The following report is just one of five stories you will be able to
read along with some stunning photos of our five day, five borough,
World Harmony Run effort by some of our international and local
runners here in Queens this week. We will have visited 12 New York City schools by the end of this long and fruitful effort which is meant to inspire and motivate the locals in this area and to discover just how much harmony and goodwill is promoted in NYC.
Soon we will be sending off the international U.S running team which is about to leave for their 10,000 mile, four month journey through all 50 states on April 15.
Please check this link for the full stories and photos:
The following is the story from April 2 in the Borough of Queens, New
The first school visited is only a few miles from our international World Harmony Run office, so it was an easy task to make our way to this vibrant school in another section of the large Borough of Queens, New York. The principal greeted us at the entrance as we ran with the torch into the auditorium where hundreds of children were eagerly waiting. The children had been introduced to our run a few weeks earlier when our local organizers, Kalpita and Ishani, had taken time to visit the children here. Now that the torch and runners were actually here, they were quite excited that we could share our experiences with them as we carried the torch into the school. There were about 300 children in the auditorium who participated in the event and were also able to offer their own feelings and good wishes for harmony and friendship as the each touched the torch at the end of the program.
Only a few blocks away from this school was the next school. It was an easy jog for us to carry the torch there as we were greeted by the ever enthusiastic Vice-Principal who organized this event. We met with some of the sixth grade children in the music classroom to explain to them what we were doing as we carried the lit torch into the school. They told us of all the wonderful things they were doing to implement positive change in their lives and the community. Children from various student organizations and leadership positions stood up to tell us what their goals were and why they were involved. There were groups that dealt with conflict resolution within the student body, groups that raised awareness and funding for children in South Africa, and other groups with very practical and humanitarian goals.
Some of the parents also spoke, explaining how they work among
themselves and with the children to guide them in ways that offer a
meaningful and positive future in their lives. One of their mottoes was that they are running from something and running to something. They are running from negativity and they are running towards positive change.
Their goals were consistent with those of the World Harmony Run in that we both feel that positive change in the world at large comes from within the heart and life of each person and that this reality has to spread in a practical way, one person at a time. It takes hard work and faith on the part of the whole community to make this happen. At this school this seems to be happening quite effectively.
After the inspiring introductions and singing of the World Harmony Run
song, we were led by the Principal outdoors to do a short Harmony Run
around the neighborhood. With a police escort of four willing and able
officers from the local precinct, we ran with about fifty children led by the Vice-Principal carrying the torch. She was so moved, excited and happy that there were tears in her eyes almost the
whole way as we circled four blocks around the school on the busy
streets of St. Albans, Queens. Afterwards we gathered in the schoolyard in a large circle and passed the torch around as each person offered a silent wish or prayer for harmony and peace in the world. The police officers were so kind and enthusiastic as they helped us through the streets as we carried the torch with the children, so we all sang the theme song again, just for them. As they held the torch together I could see that they were visibly moved and happy.
We are very grateful to the Vice-Principal and all the administrators,
teachers, staff and students of this school for an unforgettable experience today and for all their efforts to bring about a more positive world every day.
Later in the afternoon we visited our third Queens school for the day. We were quite taken aback by the modern facility as well as
this school is only five years old and built with special funding. The
school offers a very comprehensive liberal arts curriculum and it was
well reflected in the very impressive program that they presented to us today. There were some very moving recitals of poetry from children who demonstrated the confidence and poise of professional actors. A very well choreographed modern dance routine from some of the older children presented the theme of 'the caged bird' and its struggles for freedom.
Everyone then sang songs along with a teacher leading them and a
wonderful piano player. The song, "This Little Light of Mine" was a very powerful production by all of the students that brought tears to the eyes as they sang it over and over. Another song, 'I Am a Promise', was quite positive and thought provoking in its message as it ended in the words, "I am a promise to be anything I that I want to be, anything that I want to be."
Some of the art students made a huge and beautiful poster that was used as a backdrop on the stage. We are extremely grateful to all those involved, including the Principal, the Assistant Principal and all the teachers, staff and children who once again demonstrated to us that harmony and happiness can be established anywhere with the right attitude and hard work. It was quite obvious to us that they all worked very hard together to create a very impressive and memorable program for us here in our own 'backyard'.
Arpan and the International Runners in Queens
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