PEACE Weaving Wholeness Organizational History
Peace Education Action Compassion and Empowerment (PEACE) Weaving Wholeness is a nonprofit in Saint Louis, Missouri founded in 2015. PEACE Weaving Wholeness grew out of qualitative research conducted by the organization's Founder, Dr. Paulette Sankofa, through the Research Fellows Training (CRFT) program through the Washington University School of Medicine, School of Public Health. The project, The New Face of Homelessness, examined concerns of homeless women ages 45-64 and informed the creation of PEACE Weaving Wholeness. Dr. Sankofa is also a fabric artist and alum of the Community Arts Training (CAT) program through the Regional Arts Commission.
Since 2015, we have grown to become a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC). We are the first NORC in the City of St. Louis. The Sankofa Culture and Art Wellness Village Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC supports seniors aging in place. in zip codes 63101, 63106, 63107, 63107, 63108 (Park View Senior Building), 63113, 63115 and throughout north St Louis and adjacent areas in the City of St. Louis. These are neighborhoods with families, vibrant individuals, businesses, faith communities, and PEACE Weaving Wholeness is also located within this community. These are also areas with some of the highest health disparities.
Aging can be an exciting and enjoyable time of life. However, social isolation is an increasing problem among many older adults that impacts health, well-being, and cultural connections. Over the next 15 years, projections include a 73% increase in older African-Americans (Administration for Community Living, 2018). With that increase in the older population,
there is a critical need in the neighborhoods we serve to combat isolation, and increase health and wellness, improve economic wellness, and sense of rootedness. Our long-term goal is to bring older adults together through our NORC to experience a cultural community that will support them throughout the year and impacts health-related quality of life allowing them to age in place in familiar communities with old friends while also making new friends.
We are building on the arts and cultural community that currently exists in our zip codes to create a space specifically inviting for seniors to engage, feel empowered, and advocate for themselves. Our programming is year-round. In July 2020 we hosted We’ve Got the Power which was our 2nd annual summer camp. This year the event was virtual due to the COVID19 pandemic, and more than 50 seniors participated. With funding from the Marillac Mission Fund, each senior received a new Chromebook and support in learning the use of Zoom. Our fall session begins in October 2020 and registration ends September 13, 2020. Join us in the fun!
We believe all Seniors can embrace who they are,
can define their future, and can continue to change the world.
We seek to build stronger connections that will serve seniors, many of whom fall through the cracks of social services. We will offer opportunities to gather for both people in homes and those in senior centers. Through focus groups, seniors have told us they seek someplace to socialize, gain new skills and knowledge and to seize their own power. We are creating an environment that fosters openness, transparency, and encouragement for seniors to become empowered, and advocate for themselves. We want seniors to be motivated to get involved in programming put on by their own community and interface with decision making organizations
to have a voice. We use arts and culture to engage seniors. Our programs are built from the ground up, by having instructors and staff listen to the concerns of this community. Because of this, our programs will strive to match the culture and history of individual neighborhoods to best serve their residents. This will not be a cookie approach, but one individualized by neighborhood, such as Vander Lou, Hyde Park, and Old North, and by specific site.
Rev. Paulette Sankofa, Ed.D., is an Ordained Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Founder and CEO of Peace Education Action Compassion and Empowerment (PEACE) Weaving Wholeness whose mission is to help senior women and men heal and remain whole. She is a graduate of the Community Research Fellows Program at Washington University School of Medicine, School of Public Health. She was the Lead Researcher on a community-based project entitled The New Face of Homelessness: health needs and concerns of homeless women.
She is the former Associate Academic Dean at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her career has extended to Minnesota where she served as Assistant Professor and Bush Foundation Post-doctoral Diversity and Democracy Scholar-in-Residence for the University of St. Catherine’s Center of Excellence. She was the Principle Investigator of The Sankofa Project Education and Fostering of Resilience in African American Adolescent Girls: Dr. Sankofa holds a B.A. in Psychology and Masters in International Relations focusing on Peace and Peacemaking as it Relates to Women and Children, from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. She holds a second Masters degree in Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, and a Doctorate of Education in Critical Pedagogy from the University of St. Thomas, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her dissertation title was “Sankofa” Reaching Back to Embrace and Reclaim What We Left Behind: Toward a Critical Womanist Pedagogy of Education for African-American Early Adolescent Girls. In addition, she developed Critical Womanist Ethnographic research method (2003).
She is an established painter and fabric artist and a member of the ZUKA Artist Guild. She was a contributing writer for Sister to Sister Devotions Volume I: Devotions to & from African American Women (Pilgrim Press, 1999), and Sage Sisters: Essential Lessons for African American Women in Ministry (Pilgrim Press, 2008). She is the author of the forthcoming book Black St. Louis Women’s Quilting and Cuisine: Stories of Love and Hope to be released in fall 2020. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Old North Restorations Group, and in her leisure time, she is an avid gardener, gourmet cook, and the human of her four-legged beloved doggie, Baby Girl.