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).

Compassion Reflections on Ferguson: Race, Peace, and Children 12.16.14

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“If we are to have real peace in the world, we will have to begin with the children” ~Gandhi

One Tree would like to host their first of many reflections on the topic of race relations and children in response to both the recent events in Ferguson, MO and the current racial climate in the US. This event is an opportunity for families to come together, meditate for peace, and engage in reflection, dialogue, and art to explore the topic of racism in light of Ferguson today. As rallies, speakers, and actions take place across the country, One Tree, in partnership with Justice in the Body and other Community Leaders, would like to bring our focus to empowering children and youth to take time to reflect and share their voices on race relations in their own lives. Adults will learn tools and dialogue on ways to speak with our children about the current events unfolding.

As a community we will gather as one in meditation focusing on peace and justice in our world. We then will split into two groups of Adults and Children/youth to dialogue and share our reflections. The children and youth will be empowered to create art as they learn about Activist Artists who used their creations to share their visions of peace for our world. The Adult Caregivers of our children will sit together in dialogue to share our challenges and needs in partnering with children in creating a just and peace world.

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.