Our day in Tampa began by visiting Learning Gate Community School, which is one of the leading schools in America in the field of environmental and sustainable education- surrounded by over 20 acres of natural habitat for students to learn and explore in. Teachers integrate environmental topics throughout all subject areas and inspire children to develop their creative thinking. Their motto is “Nature is our Best Teacher”.
The kids were eagerly waiting when we ran in.
The weather was a little chilly for a Florida morning...but the kids were brave!
"...We are the oneness and fulness of tomorrow's sun!"
The kids had prepared beautiful artwork, and several of them read their illumining peace-themed poetry.
The boy in the middle very soulfully performed "Lean on me" on the keyboard.
"I know what peace is!!"
Finally time to hold the torch!
As the weather was freezing, the kids were all trying to warm up their hands with the heat from the flame!
Peace feels pretty good!
Time to run with the torch! One of the teachers led the way...
Kaneenika passed the torch around the eagely waiting kindergarten kids.
We handed out little peace run cards to all the children.
"I've got the whole world in my hands!"
On the way to the next school, we stopped in to pay a visit to Hamid Salahutdin, who, along with his wife Penny, lives on Sri Chinmoy Street in Odessa and runs a small children's daycare programme. He has lead a fascinating life and was instrumental in the dedication of the street in Sri Chinmoy's name. Thank you Hamid!
Our next stop was Palm Harbor Montessori School. Here we are all ready for the call to run it!
The men's team has two members from the very first Peace Run- guess who they are...;)
The principal of Palm Harbor School, Carol Mercier, welcomed us- many of the kids remembered the last time the Peace Run visited 2 years ago.
The kids offered us some great artwork!
The kids all had fun and inspiring performances from most of the different age groups.
We were all individually presented with these peace circles- super sweet and precious!!
"Run, run, run, run, run, run, World Harmony Run!"
Guessing which countries we all came from...6 different ones!
Peace means being nice to my friends...
Passing the Peace...
This picture is so simple, unique and powerful!
'A great Indian Leader, Ghandhi, said: Peace always starts with children'
Children are definitely the ones bringing peace!
We had such a fun and sweet time at this school- we did not want to leave!!
On the right is the oldest member of our team, Vajra, who has been running for Peace since the origins of the Peace Run, back in 1987! Here he is pictured with one of the teachers.
A big thank you to School Principal, Carol Mercier, and her wonderful staff and students! She is receiving a painting by the Peace Run founder, Sri Chinmoy, entitled "Peace is Precious" from Harita and Tilvila, on the right, our local Tampa Peace Run Coordinator.
This mosaic was in the entrance to the school- it goes pretty nicely with the Peace Torch!
It was time for the team to have lunch! A big thank you to Consciousness-Blossoms Restaurant for hosting and sumptuously feeding us all- the service and food were unbeatable!
Our final meeting of the day was at Clearwater Boys and Girls Club of America.
We had a few minutes to investigate the playground before the official part of the event began...
Tilvila when the kids guessed she was from Safety Harbor, Tampa Bay ;)
Jorge leading the kids in the Peace in the Heart exercise.
It feels pretty good!
Super enthusiastic kids!!
Time to pass the torch!
We tested the kids geography with our big map of the world, asking them to find the countries we were from, and also where their parents were from...
They were pretty enthusiastic about finding the countries!! They would all jump on top of each other- but very peacefully!
These kids could run!!
Many great pieces of art were created especially for our visit!
We were thrilled to help to plant a Peace Tree especially for the occasion! The tree is a beautiful Red Hibiscus.
All of the children very earnestly put some earth around the tree.
This beautiful Plaque accompanied the tree so everyone who sees it knows it is a Peace Tree!
Local Peace Runner, Nancy, is pretty happy to receive a hug from one of the kids!
We presented Janet Arnold with the Torch Bearer Award for her dedication and direction of the Sun Coast Girls and Boys Club for the past 18 years. Under her leadership the children receive loving guidance and support in many areas of their lives which can be clearly felt and seen when you visit.
Thank you Janet, you are truly an inspiring Torch-Bearer for all of us!
We presented our certificate and a painting by Peace Run founder, Sri Chinmoy, to Janet Arnold, the wonderful Director of the Boys and Girls Club
Thank you to all the kids and Supervisors of the Boys and Girls Club of the Suncoast- you are really bringing peace to the world!
When we left the Boys and Girls Club we saw this beautiful peacock. Peacocks symbolise many auspicious virtues in all different parts of the world, so we took it as a good sign!
We headed out to Clearwater Beach for a sunset run- so beautiful!!
May I be a morning
Ascending wave of bliss.
May I be an evening
Descending wave of peace.
A big thank you to the management and staff of Sweet Tomatoes Restaurant for most enthusiastically and generously sponsoring dinner for the whole team- a perfect end to a super-great day in Tampa Bay!