This morning saw the Peace Run team take a scenic ferry ride to Bainbridge Island for the first day of events in the Seattle area. We were met from the ferry by the police who accompanied the team on the short run to our first meeting.
Kate is a Bainbridge Islander who saw us coming off the ferry and came over to hold the torch. She was then inspired to join us running. It was so nice to have an enthusiastic local lead us.
Our first meeting was at the Island Volunteer Caregivers, a community organisation who connect care givers with seniors and those with special needs. They run a variety of programs that greatly enhance the lives of those involved.
Joanne Maher, the Executive Director of the Island Volunteer Caregivers makes her wish for peace. Thank You so much for hosting todays event.
Harita presented the Peace Run and everyone introduced themselves before we had a moments silence for peace.
Robin Gaphni received the Torch bearer award for her tireless service to the community through the IVC. She served as the Director of Programs at IVC and although now retired she still takes an active roll in many of the programs she set up. One of these is a Grief Group she set up after she lost her eldest son unexpectedly from a sudden illness. Many Bainbridge Island residents have benefited from the support the Grief group and the Compassionate Companion Program offers. They offer activities from dog walking to movie trips to rides to Doctor appointments. The IVC continues to make Bainbridge Island a better place to live and much of this is due to Robin Gaphni.
We're very grateful to share the Peace Run with a wonderful community of self-giving people.
Staying on Bainbridge Island, we had the privilege to be given permission to run through Bloedel Nature Reserve, where we had our next meeting. Bainbridge Island is a nature lovers paradise, with trees and flowering plants everywhere you look. So it is a fitting setting for a botanical garden that is one of the top 10 in the country.
Running through the gardens, surrounded by 150 acres of nature's abundance- trees, ferns, moss, flowers and water was like entering a magical space, whose peace immediately flowed into you.
We were welcomed by Ed Moydell, the President and CEO of the Bloedel Reserve. Bloedel was founded by Prentice and Virginia Bloedel. Prentice Bloedel wrote, " Nature can do without man but man cannot do without nature."
Jagadambika who volunteers at the reserve organised all today's events and did a great job keeping the team on track throughout the day.
Nandita is one of our main coordinators for the Peace Run in the US and has been welcoming the Peace Run to Seattle for many years.
Ed Moydell received the Torch Bearer award for his work in continuing the vision of the Bloedels when they created the Reserve. Working with a small team of full time gardeners and many dedicated volunteers he maintains the gardens as a place where you can find peace through nature as well as offering a focus on nature and well-being and a Creative Residency Program. Ed spoke about how from his first visit to Bloedel he felt he had found a place that was very special to him.
Ed holds the torch with some of his staff members. We enjoyed a walk through the gardens after the ceremony to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings.
"Nature's beauty helps us
to be as vast as possible,
As peaceful as possible
And as pure as possible."
In the afternoon we moved on to Kingston Middle School where we were welcomed by a variety of artwork that the students had created for our visit.
Our ceremony here was conducted as a Zoom meeting, linking us to 15 classrooms around the school as restrictions in place meant they couldn't bring all the students together in one place. We are very grateful to the principal Danielle Warman for finding this solution for us to present the Peace Run.
The team waving Hello to the Zoom meeting. After the presentation the students lined the corridors and we ran a loop around the school so they could see the peace torch. They were super enthusiastic in their applause and appreciation of the Peace Run.
Finding peace in the heart.
Stutisheel, our Ukrainian runner teaching the motto- Peace begins with me!
Some of the students had a chance to hold the torch as they left school for the day.
The principal, Danielle Warman with Diane Stewart, the art and drama teacher who has welcomed the Peace Run to the school several times before.
Diane is so enthusiastic in her support for the Peace Run that she has put up specially designed peace poles to commemorate previous visits to the school! We always love meeting fellow peace-lovers and look forward to coming back in the future.