United States 25 November: Bridgeport - Connecticut

Bridgeport Welcomes Peace

Our team was welcomed this morning at the Cesar A. Batalla School in Bridgeport, the largest city in Connecticut. Cesar Batalla was very instrumental in supporting the services of the Red Cross and the Hispanic communities in Bridgeport for several years.

We introduced the Peace Run to about 150 students eagerly awaiting our arrival.

After guessing our countries of origin we agreed to sing the children our Peace Run songs.

An exercise in feeling peace in the heart is always quite welcome and effective with children of all ages.

Some of the students and teachers were awarded our Peace Run Torch-Bearer Awards for their outstanding contributions to the school through their service and peaceful attitudes throughout the school year. This seventh grader received the Torch-Bearer Award for her contributions and service to some of the special community events sponsored by the school and her caring and helpful attitude towards her classmates .

This young fourth grader receives the Torch-Bearer Award for his friendliness, kindness and helpfulness around the school.

Even before leaving the school they had posted our Certificate of Appreciation and a painting for Peace by the Founder of the Peace Run, Sri Chinmoy. It says, "Peace feeds the children."

Former Home-School Coordinator, Mrs. Ana Planas also received the Torch-Bearer Award for her decades of selfless service to the parents of this school and her current assistance as a school volunteer. Bill Hass and his wife Joan(left) organized our events at the school with the help of Mrs. Planas and Mrs. Batista, who also received the Torch-Bearer Award today.

Mrs. Ana Batista receives the Torch-Bearer Award for her many years of dedicated service as a teacher, mentor and member of the Leadership Team . She is now in charge of the Talented and Gifted Children's program. Along with Joan Hass and her husband Bill Hass, Mrs. Batista has helped to organize our visits here for many years.

It was a nice day to go outside and pass the Peace Torch around as the children offered their goodwill and wishes for peace and harmony.

We are very grateful to the teachers and staff who organized the children and also offered their prayers and wishes for a more peaceful community and world.

Friends for peace sharing the Torch.

"Hey, that looks like fun."

Lots of smiles and happiness reflect the wonderful environment that this school offers all of its children here.

Finally we gave the children an opportunity to run around the playground with the Peace Torch. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of our visit with the children as the 'Peace Train' passes under the bridge on each lap.

On our departure some of the security and staff members also wanted to offer their goodwill and wishes for peace.

Before our next school we were kindly treated to a lunch at Frank Pepe's Pizzeria by our hosts and organizers, Sameepa Joan and Bikashita Bill Haas. Pepe's has branched out from its original location in New Haven since 1925 and has a reputation for the best pizza this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

At our next school, the Multicultural Magnet School, we were greeted by about 75 children between the ages of 4 to 7 years.

We introduced ourselves with our customary guessing game in the cafeteria where the children gathered.

Statue of Liberty? Where is she from?

At this age the children really enjoy our song with actions about world harmony and oneness.

A moment of silence is also quite effective at this age.

We are very grateful to the teachers and staff here, especially Dr. Luis Planas, the Principal of the school. He helped us organize the event here and he is also the son of Mrs. Planas who received the Torch-Bearer Award at the previous school today.

Some of the children display a painting by Sri Chinmoy named 'Universal Love'.

We are very grateful to the children and teachers for sharing in this peaceful and inspiring event.

Vajra, from New York City, leads the children in the Peace Train around the school grounds.

Lots of fun, laughter and harmony as the children get to run for peace on this nice sunny day.

Sharing the Peace Torch and offering goodwill and friendship is enjoyed by children of all ages.

The future of our world is in their good hands.