Every Tuesday and Thursday, our community of Play for Peace trainers and mentors gathers via Zoom to share how their communities are weathering the COVID-19 crisis. They also share tips and techniques for supporting their communities during this unpredictable time. With our trainers and mentors located all over the world, each person offers a unique perspective, one that can greatly help fellow Play for Peace leaders in their own communities, especially as more regions emerge from lockdowns and countless people are left jobless and dealing with trauma. These sessions began in mid-April and will continue for the next few months until the situation improves around the world.
Beyond sharing stories and ideas, these trainers and mentors are working to support each other’s community service projects and also testing out and creating virtual games and activities for our global community of peace builders facing the COVID-19 crisis and staying at home for everyone’s safety.
“I see these meetings as a great tool," says John Guarrine, Play for Peace senior trainer. "I see a lot of good, too, because now I am probably in contact with everyone more than I used to be! I am grateful for that reason.”
This has also been a great opportunity for our community to meet on one platform, no matter where they are—the United States, Europe, South Africa, or Asia. We are all sharing our feelings, languages, and ideas, and offering personal support. From our weekly meetings, we’ve learned that our trainers and mentors around the globe are risking their lives to help their communities, as well as creating compassion, connection, and community, even from a distance. This includes:
In India, where our mentors are bringing food and water to those in need and providing a helping hand to migrant worker communities walking miles to reach their homes in India.
In Vietnam, where the coronavirus is more under control and children are slowly returning to schools. Our clubs and mentors are supporting each other, guiding volunteers through an online platform in order to support team building, leadership training, and mission planning for our newly formed club there.
In the Philippines, Israel, and India where our trainers and mentors are regularly checking in with their communities and supporting their needs. In spite of the current crisis, during our meetings we are celebrating their successes and the important work they are doing in their communities.
The COVID-19 crisis has impacted so many people, causing stress and suffering all over the world. However, for Play for Peace, there is a silver lining to it all. Our global team is coming together each week to discuss their stories and challenges, working vigorously to develop, create guidelines for, and conduct a series of virtual peace sessions that support the mental health and well being of children—which is crucial to creating healthy communities. We are creating ways to play virtually and find joy and laughter, despite what is happening in the world around us.