Keys Youth Mural Garners Second Nobel Laureate Signature
Created to raise awareness for PeaceJam’s 10 Global Call to Action issues, this mural has now gotten the attention of not one, but two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. Be the Change Coordinator Michele Sutter was invited to attend the Janaluska Peace Conference in North Carolina last month where the mural served as the main stage backdrop.
Florida State University Freshman Leah Sutter, Michele Sutter’s daughter, shared the history and making of the Be the Change Guernica Peace Mural. She helped create it while still in high school in Monroe County and while she served on the PeaceJam Youth Board of Be the Change. The large canvas is painted with images designed to inspire action towards peace.
The mural is modeled after the Kid’s Guernica Project, an international children’s art project that creates murals on a 26’ by 12’ canvas, the size of Picasso’s “Guernica” painting. Inspired by this important work created to protest the brutality against the town of Guernica, Spain during the Spanish Civil War, an international group was formed around the premise that youth can express messages of peace through art to the world community.
Created by more than 30 youth from all areas of Monroe County, this mural has appeared in Monroe County,Tallahassee and now the Janaluska Peace Conference in North Carolina. The Peace Conference featured Nobel Laureate Leymah Roberta Gbowee from Liberia as their keynote speaker. She signed the mural which had already been signed by Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi of Iran. Gbowee is known as a peace activist responsible for leading a women’s peace movement that helped bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003.
Garland Young, the Peace Conference Planning Committee Chair, said, “Without question the Guernica Mural was the center of many conversations. It is a beautiful, creative mural expressing so many aspects of our hopes for peace. Please share our appreciation with all with whom you work and all those who shared in the project. Nobody could have done a more effective job speaking to the meaning of the mural than Leah [Sutter].”
Be the Change Program Manager Michele Sutter also attended the conference to share BTC best practices with the Waynesville High School PeaceJam group. Be the Change of the Florida Keys, Inc is a non-profit organization.
Peace of Art Project Moves to Marathon Government Center
The PeaceJam Youth Board project, A Peace of Art is currently on display at the Marathon Government Center located at 2798 Overseas Highway, bayside. The work is located on both the first and second floors. This is done in partnership with The Florida Keys Council of the Arts through the Art in Public Places program. The Peace of Art Project is a unique collection of 10 3’ X 3’ acrylic paintings, one for each of PeaceJam Global Call to Action issues. There is also a service project connected to each issue. The project is designed to raise awareness in our community and schools about PeaceJam, the GCA issues and how the members of BTC are willing to take on some tough issues to make a difference and do so creatively. To see the student made video about the project, go to:
King Speaks Out Against Hate, Bullying
At the request of Monroe County students, former racist skinhead Angela King of Orlando spoke throughout Monroe County at the public high schools against hate and bullying. She also gave a public talk at the Key Largo public library.
Be the Change of the Florida Keys, Inc., (BTC) brought Ms King to Monroe as a follow up to the 8th Grade Transition Program held last May when hundreds of students as part of the day’s activities chose as a freshmen-year focus topic “Ending Racism and Hate.” Of special concern is how this manifests itself as bullying in the schools. Ms King spoke to 1,650 students in assemblies, led 100 students in classroom and BTC Club discussions about the issue. Most students were surprised to learn about the number of hate groups operating in Florida.
Tyler Ford, from Tavernier and a senior at Coral Shores High School and BTC Club member asked if Angela King could be brought in to speak. “I remember hearing her speak at Student Awareness Day, a Holocaust Symposium, last year and thought other students would think differently if they heard her story too,” he said.
Once entrenched in the racist underground lifestyle, King’s life took a dramatic shift. She then earned an M.A. from the University of Central Florida in Interdisciplinary Studies focused on inequality in social systems.
King is a keynote speaker and consultant in schools, communities and religious centers. She has been interviewed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and National Public Radio as well as featured in films, books, and magazines for her support of prejudice reduction and Holocaust education.
For more information about Ms. King visit the Life after Hate website at: http://lifeafterhate.org/
This Be the Change program was sponsored in part by Keys to Peace, Inc. http://www.keystopeace.com/
Community Helps 600 8th Graders Transition to High School
Thanks in part to the generosity of the community Organizations and businesses listed below 8TP, a signature program of Be the Change helped 600 students circumvent first-day fears with the 8th-Grade transition program in the Upper and Lower Keys for incoming class of 2016.
