Sunday, October 10, 2010

A moment to collect thoughts

What do you need? How can we help you? were the two questions Haru Inouye, CEO of the San Francisco based Shinnyo-en foundation asked me a few years ago.  I wanted to bring Shinnyo-en to share and deepen our understanding of  the foundation's initiative, Six Billion Paths to Peace and to help us celebrate the International Day of Peace. I never dreamt that Casady was going to become an example of "kindness has no borders" so quickly.

T-shirts for the entire school to help us celebrate the International Day of Peace arrived on September 17. YAC students efficiently distributed t-shirts to all divisions and areas of the school in one day.

The evening of September 18th, Mariko Terasaki, Communication Director and Sara Mitzner, Shinnyo-en intern and former Shinnyo-en fellow arrived with a smile despite luggage being sent to Colorado and having  to overcome challenges regarding hotel location and transportation.  It was amazing how flexible, kind, and open-minded they were. 

On Sunday, September 19th, Sara and Mariko problem-solved and managed to be at all events requiring their presence, as well as having a "Target" experience to buy new clothes until their luggage arrived.  It was like challenges made them be more pleasant and they enjoyed problem-solving with a kind attitude and a smile.

Pinwheels for Peace Festival at UCO and Giant Pinwheel Contest, September 19, 2010
Oklahoma teachers and peace and respect diversity organizations hosted art expressions from different Oklahoma groups and a Giant Pinwheel Contest to celebrate the International Day of Peace.

Devin helped the UCO Pinwheels for Peace organizers set-up sound system and brought the Casady Giant Pinwheel he designed and built and the art Club decorated.  The Casady Giant Pinwheel took second place in the competition.  The Casady string quartet and the Casady dance club performed at the festival.

How can a person deliver a whole mission, vision, mission and purpose of an organization in less than two minutes and inspire a small crowd in the middle of over 100 degree Oklahoma heat?  Mariko did it.  After her speech, people wanted information and the Six Billion Paths to Peace t-shirt.  Meanwhile, Sara in her beautiful red dress documented the experience through pictures.  What an incredible pair they were.  They seem to be connected to make things go smoothly no matter the circunstances.  What a great example of collaboration!

From the camping atmosphere at UCO we transfer to the "cool" hotel where the "Casady School Youth Leadership Welcoming Committee" waited for us. Available YAC senior chairs and presidents of STUCO, GALES, Art Club and their sponsors were waiting for "The UCO Pinwheel for Peace participants" to attended a dinner at Bellini's organized by the Gales Co-Presidents, Samantha and Alley. At the conclusion of the evening Shinnyo-en surprised us when Sara took care of the bill.  Thank you Shinnyo-en for celebrating the commonality of the purpose of these Casady Clubs, SERVICE.

At midnight on the 19th. Gordon Greaves arrived.  By 7:30 a.m. on October 20th, Gordon joined Sara and Mariko as well as a local videographer throughout the day Shinnyo-en discovered Casady.  Casady shared service experiences, our beautiful campus and new construction area with Mariko, Sara, and Gordon. 

Early morning on the 20th, the Shinnyo-en group was greeted by Mike's breakfast at the Student Center in the Upper Division.  Caitlin introduced Mariko, Sara and Gordon at the UD Chapel.  Carmen introduced them at other chapels.  The team presented their Six Billion Paths to Peace experience to audiences from 1-12th grade. 

The team shared breakfast foods with Upper Division students and teachers after chapel, lunch with the Primary Division, afternoon hours with the Middle Division learning about their advisory program and how Mrs. Crossno created a connection between the Memorial Museum Hope Trunk resources and her Six Billion Paths to Peace San Francisco Retreat experience to inspire students to intentionally focus on daily kindness as a path to a more caring community in the MD.  The Shinnyo-en team also spent time with Mr. Kendall White who shared the new direction he is taking to lead the SEE period (service time for the middle division) as a consequence of his attendance to the YAC Invitational, Called2Change, at the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum. 

