Peggy brings kids from three religions together

Peggy StevensPeggy Stevens’s mind is clearly thinking ahead to a trip to Canobie Lake Park, the amusement park she is taking her Kids4Peace Boston brood to the next day.

“Basically, it’s from 8 o’clock in the morning to 8 o’clock at night,” she says, laughing. “And I can’t wait! They’re really wonderful to be with, and I’m excited.”

With her flashing bright eyes, and the constant cluster of children around her, Ms. Stevens is almost like Mother Ginger from “The Nutcracker” – that is, a Christian Mother Ginger who can do a perfect Jewish bread blessing and who looks forward to the iftar dinners that end the daily fast during Ramadan.

Stevens is the founder of Kids4Peace Boston, the Boston chapter of Kids4Peace International. Begun in Jerusalem in 2002, the nonprofit group runs centers in several US cities. The Boston center operates an interfaith summer exchange camp that brings together 12-year-olds of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths from Israel and the Palestinian territories with those from the Boston area to promote dialogue and leadership skill-building.

The participants spend a week at Camp Merrowvista in Center Tuftonboro, N.H., and then a week in Boston learning about interfaith communication.

The idea to open Kids4Peace Boston emerged after Stevens took a trip to Jerusalem.

“I had never done something that was explicitly about peace,” she says. “But it just seemed like something I should do because I could, and it seemed so important.”

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