Friday, March 27, 2015

High School Peace Awards: Spread the thought

RantWoman's email abounds with ideas that people hope will catch fire. In the realm of evoking engagement about peace among youth, RantWoman QUITE likes this item from a former member of her Meeting:

From one Margaret, who mentions another.
I am giving you the link to an on-line article about our Student Peace Awards.  This same article also appeared in print.  We received an enormous amount of publicity this year.  This is not the best picture nor the best written article, but it gives a good idea of the various activities of the recipients. 

A couple of the schools are alternative public schools.  They are small and the students have a variety of problems, so just being alive and in school is a major achievement.

We invite 32 high schools (29 public and 3 private) to send us the name of their selection, and 23 responded.  We take it from there.  We

- Send them a congratulatory letter

- Write a booklet, containing a 250-350 word bio for each recipient

- Arrange a public reception in their honor, with about 250 attending

- Send out publicity to local and high school news sources

- Give each recipient $150 for themselves and $100 to give to a charity of their choice

- Present each student with a framed certificate in his or her school, with as much hoopla as possible, generally at an annual honors assembly in June

Many of the public schools graduate approximately 1000 students a year, so this is a very large deal.

Our current sponsoring organizations include many religious organizations, a couple of Rotary clubs, the Stewart R. Mott foundation, and the Conflict Resolution Department of George Mason University. 

My friend, (also a Margaret), and I started all this 13 years ago with one sponsoring group (the Herndon Friends Meeting) and one school.  While each of us engages other volunteers to assist, we split the jobs pretty equally.  I make sure the bios get written and published and I arrange with the schools to get the certificates presented.  I also send the publicity to the schools.  Margaret F arranges the reception and keeps the financial books.  She has also written (and I edited) a book on gardening in Northern Virginia which we sell at garden shows and through Amazon.  All proceeds go to the Peace Awards.  We make a very good team.

We have another volunteer who keeps track of the sponsoring organizations, and another who deals with publicity outside of the schools.

We have expanded as much as we want to expand and now we are working on getting other groups to begin similar things in their neck of the woods.  We know about five peace awards which have now sprung up.

Peace and Cheer

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