Sarah Brown, a senior at the University of Virginia, is one of many distinguished former PPI interns – in fact, she’s one of the early architects of our grassroots activities. Though she’s no longer a regular in the PPI office, Sarah has continued to support our work, most recently in combination with her sorority sisters at Kappa Alpha Theta. Theta organizes a trunk sale for charity twice each year, and picks a different beneficiary each time. Last semester, Sarah and her sisters donated one of their sales to PPI, raising roughly $150. PPI is extremely grateful for Sarah and her sisters’ support.
We’re no stranger to the power of competition at PeacePlayers International. Every day, we see competition and teamwork forging friendships where they were unheard of before – among Jewish and Arab children in Jerusalem, or Catholics and Protestants in Belfast, or Greek- and Turkish-Cypriots in Cyprus, or blacks, whites and Indians in South Africa. We know firsthand the power of competition to urge us to something greater.
We’ve just entered a competition of our own, and a win would mean quite a bit to the organization. Chase Community Giving recently announced it would be awarding $5 million to over 100 organizations – and YOU decide who wins. Please take just one minute and click here to vote for PeacePlayers International.
The top 100 vote-getters will each win $25,000 in the competition’s first round, with a potential for greater prizes – up to $1 mil. – after that. At PPI, $25,000 is about enough to support one PeacePlayers International Fellow, or as many as FOUR integrated teams for a semester. That’s nearly FIFTY children given a unique opportunity to make friendships across generations-old divides through basketball.
So please vote. Then, forward this note to your friends to ask them to help out too. Facebook, Twitter, Change.org – wherever you are, we hope you’ll carry our message with you. With your support, we can make an even bigger impact worldwide.
Thank you in advance!
Interested in getting involved with PeacePlayers International? Sign up to be a Team Captain. Team Captains are our official ambassadors to the community at large. When you sign up to be a Team Captain, you commit to working closely with PPI staff to help raise the organization’s profile in your own town and support its programs overseas. This structured program also offers official Team Captains unique opportunities to learn about PPI, what we do, and how it works. If you’re interested in becoming a Team Captain, contact PPI’s Development and Communications Associate, Brian Cognato,at 202-639-6632 or bcognato[at]peaceplayersintl.org for more information.
Matya Magnezi, an Israeli-born American college student, has volunteered for PeacePlayers International as an intern not once, but twice. After helping PeacePlayers International – Middle East while on a visit to Israel this summer, she joined the PPI HQ team in Washington, DC, where she helps with a wide variety of duties – many of them less than glamorous.
As one of the few US-based volunteers to have seen our programs in person (even though she visited during the relatively quiet summer), PPI has asked her to share her thoughts on her experience in the field, and what it means to her as both a volunteer and a native-born Israeli.
After interning with PPI-ME this summer, I realized that it’s okay to believe that peace is possible, and it’s okay to actively work towards that peace. As an Israeli, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been the reality I live in. The distrust, hate and wars were always a part of life. In fact, those were some of the reasons my parents cited in favor of moving to the United States in 1999. Yet returning to Israel for a visit and meeting PeacePlayers participants at the Jerusalem Streetball Tournament was quite a wonderful shock.
Although I had interacted with Arabs in the past on one or two occasions, they were still very much a mystery to me. Even as a young child, I knew that the Arab children I saw in the distance were kids, just like me, but the physical and psychological separation made us suspicious of each other. But the Arab youths I met while working with PPI – ME were not only excellent basketball players, but also considerate and playful, warm and welcoming, loving and kind, not to mention truly upstanding young ladies and gentlemen. Standing on the sidelines and cheering them on, I could see for myself, that Arabs and Jews are all just people, who can play basketball together, cheer on their Arab and Jewish teammates, and eat borekas for dinner while waiting for the final game of the day to begin.
Most days I worked in the PPI-ME office in Tel Aviv, doing the “behind-the-scenes” work. I only met the kids on three occasions, but those few hours completely changed my understanding of groups in conflict. We have to realize that peace isn’t created behind closed doors. Peace starts with children playing basketball. Peace starts with a Jewish girl eagerly telling me about the new Arab friends she made that day. Perhaps, that’s not what the news tells you. But I was there that day, and peace was too.
If you’re interested in interning or volunteering with PeacePlayers International, contact Brian Cognato at firstname.lastname@example.org.