On Peace Tree Day 2014, the Toronto Peace Tree Ambassadors spent their weekend organizing and celebrating their 9th Peace Tree Day fundraiser, a celebration of peace, diversity and fusion through the arts, that helps them raise funds for children less fortunate around the world.
Peace Tree Day, founded by teacher/filmmaker Mitra Sen, has been proclaimed in several cities since 2006 including Toronto, Ottawa, Boston, Windsor, Brampton, Vaughan, Markham and Stratford.
This year, the Sudbury Peace Tree Ambassadors at Copperfield P. S. wrote to their Mayor to proclaim Peace Tree Day and were delighted to be invited to meet the Mayor to receive the proclamation of the first Peace Tree Day in Sudbury.
In Toronto, the goal of the Peace Tree Ambassadors was to send at least one child to school through UNICEF Canada, but by the end of the day, through all their hard work, collaboration, and spirit, they were ultimately able to send ten children to school! Their excitement could not be contained as they kept surpassing their goal and sending more and more children to school. Their enthusiasm and energy was so contagious that the community could not help but support the wonderful and inspiring work the children were doing for children less fortunate around the world.
The Peace Tree Ambassadors’ homemade mango lassi popsicles and chaat papri were a huge hit at the Peace Tree Stand along with the Chinese rice crackers and the Afghan bread. Children were lined up to get their mehndi peace symbol created by Kaitlyn Wan, 10, who had become a great mehndi artist within minutes. Lena Black, 10, came fully prepared with her basket of potatoes, toothpicks, paints and paper, ready to teach Irish Potato Carving. Alyna Nanji-Jamal, 12, led the Dance Fusion and Peace Tree Trivia Workshop, while Grace Bilodeau, 12, had fun at the Chopsticks Challenge Corner. This year Priyana, 9, and Talina Sen Smet, 12, took on the roles to organize Peace Tree Day this year.
All the Peace Tree Ambassadors and the children attending had a very inspiring and exciting day experiencing all the cultural workshops led by the ambassadors and discovering new tastes of diversity, but their greatest joy came from knowing that all their effort and hard work could truly change the lives of ten children, so they could go to school.
The Peace Tree Ambassadors hope their initiative inspires other children around the world to start their Peace Tree Clubs and organize a Peace Tree Day celebration in their schools and community in the month of June which has been proclaimed Peace Tree month in the York Region School District.
As Gandhi once said, 'If we are to create peace in our world...we must begin with our children...' These children are certainly on their way to creating a new world filled with respect, compassion and hope for peace. Children and families interested in getting their school involved in celebrating the Peace Tree Spirit can visit peacetreeinternational.org.
'When a child discovers the magic of diversity, they have opened the window to peace and respect...' Mitra Sen