Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hip hop don't stop

YALA Peace is getting down, people.

Free-styling to hip hop beats and living the motto:


! ! !

Last week the YALA Peace stars rounded up some younger boys and I taught everyone some hip hop dance moves.

We even were joined by 3 cool kids who organized a trip from their school in California to learn about peace and young people in the Middle East.

When YALA star Princess started filming, the attitude got bumped up.

In honor of the heights we've achieved in self-expression, YALA Peace presents their music video: LOW

Sunday, June 6, 2010


"And finally the day will come when the risk it takes to remain tight in the bud will be more painful than the risk it takes to blossom."
-Anais Nin

A quick note on flowers and YALA Peace:

flowers come up in our workshops and our creative work often.

They are symbols, for peace and for love, for spring and for renewal.

We give them as gifts, we express love through them.

When we talk about our growth, we say, "we bloom, we blossom."

And we ARE blooming and blossoming -

the YALA Peace stars have been encouraged all year to open their minds and hearts and honor their creative growth, and with that nurturing push, they are now encouraging that freedom and expansion to the eager little children who come, more and more of them every week, to drink in the fresh water and sunshine of free expression that we shower on them.

We are all thirsty for it.

And now the YALA Peace flowers are wildly overgrowing their boxed gardens, and taking risk after risk to bloom all over the place.

Keep your eyes out for these wildflowers, beautiful beyond belief.

For the Mothers

Different days around the world are singled out to honor Mothers. In America, that day falls in May, and at the Arab-Jewish Community Center's American Corner, that day fell on a workshop.

To specifically mark one day a year to honor Mothers is a little bit crazy -

one day to the person who gave us life, L I F E !

And who shaped us with love, and who can be our grandest hero, our challenger and most loyal friend for life.

Really, I feel every moment is reserved to live in a way to honor the woman who gave you life.

Anyhow, it was a good excuse to make presents for these indescribable forces in our lives. (And if not for a mother, then for another important person in our lives.)

Everyone loves their mother and wanted to make something cool. The YALA Peace leaders wanted to show the kids how to create something special and interesting instead of a traditional boring card. Each child wanted to give their mother something beautiful, like flowers. So we decided to make our own flower sculptures out of colored clay.

The kids sculpted intricate flowers with many petals out of the soft clay, colored like paradise birds and exotic fruits. Each child concentrated fiercely, some adding details like miniature thorns along the stems and some whimsically dusting their handmade botany with golden glitter. One of the boys asked for paper on which to mount his sculpture, and then proceeded to paint an idyllic landscape of grassy hills and blue sky, adding clay birds to the mixed-media piece.

Each sculpture was unique and of great importance to the creator. They handled their work with delicate care and respect for what they had worked hard to produce with their own hands. The small children cherished the ability to make something complex and beautiful with the help and attention from their YALA mentors.

The pride in the room was contagious, and the energy was high. Soon golden glitter was fluttering and sparkling through the air, making its mark on everyone's face. I hope the mothers saw the concentrated intention behind their children's sculpture gifts, the glittering love, and not only the gold glitter so difficult to rub off their children.

We left a trace of magic behind in that room.