Agyat, a Play for Peace Master Trainer from India, helped us kick off the event and led a Play for Peace Ritual that brought smiles and joy to everyone in attendance. He also shared a story about his 23-year journey in Play for Peace alongside Swati, and their current work in creating safe and enjoyable environments for Play for Peace in camps in Kabul and Herat, Afghanistan.
We then watched informative and inspiring videos from our Co-Founders, Craig Dobkin and Michael Terrien. Their efforts to establish and nurture this organization for 25 years filled us with gratitude and appreciation.
Sara Gough, our Executive Director, shared some key moments from our early history, including our first programs in the U.S., Israel, and the Balkans in 1996, our official charity registration in 1998, and global gatherings in South Africa, Canada, India, and the U.S. in the 2000s where we collaborated on goals and plans.
Our recent history includes Sarah Gough becoming Executive Director in 2010, the launch of the Club Model and Certified Trainers Course in 2011, reaching 3,000 global members in 2016, and pandemic relief efforts, including community support and support for PPE and food access.
Innocent Mania then shared about his work in Kenya, highlighting how Play for Peace played a crucial role during the pandemic, helping their club manage challenges such as employment loss, violence, and political strife. Play for Peace brought together diverse groups and provided curriculum support for children with disabilities.
We celebrated some remarkable achievements together:
- Over 1,000,000 children in conflict zones have experienced moments of laughter, compassion, and peace thanks to our community and donor support.
- Play for Peace is now present in 31+ countries, spreading joy and laughter.
- We've leveraged $4,000,000+ worth of volunteer hours from around the world to fulfill our mission in the last 15 years.
We also announced our focus on celebrating 25 years of Outstanding Community. In the coming months, we'll recognize 25 individuals in each of these categories: Donors, Institutional Partners, Volunteers, and we welcome your recommendations at email@example.com.
Sa’eed from Israel shared a story from his 17 years with Play for Peace, emphasizing how his training and facilitation experiences have profoundly impacted his life.
Sarah shared upcoming events and plans for building our future:
- 25th Anniversary Events in 2023/2024
- Local 25th Anniversary Events worldwide
- A Chicago Anniversary Event hosted by our Board of Directors
- And more initiatives on the horizon
Sarah also discussed our future-building efforts, including the Play for Peace Roundtable, the AppreciatiON Campaign, The Play for Peace Council, the Virtual Global Headquarters, and the Craig Dobkin Legacy Project.
We concluded with an open appreciation circle, allowing everyone to express their gratitude and love through words, chat messages, and emojis. Together, we are a community united by the power of play and the spirit of peace.