Kids for Peace
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Kids for Peace is a global, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) youth organization dedicated to “uplifting our world through love and action.” The mission of Kids for Peace is to cultivate every child's innate ability to foster peace through cross-cultural experiences and hands-on arts, service and environmental projects. Kids for Peace has over 100 chapters, spanning six continents.
The programs of Kids for Peace are all guided by its Peace Pledge, which emphasizes leadership, service, kindness, respect, unity, stewardship, responsibility and action.
- I pledge to use my words to speak in a kind way.
- I pledge to help others as I go throughout my day.
- I pledge to care for our earth with my healing heart and hands.
- I pledge to respect people in each and every land.
- I pledge to join together as we unite the big and small.
- I pledge to do my part to create peace for one and all.
Kids for Peace believes that learning about different cultures is an important part of building peace. One of the principal activities of Kids for Peace chapters is sending Peace Packs to other children around the world. Peace Packs are hand-painted knapsacks filled with school supplies, toiletries, a toy, and a personal note of friendship. Prior to making Peace Packs, Kids for Peace members learn about the culture of the recipients, often from a guest speaker who has lived there.
Peace Hero Awards
Each year, Kids for Peace chooses a Peace Hero, a well-recognized role model chosen by the children of Kids for Peace. Peace Heroes are selected based on their living by the words of the Peace Pledge, their contribution to making the world a better place and the way they inspire youth to be their best selves. Past Peace Hero award recipients are Tony Hawk (2009), Rob Machado (2008) and Frances Fisher (2007). Nominees for the 2010 Peace Hero award are Bindi Irwin, Jane Goodall, Dwayne Johnson and Jack Johnson.
The Great Kindness Challenge
In 2008 Kids for Peace launched an annual event called The Great Kindness Challenge. It takes place on the second Saturday in August and is open to youth of all ages. The Great Kindness Challenge is one day where kids around the world dedicate themselves to performing as many acts of kindness as possible, using a checklist of 50 suggestions. These acts of kindness range from holding the door open for someone to cleaning up a local park to making sack lunches for homeless people. In 2009, The Great Kindness Challenge involved at least 35 countries, in six continents. The next one will be held on August 14, 2010.
Kids for Peace published its first book, Peace Through Our Eyes: A Book of Hope and Inspiration, in 2008. It features words and drawings by kids responding to the question “What does peace mean to you?” Fulfilling its intention to make this a biannual project, Kids for Peace is now producing its second book, Wish Big: Children’s Wishes for the World. This book, to be published by the summer of 2010, will feature children’s drawings answering the question, “What is my wish for the world?”
Kids for Peace was founded in 2006 in Carlsbad, California by Danielle Gram, then a high school student, and Jill McManigal, mother of Hana and Bodhi and a children’s playwright and director.
Ms. Gram’s work in creating Kids for Peace contributed to her selection as a winner of the Nestlé Very Best in Youth Award in 2007. Danielle Gram recently graduated from Harvard University and is currently working in Pader, Uganda, teaching life skills to child victims of the Lord's Resistance Army. Ms. Gram's service work and travels can be followed on her blog.
Ms. McManigal, a former elementary school teacher, is now the Executive Director of Kids for Peace. In November 2009, Ms. McManigal received a Bank of America Local Hero award, recognizing her work through Kids for Peace.
From the initial gathering of neighborhood children in Ms. McManigal’s home, the organization has grown to over 100 chapters worldwide, spanning all six inhabited continents. Countries as diverse as Australia, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, Greece and Mongolia are now home to Kids for Peace chapters.
- Kids Working for Peace, Christian Science Monitor, April 9, 2008.
- Kids for Peace Goes Global, NBC San Diego, September 2009.
- Peace Prize, NBC San Diego, 2008.
- The 2007 Winners, Nestlé, 2008.
- $200,000 Grants Given to Two Nonprofits, Bank Also Rewards 5 Community Leaders, San Diego Union Tribune, November 5, 2009.