ENDWELL, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – Fifth graders from the Maine Endwell Central School District experienced the power of peace and positivity last week as they participated in a first of its kind event.

On September 21, coinciding with the International Day of Peace, students from the Homer Brink and Maine Memorial Elementary Schools came together in the Town of Maine Park for a Children’s Peace Fair.

Throughout the morning, the children participated in almost 20 different activity stations as they learned the importance of showing love and kindness to yourself and others. The fair was sponsored by Broome County Peace Action and Veterans for Peace. It was the only one of its kind in the area and according to organizers, the only one in the world.

“The purpose of this event is to not only bring our students together from both ends of the district, but to expose them to the multitude of peaceful activities in which they can participate. The activities are focused on mindful and meaningful tasks, ones that may lead to future hobbies and interests. We are striving to help them gain a greater appreciation of our diverse population and bring intentional focus to the idea that peace is something we must all work toward together,” said MECSD Enrichment Teacher Hilary Rozek. “I am hopeful and trusting that no one will attempt to bring a political agenda to this event as peace should not be tied to a party.  Our children need to be children and learn how to communicate and develop positive relationships with others, regardless of background, differing cultures, physical characteristics, and political affiliations.”

The ten-year-olds enjoyed a magic show, drum circle, meditative yoga, storytelling, painting, and more. They also learned the importance of extending kindness to nature with activities focused on trees, birds, and other animals. The students ate lunch under the trees before going on a walk for peace and later held a moment of silence. Afterwards, they were asked to line up and walk with a new friend from the other school.

The event ended with the planting of a Ginko tree, a symbol of hope for peace, as it was the tree that survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II

This is the first school-based Children’s Peace Fair. The first annual Children’s Peace Fair took place on August 6, 2019, at the First Congregational Church of Binghamton. In addition to the decades long tradition of ringing the bell in remembrance of Hiroshima, children from across the community joined the event to celebrate peace, sing, dance, and play.

For more information on the mission of the fair, visit childrenspeacefair.org