We would like to thank the Marriot Hotel in Lake Mary for their kind offering of discounted rooms for the women's Peace Run team. The kind and friendly staff helped to make their rest here very enjoyable.
Our first visit for the day was the beautiful city of Lake Mary just outside of Orlando, Florida. Mayor David Mealor and assistant City Manager Stephen Noto welcomed us to Central Park where we held a small ceremony at the Peace Tree.
This beautiful Magnolia tree was planted by Mayor Mealor and the Peace Run in 2012. It was about six feet, or 2 meters, tall and now has grown into a very tall and healthy tree thanks to the care of the Lake Mary parks department and Mayor Mealor. He mentioned to us that some of the townspeople even refer to it as the 'Mayor's peace tree', which he is quite proud of.
Mayor Mealor and Stephen Noto accept our small gift of gratitude, a colorful painting by the Founder of the Peace Run, Sri Chinmoy. The painting is titled, 'Peace is Precious'. The kindness and smiles of Mayor Mealor and Assistant City Manager Stephen Noto were a very encouraging and uplifting way to start our day in this very green and beautiful city of Lake Mary.
Later in the day we visited the Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida in the city of Altamonte Springs. We had a warm welcome indoors and then went outdoors for some very exciting moments with everyone.
We made a presentation to about 30 children and staff members as well as Mayor Pat Bates, who kindly stayed for the whole ceremony and planting of the Peace Tree.
Mayor of Altamonte Springs, Pat Bates, blessed us with her presence as she and Austin Long, Director of the Boys and Girls Club, along with the very attentive and enthusiastic students try to guess where each member of our team come from.
Santiva, left, who lives in Lake Mary and has organized all of our events here, and Dhavala from Scotland offer their clues to where they come from.
Everyone had a moment of silence as we all tried to feel peace in our hearts and visualize this peace spreading out to the rest of the world.
Marina, who has her roots in four different countries, tries to make it easy for the children to guess her countries.
The children were very excited about the guessing game and the songs which we sang with them as well.
Everyone enjoyed our short skits which demonstrated peaceful or not so peaceful behavior. The children were the judges of what kind of behavior was demonstrated in each skit. They seemed to understand that peace in the world depends on the peaceful behavior of each individual person. 'Peace Begins with Me' is our motto, and the children repeated it with us very sincerely and sweetly.
Santiva offers our Peace Run Torch-Bearer Award to Mayor Pat Bates who was quite surprised and happy. Mayor Bates has had a long career of Public Service, having worked in both the Federal Government in Washington,D.C. and with various positions here in Central Florida as City Commissioner, Vice Mayor, the city of Altamonte Springs planning board and other committees until she was voted as Mayor of this wonderful city. It is an honor to have her here and to offer her this well-deserved award for her tireless and dedicated service to this community.
Director Austin Long presented the Torch-Bearer Award to two other recipients, Fiona Shannon and Erin Stanley. They work enthusiastically and happily with the children as volunteers during the week helping them with reading and other skills.
Alondra Russey shares her joy with a beautiful smile after receiving the Peace Run Torch -Bearer Award for her exemplary behavior, selflessness and kindness with the other children.
Ayina King happily receives the Torch-Bearer award for his exemplary behavior and helpful attitude at the Boys and Girls Club.
Cory, a very enthusiastic staff member here also received the Torch-Bearer Award for his tremendous service and work with the children.
Mayor Bates and the Boys and Girls club receive two colorful paintings by the Founder of the Peace Run, Sri Chinmoy, who expressed various aspects of peace through his creative and colorful paintings. This painting is called, 'Imagine Peace Here and Now'.
The children offer their wishes and prayers for peace as the pass the peace torch.
Preparing the ground for the planting of the Peace Tree.
Mayor Pat Bates happily offers the first shovels of soil.
All the children get a chance to shovel in the soil to complete the planting of their new Peace Tree.
Santiva offers the new Peace Tree plaque.
The children are proud to stand by their new Peace Tree which they will take care of as they watch it grow, a good reminder of their own growth and spreading of peace and happiness to others
Dave Morrison leads the children in a Peace Train, a short Peace Run around the playground area.
Our peace runner Stutisheel, from Ukraine, looks on happily as the children have fun singing songs along with the harmonica accompaniment of Arpan, from New York City.
Harita, one of our peace runners and U.S. coordinator originally from New Zealand, happily shares the Peace Torch with one of our Torch Bearer Award recipients, Fiona Shannon, also originally from New Zealand.
Our Peace Run Team is very grateful to everyone here at the Boys and Girls Club in Altamonte Springs for their enthusiastic participation in the Peace Run. We will happily remember their wonderful contributions to peace and harmony as we prepare to leave Central Florida and eventually end up in Miami for some Peace Run events there.
Torch carried by Arpan DeAngelo(United States),
Dave Morrison(United States),
Dhavala Stott(Great Britain),
Harita Davies(New Zealand),
Santiva Morrison(United States),
The torch has travelled
from Lake Mary, Florida to Altamonte Springs, Florida.