What's New at PeacePlayers International
PPI Celebrates March Madness with Events in Washington, DC and New York
On March 21st, PeacePlayers held its annual “Party for Peace” at Capitale in Washington, DC. Friends and supporters gathered to watch the first round of the Men's NCAA championship. Executive Director, Brendan Tuohey, and former International Fellows, Michael Vaughan Cherubin and Rory O’Neil, talked about PPI’s peacemaking efforts and the impact on the children. Three weeks later, on April 8th, PPI celebrated the NCAA Mens Championship Game at the “Dropping Dimes for Peace” party in New York City. Guests got to watch the nail-biting match up between Louisville and Michigan at Hill Country Barbecue, while bidding on some incredible prizes. Guests also had the chance to meet Brooklyn Nets Center and PPI supporter, Brook Lopez. Former PPI - Middle East Fellow, Julie Younes, and former PPI – South Africa participant, Andrew Goba, spoke about how PeacePlayers has impacted their lives. Together, the events raised $75,000 that will go directly to help the children in PPI's programs become champions for peace by playing basketball.
PPI - SA Holds CityWide Tournament
On March 16th, PPI - SA brought together 425 boys and girls from underprivileged communities to participate in the biannual CityWide Tournament, a cross community education day where the emphasis is on social integration and fun. This day strongly emphasizes our mission of “bridging divides” and “changing perceptions” as many communities and children get a chance to meet and play together, and most importantly learn from one another. This year the US Consulate in Durban signed on to support the tournament. After nearly 5 hours of activity, everyone gathered together for an awards ceremony. The most coveted award of the day was the “Champion of Peace” award, given to the boy and girl on each court who best embodied the spirit of sportsmanship, hard work, and camaraderie. At the end of the day, the kids headed back to the buses, many with awards, prizes, and certificates they had earned throughout the day.
For the 10th year in a row, PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland hosted 182 children from the Belfast and Lurgan areas at the annual Jingle Ball tournament. PPI-NI’s tournaments are a celebration of the work the children have done together all year. Children from 25 different schools shared buses to Stranmillis College in South Belfast. The sports hall was buzzing with what seemed like a million different coloured t-shirts. Special guests Joe Lockhart and Jim Lambright, US board members, who made fantastic coaches on the day were kind enough to present the medals and trophies to the winners. Given the current widespread violence and rioting across the greater Belfast area, it was a great achievement to have so many children and volunteers present on the day.
PeacePlayers Turns Hoop Dreams Into Peaceful Reality; Joe Lockhart Fundraiser Nets $38,690+
On Tuesday, November 27, former White House Press Secretary and PPI Board Member, Joe Lockhart, hosted a fundraiser for PeacePlayers inside his Dupont Circle home. With Lockhart generously agreeing to match all gifts, PeacePlayers collected some $40,000 in only two hours. Much of such enthusiasm can no doubt be credited to the night's hosts who, in addition to Lockhart, included Marc Adelman, Mike Feldman, Peter Hutchins, Joel Johnson, Sara Latham, Mike McCurry, Jake Siewert, Alex Slater, Mary Streett, Kimball Stroud, Jennifer Swanson, and Brian Wolff. The money raised will be quickly put to good use moving forward, with the nonprofit's coaches and mentors already operating year-round programs in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Israel, the West Bank, and Cyprus. See the full story on REVAMP.com.
Youth Programs Aim for Peaceful Future in Middle East
Rocket fire over the Gaza Strip halted Nov. 21. However, with both sides willing to retaliate if the other does not keep the agreement, long-term peace still remains shaky. Many international organizations are running programs in the Middle East, or domestically, that offer activities for Palestinian and Israeli young people. The only catch — they have to participate together. “Changing the status quo will require young leaders whose personal experiences differ from those who came before them,” Tal Alter said, director of operations with PeacePlayers International. The organization’s Middle East program offers several year-round leagues in Israel and the West Bank that bring together young people through basketball. This year, the organization’s Middle East program will have just under 500 participants and more than half will be girls. Alter believes the program in the Middle East is especially powerful because of the ability to bring kids together on a frequent basis. In parts of Jerusalem, Arabs and Israelis live very close to each other, but generally never interact. By bringing them together multiple times a week for nine months, friendships can grow and strengthen. “Through our program model of long-term, frequent, integrated basketball activities, young people develop friendships across existing divides, and when they do, their perceptions of the ‘other’ group as a whole also start to change,” Alter said. See the full story in usatodayeducate.com.
8 Celebrities on the Charities Closest to Their Hearts - PPI Featured in Oprah Magazine
Ann Curry: "Five years ago, I reported a story about PeacePlayers International, or PPI, an organization that uses basketball to create connections among young people in divided communities. PPI puts kids who typically wouldn't interact—like Catholic and Protestant teenagers in Northern Ireland—on the same team to encourage dialogue and friendship. In countries like South Africa, where whites traditionally play rugby and indigenous people typically play soccer, basketball can be a sort of safe zone; everyone comes on equal footing. My family and I became involved with PPI last summer when we traveled to Durban to learn more and join in the games, and this year we went to Israel and the West Bank. While there, we asked the Jewish and Palestinian kids on one team if they ever hang out, and they all broke out laughing and said, 'Yeah, duh!' In places where young people are often encouraged to think the worst of others, these are the kinds of relationships that give hope for a more peaceable future." See the full story on Oprah.com.