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 create peace through youth leadership, community service, global friendships, and thoughtful acts of kindness. Our vision is a safe and peaceful world where all people respect and care for each other and our planet. Kids for Peace serves as a model and inspiration for creating this reality with children leading the way, not only for today, but for generations to come. Kids for Peace has over 100 chapters, spanning six continents.
The programs of Kids for Peace are all guided by its Peace Pledge'.
- 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 Kids for Peace children. A Peace Hero lives by the words of our Peace Pledge, contributes in a positive way and inspires us each to be our best self. A Peace Hero makes our world a better place. http://kidsforpeaceglobal.org/peace-hero/ Past Peace Hero award recipients are Jason Mraz (2017), Stedman Graham (2016), Susan Sarandon (2015), Ben Harper (2014), Ellen DeGeneres (2011), Jane Goodall(2010), Tony Hawk (2009), Rob Machado (2008) and Frances Fisher (2007).
The Great Kindness Challenge
In 2008 Kids for Peace launched an annual event called the Great Kindness Challenge http://www.greatkindnesschallenge.org Kids for Peace members, along with their friends and family, were encouraged to complete as many acts of kindness as possible from a kid-created checklist. In 2011, at the request of a local school dealing with the challenges of bullying, Kids for Peace was asked to create a special checklist specifically for schools and, from that, the Great Kindness Challenge-School Edition was born! Provided to schools at no cost, the GKC School Edition invites students, faculty and staff to complete as many acts of kindness as they can from a 50 item checklist during the last week of January each year. The program was piloted in 2012 with 3 schools in Carlsbad, California and it grew by leaps and bounds. As of 2018, nearly 20,000 schools have participated. During the 2018 Great Kindness Challenge, 10,546,421 students from 103 countries performed over 500 MILLION acts of kindness; 527,321,050 to be exact. This year, with the support of Hasbro's Be Fearless Be Kind campaign, Kids for Peace expanded further and now offers the Great Kindness Challenge-Family Edition which is for everyone, everywhere and can be completed at anytime!
At the heart of The Great Kindness Challenge is the simple belief that kindness is strength. We also believe that as an action is repeated, a habit is formed. With the Great Kindness Challenge checklist in hand, people everywhere have the opportunity to repeat kind act after kind act. As kindness becomes a habit, peace becomes possible.
The Great Kindness Challenge is a grassroots movement that is making our schools, communities, and world a kinder and more compassionate place for all. Working together, we joyfully prove that KINDNESS MATTERS!
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 has since produced 3 more books, Wish Big: Children’s Wishes for the World, Create the Change: A Kids' Guide to Transforming the World, and Kindness Matters: 50 Ways to Create a Kinder World . Each book is written and illustrated by children and teens. http://kidsforpeaceglobal.org/product/peace-through-our-eyes-a-book-of-hope-and-inspiration/
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.