Project For Peace

A Day of Action in Santa Cruz To Promote Gratitude, Unity & Peace

The following post was submitted by Laney Rupp, Project Lead Coordinator for The Volunteer Centers of Santa Cruz County. The Volunteer Centers for Santa Cruz County is a recipient of a generationOn 911 National Day of Service & Remembrance Mini-Grant.

The 9/11 Projects For Peace is a countywide project presented by the Volunteer Centers of Santa Cruz County that engages youth leaders and community volunteers to honor the 10th anniversary of 9/11, express gratitude to first responders, and take steps towards greater unity and peace. Over the past couple of weeks, we have trained youth leaders across the county to manage three 9/11 projects for peace stations. At the stations, community members can share messages of gratitude for first responders via video tributes and handwritten notes, or create mixed media tiles showcasing their vision for a peaceful community. By giving thanks to first responders, community members can enjoy the experience of gratitude and help first responders feel appreciated. We want first responders to know how they are contributing to the quality of our lives, by sharing local stories of first responder heroism.

9/11 was a dark, painful event in our nation's history, but it also demonstrated our tremendous capacity for compassion, selflessness and our ability to collectively envision solutions and rebuild. In spirit of unity, we are also offering a peace tiling activity to for youth in our community to imagine and create a hopeful future. The peace tiling activity gives youth a voice in addressing community violence and envisioning peace.

Through the peacetiling activity, youth have a chance to share what they want to see, feel, and experience in a peaceful community and to convey that vision of hope to others through art. We plan to gather 200 6" by 6" peace tiles from youth across the county into a traveling community installation that creates a visual voice for peace. We hope their collective works will inspire the community to listen to youth and value their ideas and visions for addressing conflict and creating a more vibrant community. Most importantly, we hope the tiles will inspire action across age groups to establish greater unity and understanding in Santa Cruz.