Wednesday, October 24, 2012

We are making a difference... Peace Preserves was created and developed as a vehicle for promoting the message"Peace Preserves". The organic preserves, jam spreaders, and peace bracelets became available nearly four years ago and originally sold as fundraising items to non-profit organizations. The idea evolved from a youth group called Peace Jam that I started at my son's high school (see post below "One person can make a difference...). Peace Jam, an international educational organization , teaches youth about leadership, taking action, and becoming involved in global issues.

Our Peace Jam club was the first established in Maine. There are eleven Nobel Peace Laureates on the Peace Jam Advisory Board. The Laureates have targeted several global concerns that they recognize as "Global Calls for Action". We worked on issues focusing on poverty and the environment.  Over the last seven years, students in our club have been very active in developing sustainable projects that have had an impact in our community. As co-advisor, I have worked with students to create organic gardens on our school grounds and establish a compost/recycling system for the school complex. Our Peace Jam club was recognized by the Pearson Foundation with an international award called the Global Call for Action Challenge. Nobel Peace Laureate Shrin Ebadi from Iran (2003) visited our school to present this prestigious award. It was an incredible opportunity for our community to host such an event.

I recently stepped down from advisor and I am actively involved in expanding Peace Jam throughout the northeast. After a recent organizational shift in our region, a new model was created and individual Chapters will be formed for each of the New England states. They will work together under a primary Affiliate. The first Chapter has been established in CT and I am currently seeking a Chapter sponsor in Maine.

Peace Jam is a wonderful experience for youth and adults.  I would encourage you to review their website and become involved and inspired!

Peace Preserves' products are available as fundraising items for non-profit events, as well as, we have broadened our market to include selling wholesale to gourmet and gift shops, grocery stores, special events, as well as individual online purchases. It should be noted that our organic preserves have been discontinued at this time due to expensive production costs but our individually handcrafted jam spreaders and our unique peace bracelets are still available for purchase and make lovely gifts.

We donate 1% of our total sales to Peace Jam. By purchasing our products you can support our hope for peace. You too can be involved in making a difference. Thank you for your support. "Spread Peace".

Sunday, June 6, 2010

One person can make a difference...

I was only 9 years old in the mid sixties but I remember the disturbing Vietnam photos on the news, the civil rights movement, starving children in Africa, my parents taking us to demonstrations to protest, and our family 'hootenany' singing Pete Seeger's songs of peace. I never could understand why people would choose war over peace. I can clearly remember feeling confused and wondering why couldn't people of all color, diverse religions, and the rich and poor couldn't respect each others' differences and learn to live together in peace. As a young child, it seemed like such a simple concept to follow. I always believed that someday I would be involved in a peace movement that would be dedicated to achieving peace globally.

Since those childhood memories, my life has taken many twists and turns. I graduated from Hampshire College in 1979 with a degree in Human Ecology, I have been happily married for the last 24 years, we have raised three sons in Maine, I am a recent breast cancer survivor, a political activist, an involved community member, school volunteer, and I am self employed in a contract manufacturing business called Pieceworks, Inc.

After reading the book, Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, I was inspired to re-ignite my childhood dream and commitment to global peace. Peace Preserves was an idea that came directly from the underlying theme expressed by the author that "one person can make a difference".

Soon after reading the book, I learned about an international youth group, called Peace Jam, dedicated to teaching youth of all ages about global peace. To re-enforce the organization's goals, there are 11 Nobel Peace Laureates on the Advisory Board. I quickly learned that there was no chapter in Maine and I decided here was a great opportunity to be involved in educating youth about issues of world conflict and sharing goals of global peace with an organization of like-minded people. I signed on as an advisor and initiated the first Peace Jam group in Maine at my son's high school. We have completed some incredible projects (more posts later) but to date Peace Jam has been a great home for a peace activist. It will be our children who will inherit our failures and successes so why not give them the tools to continue our unfinished work to achieve global peace?

Our Peace Jam group expanded and our community projects were initiated. We were looking for creative fundraising ideas to replace the usual candy bars, candles, and jewelry. It was my son who created the idea of selling jam as an innovative fundraising idea. I had made my own organic blueberry preserves for years and the idea was an appealing challenge.

Unfortunately, our excitement to develop this venture was interrupted when I learned that I was diagnosed breat cancer. Everything came to a halt, as I had to place all my resources on recovery. It is difficult to imagine how radiation treatments can be viewed as a gift, but my 45 minute drive to and from the cancer center and the treatments themselves offered such profound meditative moments. My sincere desire and commitment to "making a difference" in this world became my primary focus. I used this recovery time to develop, plan, and initiate my new business opportunity. Peace Preserves evolved.

Peace Preserves became a unique fundraising item I could offer to other Peace Jam groups, as well as to any non-profit organization. Groups can purchase both products wholesale and sell them for a profit or individuals can purchase them directly online. I am currently donating 1% of my total sales to Peace Jam Northeast.

My products have been a huge success! I am now also selling retail to specialty stores in Maine, including Whole Foods in Portland. I will be expanding both the fundraising opportunities and the retail market in the coming months. My products have been sold from the east to the west coast, as well as, have travelled to Canada, Costa Rica, Egypt, Germany, Ghana, Nepal, Spain, and Sweden. I am spreading the message "Peace Preserves" globally. Yes, one person can make a difference...