“We did some real soul searching after the Connecticut shootings,” said Christopher Moore, El Dorado Union High School District associate superintendant and Cameron Park Rotary Club member. “We had already scheduled the Peace Forum for February as a very appropriate way to educate children about different ways to serve the world, but we also wanted them to know that there are good people out there doing good things. We have a collective responsibility to promote service to humanity.”
The Peace Forum was planned for February to help celebrate the founding of the Rotary Club in 1905. Moore and two other Cameron Park Rotary Club members, former El Dorado County Supervisor Bob Dorr and former Ponderosa High School Principal Dave Sargent, are organizing the event.
Participants register at noon on Feb. 23 at the Cameron Park CSD Community Center, with the program beginning at 1 p.m. with an opening speech by Rotary District Governor Sam Wilbanks. A panel discussion on educational programs that promote world understanding, such as youth exchange programs, will follow. Panel members will include a Rotary Youth Exchange student, a Youth Exchange host family parent, a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, Tom Vilhauer, Dr. Mary Maaga and Raelene Herzig from People to People.
After a break, a second panel discussion about projects that promote peace will follow. Panel members will include Bob Dorr on the Cameron Park Rotary project in Costa Rica, Reuben Jessop with the local project for homeless, a person from an orphanage project in Nicaragua, and two others yet to be determined.
The keynote speaker for the forum will be Emily Jonas from Shelterbox, a international disaster relief organization started in 2002 to deliver emergency shelter and supplies for people made homeless by disaster. In 2012 alone, Shelterbox teams responded to disasters all over the world including Fiji, Samoa, Guatemala, Russia, Uganda, Phillipines, Haiti, Cuba, Nigeria, Iraq Kurdistan and the United States.
Jonas is the Center Director for Lindamood Bell Learning Center in San Rafael, an intensive program for children struggling with literacy. She is also an Ambassador and Response Team Member for Shelter Box International and was deployed to the crisis in Somalia in 2011. For more than 15 years, Jonas has worked for global and local non profits. In 2007, she founded Collective Impact, a nonprofit program working with inner city youth in San Francisco. She has served on the Board of Directors for Spark, a global women’s non profit, and the Booker T. Washington Community Center, as well as on committees for the Department of Human Services Family & Children Services, the “Afterschool For All” initiative and the Advisory Board to A Good Idea.
Jonas was honored by AT&T and 92.7FM radio as a local “Community Hero.” She was featured as the inspiring visionary leader in Wiley & Co.’s book, ” The Leadership Challenge,” and has made appearances on Comcast Newsmakers and Black Renaissance to speak about her work. At the Peace Forum, she will be speaking about creating peace in our communities and in the world.
After the keynote address, refreshments will be served near displays and exhibits of projects that promote peace in the community and internationally. The exhibits are designed to help give participants avenues for projects in which they can become involved. Displays will focus on building understanding, goodwill and peace. Individuals and organizations involved with presenting the exhibits will be on hand to discuss their projects. Attendees will receive a list of those presenting displays and their contact information at the forum.
“We’ve had a very good response from local and regional organizations to participate in the displays,” said Sargent. “The Federated Church, Soroptomists, United Outreach, Compassion International, Sacramento Friends and the Rotary Clubs from the area are just a few organizations that will be there. People will be able to browse and find out ways that one person can make a difference to peace through their service.”
The Peace Forum is open to everyone on the western slope of El Dorado County of high school age and older. Wendy Schultz Mountain Democrat