cirlce by participants, was organized by Circles of Peace, a group founded by local mother Hilde Friderichs to promote peace within the community.
Friderichs created Circles of Peace in January as a response to the Sandy Hook shootings in December 2012 to help people deal with the tragedy through mindfulness and visualization exercises.

“I felt so much numbness in the community and wanted to help people feel better,” Frideric­hs said.

The International Peace Day cir­cle was the group’s third event since its formation. Friderichs also held circles on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to encourage love and peace in the community by focusing on familial connections.
Thirty people attended the circle on Sept. 21, despite rain earlier in the day.

The attendees gathered at Harbor Island Park’s recreation building near the shore, where Friderichs had them write down their dreams for the world. Afterwards, her husband, Charles Silvestro, photographed the participants holding up their dreams. The photographs will be part of an exhibit in the Mamaroneck Public Library in January 2014.

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Mimi Zimmermann performs a piece on her flute during the Circles of Peace event.

Afterwards, Friderichs led the group in joining hands for a visualization exercise, encouraging the participants to find peace within themselves through love for their families.

The event also included a flute performance by Mimi Zimmermann and a reading about family by writer Donna Magnotta.Village of Mamaroneck Mayor Norman Rosenblum attended the event and praised Friderichs’ contributions to the community through Circles of Peace.

“I think that what this is, is a great example of a sense of community,” Rosenblum said. “I think the greatest asset the Village of Mamaroneck has is its volunteers, who will come up with great ideas to enhance the sense of community.”

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Chrisy Rinaldi and Toni Silvestro share their dreams on International Peace Day.

Attendee Jane Schumer, a first grade teacher at Daniel Warren Elementary School in Rye Neck, encouraged her students to attend as well after discussing peace and community in her classroom.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” she said. “People have to start with themselves and make peace with themselves and then it builds.”

Circles of Peace will hold monthly mindfulness meetings starting in October and the next peace circle event will be on Dec. 14, the first anniversary of the Newtown shootings.