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.
http://www.pieceworksinc.com/

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...

No comments:

Post a Comment