- First State Bank of the Florida Keys
- BB&T Bank
- Upper Keys Rotary Club
- Key Largo Rotary Club
- Upper Keys Kiwanis Club
- B.P.O.E. Lodge 1872 in Tavernier
- Islamorada Community Entertainment
- Doubletree Grand Resort in Key West
- Historic Tours of America – Key West Conch Train
- Keys Federal Credit Union
Reading Mentors Make Academic Gains
After two sessions with his reading mentee, High School Freshman Devin Frins, from Tavernier, announced to his class, “I think I learn best by helping someone else.” Frins and his class mates did. At the end of the school year 97% of the high school mentors made reading gains.
- 99% of Florida Teen Trendsetters™ seniors graduate
- 74% of Florida teens report earning state-funded college scholarship compared to 38% of their peers
- At-risk reading performance drops in half among 2nd-3rd grade mentees
- 87% of mentees progressed adequately or exceeded expectations in reading and language arts according to their teachers
Florida National Guard Brings Youth Leader Training for 10th Year
BTC has partnered with the Florida National Guard for 10 years to bring quality drug-education and prevention programming to middle school students of Monroe County. Their Drug Demand Reduction programs and their Youth Leader Program, which focuses on building life and social skills through teaching character and leadership qualities, support the 40 Developmental Assets that reduces risky behavior in youth.
Uniformed personnel intrigue students through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on activities. FNG spent a week in the Keys in May when they brought three teams and three rock climbing walls as part of their instruction and demonstrations from Key West to Key Largo. 2,408 Middle School students received the training.
Monroe County Students Meet Nobel Laureate at PeaceJam Southeast Conference in Tallahassee
For the fourth consecutive year BTC youth and adult mentors traveled to the annual PeaceJam Southeast Conference where they spent the weekend in leadership training and learning about a number of relevant social issues in workshops, doing service, spending time with a Nobel Laureate and sharing their own projects with PeaceJammers from the five state Southeast region. The conference is hosted by the Center for Leadership and Civic Education at Florida State University in Tallahassee. This year’s laureate, Jody Williams, who won the prize in 1997 for her work with landmines, spent time motivating the students with her personal stories, Q&A session and listening to the students’ stories of service and inspiration. PeaceJam is an international youth movement that connects Nobel Laureates with youth to inspire them to build the life skills needed to create positive change in the world. Be the Change has partnered with PeaceJam for four years.
BTC Youth Promotes Water Conservation!
As part of the focus to promote water conservation and raise awareness about the global water crisis, Marathon High School BTC Club members and PeaceJam Youth Board members from the Middle Keys assembled, painted and displayed 50 beautiful self-irrigating container gardens at the recent Marathon Seafood Festival. In addition to displaying their gardens, students made presentations about how to conserve water, handed out water saving tip sheets, and asked event goers to sign a pledge to conserve water.
Guernica Mural Travels to Florida State Capital!
BTC PeaceJam Youth Board Art Project, the Guernica Mural, travelled to the state capital and was displayed in the rotunda on March 1 which was Florida Keys Day. The 26 X 12 mural was hung from the third floor for the day. BTC Youth Advisor Leah Sutter was on hand to answer questions about the mural and the work of BTC n to visitors at the capital, many of whom were community leaders fromMonroeCountywho were able to view the mural for the first time.
Be the Change of the Florida Keys, Inc. (BTC) would like to thank the community, donors and artists for their support of the three “Soup-A-Bowl” events during the month of March. Events were held in March at St. Columba Episcopal Church inMarathon, at Glad Tidings Church in Key West and at the Island Christian School gymnasium on in the Upper Keys. This was the first year the event was held in all three areas of the Keys.
This project gives youth the opportunity to create and display their artwork and demonstrate that meaningful service can be achieved through the arts. The event is modeled after “Empty Bowls” project, a national service learning movement. Part of the service aspect of this project is to raise awareness about hunger and poverty in our community and the emerging water crisis. Programs included a presentation about both issues and a call to action by the youth to event goers to conserve water.
Florida Keys Council of the Arts is supported the Marathon event through their ArtReach Grant. This project is sponsored in part by the Florida Keys Council of the Arts, the State of Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and private donations.