In order to obtain real peace we must begin with the children.” – Ghandi

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Roots and Fruits is a partnership model of peace and education that empowers children, ages 3 -5, to investigate who they are and where they come from, “roots,” and discover their unique gifts, “fruits,” that they can share with the world. Through experiential learning, games, dialogue, community exploration, and self - reflection all those present are taught to explore all aspects of their cultural identities, families, ideas, multiple intelligences, faiths, customs, traditions, beliefs, music, movement, games, and ways we can work togetherto create peaceful communities.Roots & Fruits is a Nationally Accredited Program through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Season of Light Cross Cultural Winter Festival 11.22.14

One Tree Center’s Third Annual Season of Light Winter Festival is right around the corner on Saturday, Nov. 22 from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM! We are very excited to host this festival in downtown Portland this year to be more accessible to families within Portland and surrounding towns!

This Season of Light Festival came as a vision to me a few years ago when I reflected on the heart of One Tree and an event we wanted to host each year to build community and raise money for our programming for children. One Tree’s mission is to empower children, and families, to truly honor the diversity that exists within the world!! We serve so many families from many diverse ancient traditions and have the opportunity each year to bear witness to these holiday rituals through the children we serve. Through the years we have learned how similar these traditions around the world are as well as appreciate their uniqueness.

The Season of Light was an opportunity for One Tree to share our knowledge of six central holidays that most people celebrate at this time of year!! Eid al Adha (Muslim tradition), Diwali (Hindu Tradition), Winter Solstice (Pagan Tradition), Hanukkah (Jewish Tradition), Christmas (Christian Tradition), and Kwanzaa (African American Tradition) all exist within weeks from each other. All hold an essence of learning about the balance between the light and the dark, seeing the light amidst the dark, and celebrating a season of hope and joy for the light!! As I learned about these similarities, while honoring the unique traditions, I felt compelled to create an event that brought this knowledge to the larger community.

This time of year can sometimes bring many emotions of stress, anxiety, loneliness, fear, and consumerism that suffocates the true emotions of joy, wonder, celebration, and gratitude that all of these holidays embrace. I wanted to create an event that emanated the heart of these holidays, bringing families and communities together at a time when we can tend to be fearful of the best language in wishing one another a “Happy Holiday!” How can we go a bit deeper in wishing folks a Happy Eid, or Happy Hanukkah? How do we open ourselves up to learn more about what we each celebrate? How do we listen and bear witness to our various rituals and see how our roads join?

This is an event to Celebrate the Light by shedding light on these ancient traditions through music, art, and storytelling. It is an opportunity for the general public as well as families One Tree serves and has served, to come together to bear witness, dialogue, enjoy good food, music, dance, and have an afternoon of celebration. This is also a time for One Tree to share a bit more about the work we do in the community and to have folks do some holiday shopping in our basket raffles and silent auction. The event is free and open to all and we hope you can attend, to learn a bit more about the joy of this season, as well as to offer support to One Tree Center’s work with children on Social Justice and Peace.

Peace and Social Justice Camps

BlogPhotoSummer is here and our Peace and Social Justice Camps are under way!!
The Roots & Fruits kiddos are in their third week of “Peace Camp” and have been having a fabulous time engaging in self reflection, journaling, friendship games, art projects, and peace stories.  We have welcomed new friends who are starting early for the 2014-2015 school year, as well as slowly saying goodbye to longtime buddies as kiddos transition into kindergarten!!

Our elementary kids just started this week in their Social Justice Theater and Film Camp, preparing for their theatrical debut of “I Am Not Isabella.” This is an empowering children’s story that describes a little girl’s dreams of being a magnificent, powerful woman when she grows up promoting peace in the world around her!!!  The children are exploring topics on self identity, self affirmation, and women’s history as they learn script writing, set and costume design, and performance.

We are also very excited to host our friends, the Seeds of Peace International Youth Educators, again this summer to engage in song, dance, games, and dialogues on creating peaceful, trusting communities.  The youth have traveled from various States in the U.S., as well from overseas in Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, and many other countries.  We look forward to sharing stories of our gathering later this month!!

One Tree is smiling with the beautiful warm summer weather and are excited to continue to welcome new families and friends to our programs.  Please visit our Community Branches pages for registration forms for the Social Justice Camp in August and our Roots & Fruits page for registration materials for the upcoming 2014-2015 preschool year!!

We hope everyone is having a wonderful summer!!! Peace and Smiles – Virginia Dearani, Director