When Peter Yarrow asked his friend Dolores Eyler to join the Operation Respect board of directors, she recalls feeling very flattered. The quality he wanted most from Eyler was her passion for the work.
“I was very flattered,” Eyler said. “I love Peter. He truly has heart and it controls all that he does. When he asked me if I would serve on the board, he didn’t say, ‘I want your time, your money.’ He said, “I want your passion.’”
So Eyler brought her passion to help lead the work of Operation Respect, an organization whose goals, whose mission (to foster mutual respect and conflict resolution among children) “moves her,” especially because the use of music factors so prominently in the organization’s work.
Music has and will continue to be the thread that connects the work of Operation Respect, Eyler said.
“Every one of our board meetings starts and ends with music. When you leave our board meetings, you feel so good. You start (the meeting) invigorated … you go throughout the day, and at the end you leave in a golden glow. It’s such an affirming process for such a good goal,” she said.
Eyler has personally observed Operation Respect’s curriculum in action, and she speaks to the power of watching children write their own music.
“Kids love music, their own words. They love to tell the story of their own school, their own personal experience through music. That’s a powerful message to send to children. It tells them: ‘We value you.’”
“I get chills watching our program in action. To see the path of growth that can occur in one day—whether it’s through teacher professional development or through our curriculum, I love the teaching we do. I want to cry. It’s very emotional.”
Eyler describes herself as a very curious and very interesting person—and that by learning the stories of others we develop empathy and understanding.
“Everyone has an interesting story.”
Dolores Eyler is the owner of The Rye Record Newspaper and business trainer.