Students as far away as China and Italy are joining “Operation Sandy Hook: Peace to You,” an effort to fold and send at least 1,000 origami peace cranes to Newtown, Conn., in sympathy for victims of last week’s deadly shooting of schoolchildren and teachers.
The project is being led by a Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School student, Calista Frederick-Jaskiewicz, 16, of Wexford, through her role as founder and CEO of Origami Salami, a student organization promoting the ancient art of folding paper into shapes of animals.
Calista said the idea originated with Sebastian Tabares of Denver, the youngest among leaders of the seven nationwide Origami Salami chapters.
The peace crane idea took wing after Calista posted the following invitation on her group’s Facebook page:
“The seven chapters of Origami Salami invite the folders of the world to join us in folding peace cranes to send to the Sandy Hook Elementary School.”
Fueled by Internet postings of supporters, the project is receiving dozens of pledges from across the United States and around the world, including one from Origami Italia and another from Chinese students, to fold and send peace cranes.
Dana Hinders of About.com, posted a story about the project on her blog, stating, “Origami cranes are symbols of peace, love, and hope. By joining together to fold cranes for those affected by the shooting, we can offer a show of our support.”
Folders are asked to mail cranes before Jan. 1 to: Origami Salami, PO Box 1324, Wexford, PA, USA, 15090-1324.
“A number of teachers across the country are teaching the crane lesson plan and then sending in their classroom peace cranes,” said Calista.
“Origami Italia has posted photos of the rainbow cranes they are sending. All seven chapters of Origami Salami are folding. Boston has over 100; Denver folded at an Audubon Society of Greater Denver event on Saturday; Denver and Sugar Land are leading classes at school this week.”
Origami Salami has chapters in Pittsburgh, Boston, Cincinnati, Austin, Indianapolis, Denver and Sugar Land, Texas. “Folding for Good” is the name it goes by for community service projects.
Supportive Internet postings of the past few days include:
“Here is something positive and proactive that our kids can do (those old enough to know about the events in Connecticut) in response to their feelings and the need to reach out.” (Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented)
"What a wonderful idea…” (Supporting Gifted Learners)
“Any skilled in origami, here is a way to reach out.”(Math-Explosion.com)
Several organizations, said Calista, “are endorsing this as an effective way to help children deal with fear and grief generated by the tragedy.”
The folded paper cranes have become an international symbol of peace through the sad but inspiring story of Sadako Sasaki, a girl who survived the blast of the Hiroshima atomic bomb but died of leukemia 10 years later, at age 12, as a result of radiation exposure.
PA Cyber Charter School is Pennsylvania’s first, largest and most successful online public school serving students in grades K-12. It is fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The website is www.pacyber.org; the telephone number is 1.888.PACYBER (888.722.9237).