Little Friends For Peace is going international with the help of Kirin Taylor. Kirin helped teach the peace lesson workshop in Vienna. It was called "Live Peace, Teach Peace" and was developed from MJ and Jerry's book. Kirin has been a huge part of Little Friends For Peace and spreading our message. She has worked as our summer camp coordinator after attending LFFP camp herself and she has now established peace club in Rome, Italy. Kirin was offered the opportunity by a woman she met at a peace conference hosted by the international peace bureau in Berlin and has helped spread LFFP’s message in so many ways; she even spoke about LFFP at a museum in Austria. Kirin explained that the most important part of her peace club in Vienna was “emphasizing each individual's role in creating a peaceful world. It starts from individual actions and language, and people were reminded of this.” During the peace lesson Kirin had people make a goal of something that they can do to spread peace within their community. It was extremely successful and helped continue the mission of Little Friends For Peace all the way in Vienna. This workshop was successful because people dove into their passions and things that they wanted to do to help the world. We are extremely excited for the continued growth of Little Friends For Peace.
This year at LFFP, we are extremely excited to have Georgetown students come help with our after school program. In addition to learning about peace and having dinner during our afterschool program, the kids are able to work on their homework assignments. They are given the opportunity to get one on one time with tutors and have any questions answered on their homework. This is a great addition to our after school program. Our kids really seem to be enjoying the Georgetown students that come and help them this year, which also opens up an opportunity for the kids to have a mentor. Our kids are getting extra help with their homework. This is all really exciting for us at LFFP.
Shoa Phillpotts and Mary Joan (MJ) Park, our Little Friends For Peace representatives, attended the Rodham Summit that was both motivational and enlightening. The Rodham Summit took place on October 20, 2016, and was a discussion on how to provide good health and wellness opportunities to youth in different communities. MJ Park, Co-founder and Executive Director, spoke on behalf of LFFP on the panel. MJ contributed to the discussion of the role of youth in community health, and how emotional health is especially important in schools. Additionally, MJ mentioned how health and wellness play into eliminating our culture of violence. MJ also talked about the peace classes that are offered at LFFP and how some kids have a lot of built up anger. If you have built up anger, you can’t maintain good wellness. The Rodham Summit’s goals were to empower youth, goals that LFFP shares.
MJ felt honored to be able to speak at the Rodham Summit. She thought it was great that she could talk to people that shared the same goals as her own. MJ described the atmosphere as a “wonderful spirit of hope.” MJ discussed how her own program helps contribute to disrupting the violence and enforcing health and wellness in communities. It was great to collaborate with more like-minded people. Leaving this event, MJ concluded that it was helping to “create a culture of peace.”
Moving forward, at LFFP we need to eliminate toxic stress. Our mission is that we want to continue to encourage “children to be children” and we want to “provide them with positive role models, and love and help them to find their self worth,” says Shoa Phillpotts. As the Rodham Summit panels established, under privileged kids are given a lot of negative labels, and at LFFP we are going to continue our mission to help discard these labels.
The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Communications and Marketing has photo credit.
Little Friends For Peace is heartbroken to share the loss of one of our most beloved peacemakers and oldest friends, Ann Little, who passed away July 11 after suffering a stroke in late June.
Throughout the years, she became a special friend of ours and a true ally of LFFP.
Ann used to teach at the local public school as a special education teacher. She then left on disability and was often confined to her bed, but she never let this limit her social impact nor her capacity to love.
Despite her bad heart and diabetes, the ever smiling and optimistic Ann invested her time and miraculous abundance of energy in care and love for the children of the neighborhood. From the confines of her bed, in what the community has come to know as her “Cozy Room,” Ann lovingly and compassionately raised four generations of Sursum Corda residents by providing snacks, encouragement, Christmas presents, company, homework help, a listening ear, and a sense of family.
On any given day, it wasn't uncommon to find a cluster of 10 kids—from 2-year-olds to high schoolers—gathered on her haven of a bed. If you'd ventured into her room, which became something of a community center, you would've noticed an entire wall wallpapered in photographs of the children she raised—and their children, and their children’s children, and their children’s children’s children.
She became an arbiter of trite childhood fights, a tutor, a grandmother figure, and a source of love and peace in an often-violent environment.
Gandhi asserted that violence would end where love began, and it began in the Cozy Room on the big bed with Ann’s loving heart.
She reminded us often that true peace building is in investing in relationships and connecting heart to heart—having compassion for one another. She showed us how to spread peace by serving as a refuge for hopeless spirits, comforting them, and teaching them joy.