United States 13 March: North Miami, Florida - Miami, Florida

Miami Celebrates World Peace

Our last day in Miami, Friday the 13th, was a lucky day for us. We visited two fantastic schools that shared their creative and joyful expressions of peace with us.

Our program was outside on the lawn of the North Miami Montessori School where the weather was perfect with shade to protect us from the hot sun.

The first event was an awards ceremony facilitated by our good friend Cathy Oerter, a Floridian from Fort Meyers Beach.

In honor of her late husband, the great Olympian discus thrower Al Oerter, who won gold medals and set world records in four consecutive Olympics, Cathy Oerter created the Al Oerter Foundation Art Awards.

Many parents were present and enjoyed the events here.

Many children proudly shared their wonderfully inspiring creations.

The children took the opportunity to express what peace means to them and how to represent it through the visual arts and the written word.

Everyone had a chance to share their wonderful creations with us.

Gold Medal winner of the written word.

The awards recipients proudly show off their medals.

Some of the award winners share the Peace Torch.

Guessing where all of our runners come from.

The children finding the countries or cities of where our runners come from.

Durjaya and Drishti from Miami offer clues to their city.

Banshidar from Hawaii teaches the Hula, a traditional Hawaiin dance representing the ocean waves and coconut trees swaying in the wind.

Brahmata from Canada plays one of our songs as the children take part in singing and acting out the words.

Moments of silence and peace among all present was powerfully peaceful.

Cathy and Prakhara, two of our hard working organizers.

Vajra from New York teaches our motto: 'Peace begins with Me'.

One of the most fun events is the 'Peace Train' where everyone has a chance to follow the Peace Torch around the schoolyard.

Cathy joins the children on the Peace Train, a mini Peace Run around the schoolyard.

The next event is always so soulful and peaceful as the students get a chance to make a wish or prayer for peace with the Peace Torch.

Parents also take part in sharing the Peace Torch with their children.

Friendship and smiles abound by the end of the events here at the North Miami Montessori School.

The children, parents and teachers kindly took the opportunity to offer their smiles, wishes and prayers for a peaceful world.

Lourdes Telena, a teacher for the middle school, offers a beautiful, peaceful smile as she shares the Peace Torch.

Lourdes Telenas receives a colorful Peace painting for the school created by Sri Chinmoy, Founder of the Peace Run.

We are very grateful to all the children, students, parents, especially Director of the school, Angelica Lopez, and her teachers and staff here at the North Miami Montessori School. They did a great job offering the children opportunities to express themselves in very meaningful and exciting ways. We are so happy they were able to receive us today and share all their creative and beautiful expressions of peace and friendship.

In the afternoon we visited the Miami Shores Presbyterian Church School and introduced ourselves on their large playground across the street.

Children received Gold, Silver and Bronze medals as well as honorable mention for their very colorful paintings and written words, poems, etc. on the theme of 'What Peace Means to Me'. Cathy Oerter explains the Al Oerter Foundation Art Awards in honor of her late husband, Al Oerter, a four time gold medalist in the Olympic discus.

Prakhara and Principal Stephens get the medals ready for the children.

Dan from Indiana explains the guessing game to the children who have to figure out where we are all from and show us on the large map after we offer them clues.

Natalie, Drishti and and Durjaya, three local area Peace Runners who offered their hospitality and friendship to the whole team as we visited their wonderful city of Miami.

Natalie from Miami offers her bright smile reflecting the joy she received at her first Peace Run event.

The children have no trouble guessing the part of Florida where David is from when he mentions the 'City Beautiful'. It's Orlando.

Three of the students led a school song as all the other students joined in to entertain us with their beautiful voices.

The children always love to join us in our Peace Run songs along with the actions.

We were so happy and honored to have some of the parents who kindly came to offer their support and goodwill here at Miami Shores..

Danny and Jeremy, two aspiring semi-pro baseball players from New York, demonstrate to the children how we can share peaceful friendly experiences through the right attitudes even in sports and games.

The very young students in the adjacent playground take an interest in what is happening here with the older students.

Jeremy from New York leads the Peace Train around the schoolyard for a few laps as the children enjoy this event the most as they run for peace and friendship.

Tilvila, our good friend and great Peace Run coordinator from Safety Harbor, joins the children with her joyful childlike heart .

Passing under the Peace Bridge.

Parents also joined the children in passing the Peace Torch and offering their goodwill, wishes and prayers for peace.

Smiles all around as the Peace Torch is passed.

We are very grateful to Principal Anita Stephens for her enthusiasm and hard work organizing this wonderful event with our local coordinators. It was truly and an uplifting and joyful experience for all involved, especially the children.

All gratitude goes out to Durjaya and his wife, Drishti, for their efforts in helping to make this happen today.

Principal Stephens accepts our Certificate of Appreciation as the children display this colorful painting of peace by Sri Chinmoy, Founder of the Peace Run.

Much gratitude to all the children,parents, staff and teachers here at the Miami Shores Presbyterian Church School for having us and offering their creative and deeply personal expressions for peace.

Khevana and Svarnapadma, two wonderful friends from Miami, share the Peace Torch with us today. We are so grateful they were able to join us and offer their support and friendly smiles to us and the children as well.

Juan Carlos and his wife Paula share a moment of peace as they share the Peace Torch with us this evening. We are so happy that

In the evening we presented the Peace Run Torch-Bearer Award to Prof. Dennis Wiedman. He is Professor of Global and Sociocultural Studies at Florida International University in Miami. He founded the Global Indigenous Forum at the University to give a platform from which indigenous peoples' voices can be heard. The program has given dozens of events and invited indigenous scholars and leaders from all over the world to share their traditions and world views. We are so honored to meet with him and share his ideas and aspirations, important elements for world peace.

We are extremely grateful for all the work and care that was offered by our Florida coordinators and friends. We are sad to leave but we are joyful in our memories of all the great experiences we had here this week.