International Torch Relay Touts Peace at Harborside

A team of runners from the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home “Peace Run” recently spread its message of goodwill, harmony and friendship to Harborside Elementary School. The Peace Run, an international torch relay, visits schools and youth organizations to give multi-faceted presentations about peace.

It starts in the heart, organizers said.

The team that visited Harborside left from New York City in mid-April, passing the torch along the way before reaching Harborside in early June. The continuous relay will link Mexico, Canada and the U.S. during the four-month journey. It will cover more than 10,000 miles before the team arrives back in New York mid-August. Similar Peace Runs are occurring around the world.

Peace Run Executive Director Salil Wilson said it is important that students have the opportunity to reflect about what peace means to them.Harborside Peace Run-10

“As we’ve carried this torch through more than 100 countries, you really discover that there is more that unites people than divides,” Wilson said. “Inherently, there is a unifying element in humanity. We may not acknowledge it regularly. But it is there. Through the simple act of running with a torch, people intuitively understand what we are doing, and respond.”

Harborside Elementary Associate Principal Delia Diaz Ornelas said the presentation helped reinforce the school’s messages about friendship and anti-bullying.

“My hope is that students would leave with the message that we all take part in creating a culture and environment of peace,” Diaz Ornelas said. “We all have to play a role in that. They left feeling like they had the power to live with peace and share the message of peace. Any student is capable of making a difference.”

As part of the Peace Run presentation, the school presented a “Torch Bearer Award” to Instructional Aide Maria Mungia, who has worked in education 35 years; Vanessa Cass, Site Supervisor for the Harborside STRETCH program of the South Bay Family YMCA; and then-fourth grade student Analee Martinez, who created a movie about Harborside and what it means for the school to be a place for peace.

Of Mungia, Diaz Ornelas said: “What she enjoys most about working with children is to see how excited a student becomes when he or she finally starts reading or solving a difficult problem. She works with children because when she was younger she had many good and understanding teachers to help her along her way. She expresses satisfaction when, after many years she meets former students in our community, our restaurants, our shopping centers, and they tell her how much she helped them, and that they will always remember that help.”

Of “Mama” Cass, Diaz Ornelas said: “What energizes her is working with the Harborside community, watching the students in her care grow, and providing rich and meaningful programs for the children. That focus has earned her an award-winning program for STEM as well as for Child and Youth Development in health and nutrition. She is recognized as having the STRETCH program with the most activities.”

Of Analee, Diaz Ornelas said: “Not waiting for adulthood to make a difference, she has produced a documentary promoting empathy and peace for our community. The inclusive interviews involving community members, students, and staff gave this documentary a broad perspective on engaging peace here and now. This was shown to all grades from transitional kindergarten through sixth grade.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tags: , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: