We started the day in Newcastle, Washington, just outside of Seattle, with a run into the Hazelwood Elementary School with some of the excited students.
Natabara leads the children and staff with a short excercise in feeling peace in the heart and trying to imagine it spreading out to everyone around us.
Our short video introduces everyone to the larger international scope of the Peace Run which has visited over 150 countries since its inception in 1987.
We had some fun with the students and teachers with a game where the children have to guess our countries of origin.
Marina, from South Korea, locates her country on our huge map after the children guess it correctly.
The children participate in our World Harmony Run song written by Sri Chinmoy, Founder of the Peace Run. Each line of the song has fun actions that everyone enjoys doing together as we sing with the children.
Two of our Peace Runners offer a short skit to demonstrate a peaceful or non-peaceful behavior which is judged by the children.
The teachers and staff do a short peace run loop around the excited children who offer them 'high fives'.
At the end of the program the children and teachers offer their hopes and wishes for peace with the Peace Torch.
The most exciting event happens before we leave when the children get to do a 'mini' Peace Run around the school yard.
Peace can be very soft and quiet and very creative or dynamic as well, such as in running or other sports and healthy activities. We are very grateful to the schools that welcome us to share with them these various fun and exciting ways to share and spread peace.
Out team members then proceeded to run a few scenic miles to the next school, Cedar River Montessori School.
We had a beautiful outdoor setting to meet with children and some of their animals as well.
We start with focusing on peace in our hearts and allowing it to spread.
We introduce ourselves as usual with a guessing game where the children get clues from us and have to guess which country each of us is from
They have the help of a big world map which helps to sharpen their geography skills in a fun way.
Salil, our Executive Director originally from Australia, watches as a child imitates a kangaroo, his clue to the country of Australia.
The children find South Korea on our map, the country of one of our runners.
We teach the children on of our peace and harmony songs with actions after they guess all the countries properly.
Holding up their imaginary peace torches.
Action for 'we are the oneness and fulness of tomorrow's sun' lyrics.
The children love to judge our fun skits demonstrating good and peaceful or not so good behavior.
This behavior gets a thumbs down.
This good behavior of helping someone up after they fall while running gets a thumbs up from the children.
Some of the children offer us a very nice group song with their own fun actions.
We were thrilled to have Gemma Sayer from Congresswoman Kim Schrier's office join us today. Gemma shared her kind and inspiring words about peace and the Cedar River Montessori School on behalf of the Congresswoman
Ms. Leigh Owen-Flores, a middle school teacher who was so kind and instrumental in helping to organize this event, kindly accepts our modest offerings of gratitude and appreciation for welcoming us to this very nice school. We are especially grateful to Erin Karnofski for inviting our team to visit with Cedar River Montessori, Erin could not be with us and Leigh stepped in to fill her shoes for the day.
We thank her and all the staff members who helped to organize this event with us.
The teachers and staff seemed to enjoy themselves as well. We wanted to thank them for all the hard work they do daily to teach the children and offer them peaceful and positive environments for learning and growing.
Ms. Chellas, the animal care and behavior specialist, leads the other teachers and staff with the Peace Torch around the very excited children.
Lots of peaceful and enthusiastic 'high fives' from the children.
Some of the children sing along with Arpan's harmonica as we get ready to leave for our next event of the day.
We are very grateful for this great group of peace lovers and new friends who invited us to this perfect natural setting of tranquility and peace.
We had a delicious lunch at the Blossom Restaurant. The food was fantastic and the service was excellent. We are extremely grateful to the owners and staff here who so kindly offered us complimentary meals.
Our next event was in the beautiful town of Edmonds. We gathered together kindly joined by Vivian Olson, Council Member from Edmonds.
It was a beautiful and scenic run towards our next destination, the Edmonds Boys and Girls Club.
Vivian was so happy and excited to spread peace through her community as she carried the Peace Torch to the children.
As we entered the building we were happy to see a whole bulletin board filled with the childrens' expressions of what peace means to them.
The children were quite attentive in trying to feel a deeper sense of peace inside themselves.
Guessing our countries of origin from the members of our international Peace Run team.
So where am I from?
Yes, South Korea. The children not only guess our country but then locate it on the big map.
Hopping like a kangaroo is always the easy clue for Australia.
Vivian Olson enjoys giving her clue to her town for the children right here in Edmonds.
Rupasi, one of our main local coordinators, offers her clue to the country of a few of our runners as she poses like the Statue of Liberty with the torch. We are very grateful to her for her tireless efforts at organizing some of the local Seattle area events for us.
After guessing all the countries correctly the children have fun as they sing with us our peace songs with actions for each verse.
Some of the children kindly read out their very sweet words of what peace means to them.
After that heart warming reading by the children we had fun demonstrating either good or not so good behaviors that the children judged as peaceful behavior or not. This one looks not so peaceful.
We offer our small gifts of gratitude and appreciation to the Director of this wonderful Boys and Girls Club. The colorful painting by the Founder of the Peace Run represents World Harmony.
One of the staff members leads the children around the gym on the 'Peace train' accompanied by Arpan on harmonica playing the World Harmony Run song composed by Sri Chinmoy in 2005.
The children have fun following the 'engine' carrying the Peace Torch and going under the peace bridges as they run a few laps around the gym.
Finally they get to pass the torch as they offer their hopes and wishes or prayers for peace and pass it on, one person at a time.
The friendship and smiles says it all.
After a little ice cream break we were ready for our final run of the day.
We shared the Peace Torch with some peace loving townspeople. and a few peaceful dogs as well, in Edmonds before getting started.
A majestic scenic run along the coast of Puget Sound just north of Seattle.
The local streets were beautifully decked out with fully blossoming trees and plants.
A peace loving local woman and her dog share the Peace Torch with us as we make our way through her beautiful neighborhood.
Our final destination was the beautiful home of Aparajita, our local organizer here in Edmonds. He named it 'Shanti Loka', the 'Abode of Peace', and appropriately so.
Aparajita was a great host as he fed us sumptuously in his beautifully renovated home with incredibly scenic and idyllic views of Pujet Sound and the snow-capped Olympic Mountain range in the background.
Agraha, one of our members and organizers from Seattle, offers Salil, our Executive Director from Australia, a sweet surprise for his endless efforts in overseeing and participating in Peace Run events all over the world.
We are so grateful for this wonderful setting to celebrate, assimilate and appreciate peace after a long and exciting day of sharing peace with so many peace loving people in the greater Seattle area today.