“We started with the [Play for Peace] ritual and then the mentors and trainers took over and led games one after another without pause. They kept the energy of the group up and showed how we promote inclusion and support each other throughout the activities." - Play for Peace Executive Director Sarah Gough, at a special workshop in Chicago
We’d like to tell you about the special Play for Peace meeting and workshop we held in Chicago the day after the Feast for Peace, on Friday, April 15, in a meeting room of our frequent sponsor, Avalon Risk Management. With trainers and mentors in town from Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles for the Feast, we brought them all together again the following day for another wonderful experience.
The group that gathered for the Friday morning workshop included Loren Rubin and Jessica Guendoley from Los Angeles; Sharon Whitman, Dominick Miller, and our co-founder Craig Dobkin from Denver; and John and Anbern Guarrine, Chaun Pridgeon, and Richard Rutschman from Chicago.
Play for Peace Executive Director Sarah Gough and Global Operations Manager Imroz Shah led the meeting for the group. Imroz introduced the support teams she is working to build for each Play for Peace Club. Amanda Cook joined the group virtually to talk about the 10-day session of the Compassion Games: Serve the Earth Week, which was about to start on Saturday, April 16. Sarah and volunteer Dian Mitrayani gave a presentation about ongoing Play for Peace research efforts, which will help us understand the impact of our work.
The feedback received from the trainers and mentors was positive, especially about the support teams and the Compassion Games. Loren Rubin decided right there to have his organization, Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) participate in the Compassion Games during Earth Week the following week.
Following the meeting, the team had only 15 minutes to plan a Practice Peace Session for the Avalon Risk Management staff. It was an amazing experience to see how these experienced trainers who had never worked together before created a wonderful experience for the Avalon volunteers, who often donate to and volunteer for Play for Peace.
Sarah Gough reflected on the workshop and luncheon: “Avalon volunteers and donors, some who had helped us for three years, began trickling into the room and then the team of trainers and mentors took over. It was seamless.
“We started with the [Play for Peace] ritual and then the mentors and trainers took over and led games one after another without pause,” Sarah continued. They kept the energy of the group up and showed how we promote inclusion and support each other throughout the activities. After 20 minutes of play, we ate famous Chicago pizza together and made plans to see each other at the Walk for Peace!”
During the lunch, long-time Play for Peace supporter John Dillon, who also attended the workshop with his daughter, played a music video from musician and Bruce Springsteen guitarist Nils Lofgren. Last year, at John's suggestion, Nils Lofgren donated half of the proceeds from an auction of one of his guitars to Play for Peace.
The volunteers and donors from Avalon Risk Management thanked Play for Peace for bringing pizza and play into their day. We were grateful for the opportunity to spend more time with our trainers and mentors, and to provide the wonderful volunteers from Avalon with a taste of the Play for Peace experience.