By Jennifer Solis
---- — MERRIMAC — When 14-year-old Madelyn Nelson took marker in hand, she embraced the idea that peace begins at home.
The result is a peace button that is the winning entry in a “What Peace Means to Me” contest hosted by the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center.
Her submission was chosen from among 75 entries after the public was invited to vote for their favorite entry on Facebook. Her artwork was then reproduced as a pin to promote awareness during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.
This is the second time in two years that Madelyn’s submission has won. Madelyn and her twin sister, Jennifer, daughters of Jan and Bob Nelson of Merrimac, are ninth-graders at Pentucket Regional High School and come from a family that believes strongly in the power of peace. Both girls and their father have run in the Dorothy’s Run 5K sponsored by the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center for the last two years.
“One of the activities (before the run) is to have all the kids gather at a table and draw a design about peace, with a winner chosen as the design for the next year’s button. Maddie’s design won two years in a row,” Jan Nelson said.
Maddie says inspiration for this year’s button came directly from the mission of the crisis center.
“The whole idea behind Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center is to prevent domestic violence and give peace to the families and victims of domestic violence,” she said. “I drew a globe of the Earth with a border that said,`Peace at home, Peace at work, and Peace at school.’”
Madelyn’s button was distributed to walk participants for the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center Walk Against Domestic Violence on Sept. 30. She is receiving a $25 Newburyport Gift Certificate from the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Suzanne Dubus, CEO of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, sees the “What Peace Means to Me” campaign as a way to reach young people with a message of peace at an age when they are most receptive to hear it.
“It is important that we reach out to them with a message of non-violence,” Dubus said.
For 30 years, the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center has been helping individuals and families at risk because of domestic violence. The nationally recognized nonprofit organization serves victims of domestic violence from Amesbury, Merrimac, Georgetown, Newbury, Newburyport, Rowley, Salisbury, West Newbury,and Groveland. Itaims to empower community members to live free from fear, intimidation, violence or the threat of abuse by providing support, advocacy and education.
For more information on the crisis center, call 978-465-0999, visit www.jeannegeigercrisiscenter.org or contact the 24-hour confidential crisis hotline at 978-388-1888.