The Shinnyo-en team ended their day at Casady School with tea time with the LD faculty and a tour of the new construction (Chapel and LEED Math building) by Mr. Nathan Sheldon.

In the evening, Dr. Sumeeta Nanda opened her home for a potluck dinner to have a family dinning experience.  Audrey Lin was able to join us.  Dr. Gigi Hu who provided an Origami Peace Matinee at Casady where participants viewed the film, On A Peace Crane, Tomoko's Adventure joined the Casady team who attended Peace Retreats in San Francisco making dishes to share with the Shinnyo-en team.

                                              September 21: International Day of Peace 
UD Pinwheels and 6bptp t-shirts, our seed and hope for a world at peace one day

The innocent symbol of childhood, a pinwheel planted as a personal seed of peace and wearing the beautiful 6bptp t-shirt that helps us recognize that every human being is an agent of peace through kindness, were the simple ways in which our entire school expressed hope of a world at peace one day and celebrate the International Day of Peace.  Mr. Bush, 3rd grade teacher stated, "It was so simple and so beautiful."

Pinwheels in the Upper Division were made by YAC, Gales, Art Club, Art classes and French, Spanish, and Chinese classes. 

YAC and Art Club planted pinwheels around the lake planted pinwheels before the UD Chapel service.  The language classes planted them on their walls where they continue to be displayed now for future teaching purposes.  Language classes were introduced or review verb tenses and learned vocabulary while making pinwheels.  Gales made pinwheels to be decorated by children at the UCO Pinwheels for Peace celebration on September 19th.  The Middle Division made pinwheels in their advisories.  Every advisory made a giant pinwheel to enter in the UCO Giant Pinwheel Contest.  The LD and PD made pinwheels in their classrooms.

Other divisions planted pinwheels at their own schedule. At noon, one could see pinwheels around most of our lake.  The video of the week crafted by Mrs. Linda Waters, Casady's marketing director, tells an inspiring story of students planting their pinwheels around the lake like their seed commitment to creating a more caring and loving community on a daily basis.

Six Billion Paths to Peace T-shirts were offered as a choice for an out of uniform for the day. A great number of UD teachers and students wore the t-shir.  Youth, children, and adults in other divisions as well as coaches, kitchen, administrators, staff and grounds keepers were united in celebrating the International Day of Peace with focus on intentional kindness by a simple t-shirt.  One LD teacher used the t-shirt for a teachable moment, "Look at the t-shirt you are wearing. Think if if what you are doing is a kind and peaceful way to behave."

Haru, Courtney and Aubrey share what role the Six Billion Paths to Peace had in their lives and their projects as Shinnyo-en CEO, Fellow and Blake Student follower of the Shinnyo-en initiative Six Billion Paths to Peace.

In between chapels, Father Blizzard, Mr. Varela, and Mrs Clay took the Shinnyo-en team on a tour of campus and class visits.

There was also allocated time to visit with the leadership of school and for video interviews.

At lunch time, the Shinnyo-en team experienced our family style lunch. Courtney and her mom attended the MD International lunch. The rest of the team went to lunch at Calvert. Thank you to Haru for his flexibility and for assuming second waiter duties.

After lunch, the Shinnyo-en team addressed the LD Chapel where the children were enthusiastic participants of the interactive speeches provided by Courtney and Aubrey.  Haru connected to the children before chapel sharing that his children were about their age.

The Shinnyo-en International day ended with a quick visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum hosted by its director of education and research, Mrs. Lynn Roller.  A small reception followed where Dr. Clydia Forehand provided an inspirational introduction to the Shinnyo-en video participants viewed and welcomed Haru to share a few words.

What is next?  We still have a lot of work to do to find inner peace and create an atmosphere of harmony and care around us .  Our work continues!

Pinwheels for Peace, International Day of Peace Memories

Pinwheels for Peace is a beautiful video of Casady's memories of September 21 small celebrations around the lake.  Thank you to Mrs. Linda Waters for making such an inspirational video.

For Upper Division memories, see the pictures in the album below

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