Podcast: 14th Annual Walk for Peace Celebrates ‘Unity in the Community’ Saturday in Haverhill

Haverhill High School's VIP Club during a prior March for Peace at GAR Park. (Courtesy photograph)

A walk to promote “Unity in the Community” takes place this Saturday, Oct. 2, in Haverhill.

The 14th annual Walk for Peace, under the direction of Violence Intervention and Prevention, known as VIP, also includes a cookout, speak out, face painting, music, color powder and more. Haverhill VIP Program Director Carol Ireland, a recent guest on WHAV’s morning program, detailed the program.

“We’ll start at GAR Park, go down Winter Street, make a left on Locust Street, down to Granite and Essex Street and out to Railroad Square. We’ll be coming down Washington Street, the entire way to Main Street. When we get to Main Street, we go up to City Hall and we will stop there for about 10 to 15 minutes to hear speeches from two of our young people,” she said.

At City Hall, participants will also hear from a special guest with a unique perspective.

“We’re very lucky to also have a woman by the name of Clarissa Turner who will also be speaking because we wanted to represent a mom who has been impacted by violence. She lost her son. She’s from Boston and has started an organization called ‘Legacy Lives On.’ We know that we have many people in our own community that have been impacted by violence and have lost, whether it’s to violence or to homicide or to suicide. We want to create more space for some of our survivors,” she said.

Ireland said those participating in the walk, approximately 1.5 miles in length, are asked to carry in support of the effort.

“We have some signs that we’ve been able to save, new ones we’ve made, please bring a sign with any message you care to about peace, respect”

Ireland said all people, young and old, are encouraged to participate in the Haverhill VIP Walk for Peace. It starts Saturday at 11 a.m. She said research conducted by Boston University School of Public Health indicates young people who have participated in the VIP program are less likely to be involved with a gang, physical fighting decreases, healthy relationship skills increase and there’s an improvement in self-esteem.

The Violence Intervention and Prevention program began in 2005 at Haverhill High School. It has grown to include students of all ages and partners with various groups and organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Haverhill, UTEC and YMCA.

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