It all began at a dinner party shortly after the heinous shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As we debated at the dinner table why nothing was ever done and when “they” were going to come up with solutions, it occurred to me that maybe “they” were not the answer. The answer might just be in each of us.
As a former Disney animator and longtime author and illustrator of books for children, I began to wonder how people like me could move beyond entertainment to guide the world’s youth towards a conversation about peace, community, harmony, and connectedness. As I mulled the possibilities on Facebook, the discussion caught the eye of Deborah Moldow, the chair of the United Nations Peace Day NGO. Deborah asked if I could create a project for Peace Day. This was the beginning. Soon, my Peace Crane Project took flight.
Since launching the Peace Crane Project in late 2012, my goal to arm our children with the skills to express themselves creatively, and connect them to one another through the arts has been met with astounding enthusiasm and support around the world. The United Nations Peace Day team has been incredibly generous in their support and encouragement. Rubia Braun, a friend and fellow creative, has been instrumental as well, producing a series of global videos to capture the essence of the Project. Our web guru, Gary Moylan, and an incredibly generous and capable Board of Directors and Advisors now help to keep the cranes in flight. But, at its core, is all of you. The teachers, parents, and community leaders that have joined in, one by one, have come together in ways I could never have imagined, to make the Project their own and build a more harmonious world of tomorrow.
Nearly two million children, from 154 countries, now participate each year. The students engage and communicate with one another every day of the year, often building on the network I have created, and bringing a new level of compassion, appreciation, and understanding to their communities.
In addition to overseeing the Project, I have recently published a book with Masahiro Sasaki, Sadako Sasaki’s older brother, to bring you her true story. The book is now available online and at bookstores everywhere. You can read more about the book and learn more about Masahiro here. 100% of the profits from the book are used to support the Peace Crane Project and the Sadako Legacy NPO. We also host other events and projects all year long. To read more about the foundation and all we do, please visit Armed with the Arts’ website.
Thanks for joining me on this incredible adventure.
Fold a crane. Meet the world.