Peace Nook celebrates 20 years

The non-profit group celebrated with a party at Stephen's Lake Park.
Mid-Missouri Peaceworks Director Mark Haim makes peace signs while showing off his hula hoop skills during the Peace Nook's 20th Anniversary on Sunday at Stephens Lake Park. During the celebration, attendees were treated to free T-shirts, music, vegetarian food and other activities.

The Peace Nook, a store in Columbia known for promoting a peaceful lifestyle, celebrated its 20th anniversary Sunday at Stephens Lake Park. The event featured performances, food and games for Columbia residents to celebrate the not-for-profit establishment.

Mark Haim, Director of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, said the success of the store is due to the enthusiasm of volunteers.

"One of the keys to our success is the commitment of our volunteers," Haim said. "Without the volunteers, we wouldn't be celebrating the anniversary."

Columbia residents and students from all backgrounds came to support the event, which gave guests an opportunity to win Peace Nook shirts, join a nature walk and participate in cooperative activities and games.

Haim said these activities encourage cooperation and collaboration among people of all ages, rather than competition and seeking control.

"These games are a great way of learning both the power of cooperation and how much fun we can have when we do things together," he said.

One of the activities made participants find other players with their eyes closed and arms extended. Freshman Chris Coucy said after playing the games, she learned that competition is not always the equivalent of having a good time.

"Winning is not really that important for fun," she said.

Cooperation was not the only message being promoted during the anniversary. Tables with sign-up lists for guests featured brochures and pamphlets offering steps on how to maintain a carbon-free and nuclear-free lifestyle. The flyers also encouraged residents to support local farmers and use solar power.

Peace Nook staff member Meghan Keeler said she was unsure of how to live sustainably but is continuing to learn about incorporating environment-friendly habits into her life.

"Sustainability applies to all aspects of life," she said. "I'm learning how to operate less and less with a vehicle and learning about different foods."

Keeler said one of the lessons she has learned from working at the Peace Nook is people are attempting to learn about different forms of living. She said she supports exposing young children to the environment for their own benefit.

"I think that the earlier children get into the outdoors and woods, it stops being just a concept," Keeler said.

Guests at the event also watched performances from local acts, including Lee Ruth and John McHale. Nurse Mary Beth Tinker said she wanted to take advantage of the nice day by coming to the event.

"It's a beautiful day and a chance to be with others who want peace in the world," she said. "Young children need a world of peace."

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