Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Damien Bielak, freshman at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, has folded 1,000 two-inch long, multi-colored origami cranes for child victims of domestic and sexual violence.
BROOKLYN, NY (Catholic Online) - Sometime last week, Bielak, 19, showed his creations to the senior director of Safe Horizon's Manhattan child Advocacy Center, Tiana Stowers Pearson. The center investigates all severe abuse cases, both physical and sexual, that involve children in Manhattan.
"Safe Horizon's role is to help the agencies coordinate their investigations," Pearson said. "Prior to having a center like this, a child would have to relive the horror of their story between 11 and 22 times because they would be taken to each agency individually to tell what happened. But here the child is interviewed once, with one person in the room with the child while the rest of the team watches via closed circuit television in another room. It allows the child tell their story one time. It also allows us to act very quickly."
Cranes represent luck and compassion in the Japanese culture. Bielak said he was inspired to make 1,000 origami cranes by Sadako Sasaki.
Sasaki was an 11-year-old girl who developed leukemia after radiation exposure from the nuclear bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima during World War II. The young girl made a goal to make 1,000 origami cranes; however, she died before reaching that number. In her honor, not only did her friends finished her goal but buried the cranes with her.
This is the third time Bielak has done 1,000 cranes, which is supposedly a magic number that grants a wish to those who receive the pieces of art. The first thousand was sent to the children center while the second thousand was given to victims in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
Bielak, also a victim of domestic violence, says he feels a special bond for the center.
"I want people to know we should use our abilities and talents to benefit others," he said. "Even simple things can make a big difference in people's lives. Because of my ability to use my hands I can make cranes for people. I'm using what I have to help people."
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.