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What do Play for Peace kids grow up to be?

“I am a very honest, responsible man who enjoys helping his community.”

Here at Play for Peace, there’s a very lucky abundance of photos with smiling kids whose present moment has just been touched by cooperative play and activities that stimulate a healthier way to relate to their environment, but what happens to those kids later? Are these Play for Peace-moments that we see forever captured in the pictures something lasting and life-shaping? Or are they just brief hints and glimpses at a more compassionate and amicable society? It is because questions like this exist, that stories like the one from Joel are so important to share and celebrate: Joel is from Quetzaltenano in Guatemala and he participated with his brothers, including his twin, in activities from Play for Peace when they were all kids. Today he is 24 years old and describes himself as an honest and responsible man who enjoys helping his community thanks to those valuable lessons learned during his Play for Peace days. “I remember participating in Play for Peace as something very special because it helped us in a very important way,” he said. “It taught us to live in peace with people who were different from us. It made us better children to our parents and I learned to be happy with what we had.” He remembers the love and care for nature that he discovered through Play for Peace and the life changing discovery that games must not always mean competition, as there are communal goals bigger and more significant than an individual victory. “I think people immediately benefit from Play for Peace. The fraternity, cooperation, and solidarity it teaches, seeking a simultaneous good for everyone. It works against violence and enhances respect of others. In the long run, it has shaped us into leaders in our community who are helping make a bigger change in the world.” When Play for Peace touches a life, the effort and hard work put into reaching small communities and addressing old problems that seem impossible to eradicate multiplies itself, growing the size of the benefit across space and time. After being contacted for this article, Joel is considering returning to the Play for Peace family as a mentor. We’ll keep you posted!