As in the past, Play for Peace will hold its annual fundraising event on Friday, September 22, at the Bartlett Nature Center
. The event is not just a fundraising event, but is and has always been an opportunity to celebrate the International Day of Peace with friends and family. World Peace Day is observed each year on September 21.
The event has an incredible backstory, which sees the power of the individual. 10-year-old Aidan Hennessy is the main character, and over the past 5 years, he has raised over $60,000 for Play for Peace. Aidan’s connection with Play for Peace was ignited when his mother, Lisa Gelsomino, hosted a World Peace Day party for Play for Peace for her company, and one of our current sponsors, Avalon Risk Management
in Elk Grove Village. Aidan was moved when he saw via Skype Play for Peace youth leaders from Guatemala, and he wrote an essay at school, saying that if he had $100, he would give it to his mom to help Play for Peace. Lisa, moved by her son’s genuine interest in helping the nonprofit, joined the board of directors and started the event. The event has turned into an annual event, drawing support from 20 local communities.
However, the event has seen some changes spanning the years since its start. The event, usually held during the day, started out as a Nature Walk through the Bartlett Nature Center. In 2016, the event transformed into a Fall Run/Walk inviting runners from the surrounding communities to offer their participation. With last year’s success and positive response from participants, Play for Peace sees its event’s most recent evolution: a Glow Run.
Play for Peace is excited to celebrate World Peace Day and show new and old faces what we have in store for them at this year’s event. The Glow Run will be held at a later time in the day than usual - 4 – 9 pm - offering the opportunity for participants to light the way through the Bartlett Nature Center trails with glow sticks and other light-producing accessories. The trails themselves will also be illuminated.
We will have our usual booths with crafts and face paint, and kids will again have the opportunity to participate in cooperative games, Play for Peace’s tool for inspiring compassion and peace. There is also an International Food Festival and a Silent auction, with prizes from Joffrey Ballet, Cheesecake Factory, Classic Cinemas, Shedd Aquarium, Safari Land, Vera Bradley, and Half Day Brewery, as well as Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears sports memorabilia.
This year’s event fundraising goal is $50,000, which is more than last year’s $44,000. Proceeds donated and raised during this event go toward helping Play for Peace continue to pursue their mission to bring together children, youth, and organizations in communities in conflict, using cooperative play to create laughter, compassion and peace.
Play for Peace, with its headquarters located in Chicago, works in divided neighborhoods throughout the U.S. in cities like Chicago, Denver and LA. It also works in areas of conflict or tragedy all over the world in countries like India, Pakistan, and Senegal. Play for Peace clubs work to teach young people to become peacebuilders. With more than 3,000 members and volunteers in 40 countries, there are 69 Play for Peace Clubs at work in 14 countries around the world
Currently at $12,000, we are only $38,000 away from this year’s goal. We invite all those in the Chicagoland areas to join us on Friday, September 22 to celebrate peace and kick off fall with a fun, healthy event! You can register or donate here!