May 17, 2005: Headlines: Figures: COS - Ethiopia: Insurance: State Politics: Union Democrat: John Garamendi hears tends Peter Yarrow of Operation Respect, a nonprofit he founded seven years ago to encourage kids to be compassionate, safe and respectful

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ethiopia: Special Report: California State Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi: April 4, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: RPCV John Garamendi (Ethiopia) : May 17, 2005: Headlines: Figures: COS - Ethiopia: Insurance: State Politics: Union Democrat: John Garamendi hears tends Peter Yarrow of Operation Respect, a nonprofit he founded seven years ago to encourage kids to be compassionate, safe and respectful

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-245-37.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.245.37) on Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 5:13 pm: Edit Post

John Garamendi hears Peter Yarrow of Operation Respect, a nonprofit he founded seven years ago to encourage kids to be compassionate, safe and respectful

John Garamendi hears Peter Yarrow of Operation Respect, a nonprofit he founded seven years ago to encourage kids to be compassionate, safe and respectful

John Garamendi hears Peter Yarrow of Operation Respect, a nonprofit he founded seven years ago to encourage kids to be compassionate, safe and respectful

Singer strikes chord with kids

Published: May 16, 2005

By ERIN MAYES

A gym-full of exuberant Valley Springs Elementary School students on Friday got to sing some of their favorite songs with a man who helped define the anti-war movement in the 1960s.

Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame strummed his guitar to such tunes as "Puff, the Magic Dragon," "A Frog Went a Courtin'" and the kids' favorite "Don't Laugh at Me."

Yarrow, 66, visits schools, camps and organizations across the nation as part of Operation Respect, a nonprofit he founded seven years ago to encourage kids to be compassionate, safe and respectful.

The organization disseminates material to schools designed to reduce ridicule, bullying and violence among children.

Valley Springs students treated the folk singer like a major celebrity, clapping and screaming following the final song of the day "If I Had a Hammer" which Peter, Paul and Mary sang at the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, D.C., where Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.

The students lined up for hugs, kisses and autographs from Yarrow after the show. Yarrow gladly took time with each child.

"(It) always surprises me," he said of the kids' reaction to him after the hour-long show was over. "They are completely original. Adults' responses rarely surprise me."

Also in attendance were Yarrow's pals, California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi and his wife Patti. The Garamendis' daughter, Autumn Hesser, and her husband Kevin Hesser both teach at Valley Springs Elementary. Yarrow happily sat the Hessers' 3-year-old, Bennie, on his lap and played with the boy during a short post-performance interview.

Among the messages Yarrow delivered to students was that of tolerance. In the song "A Frog Went a Courtin'," Mister Frog marries Miss Mouse in an unlikely pairing of species. Yarrow quickly related this to the topic of interracial relationships.

The song "Don't Laugh at Me" points out the many differences between people some wear glasses or are fat, skinny, homeless or disabled.

"Don't laugh at me, don't call me names, don't get your pleasure from my pain," the students sang.

The students were largely receptive to the New Yorker's message, although they did get tripped up when he threw the unexpected "I am gay, I am lesbian," into "Don't Laugh at Me," which elicited a roomful of laughs from the K-6 group.

Teachers on hand were as excited as the kids over Yarrow's presence and lined up to thank him for coming to the school.

"It was wonderful," Kevin Hesser said. "I think the kids really connect with the message. It hit a chord with them."

Contact Erin Mayes at emayes@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4539.





When this story was posted in May 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:


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May 7, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: May 7 2005 No: 583 May 7, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
"Peace Corps Online" on recess until May 21 7 May
Carol Bellamy taking the reins at World Learning 7 May
Gopal Khanna appointed White House CFO 7 May
Clare Bastable named Conservationist of the Year 7 May
Director Gaddi Vasquez visits PCVs in Bulgaria 5 May
Abe Pena sets up scholarship fund 5 May
Peace Corps closes recruiting sites 4 May
Hill pessimistic over Korean nuclear program 4 May
Leslie Hawke says PC should split into two organizations 4 May
Peace Corps helps students find themselves 3 May
Kevin Griffith's Tsunami Assistance Project collects 50k 3 May
Tim Wright studied Quechua at UCLA 2 May
Doyle not worried about competition 2 May
Dodd discusses President's Social Security plan 1 May
Randy Mager works in Blue Moon Safaris 1 May
PCVs safe in Togo after disputed elections 30 Apr
Michael Sells teaches Islamic History and Literature 28 Apr

May 7, 2005:  Special Events Date: May 7 2005 No: 582 May 7, 2005: Special Events
"Iowa in Ghana" on exhibit in Waterloo through June 30
"American Taboo" author Phil Weiss in Maryland on June 18
Leland Foerster opens photo exhibition at Cal State
RPCV Writers scholarship in Baltimore - deadline June 1
Gary Edwards' music performed in Idaho on May 24
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Story Source: Union Democrat

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Ethiopia; Insurance; State Politics

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