Roses for World Peace

By T.J. David and Sylvia Villalobos

Roses have a universal appeal that speak to the heart and dazzle the senses. They have been delighting people for millennia with their beauty and importance in cultural traditions, but now are associated with peace through the unique work of International World Peace Rose Gardens (IWPRG). Based in Sacramento, California, we created this nonprofit in 1988 for the sole purpose of enhancing peace through the

creation of World Peace Rose Gardens in diverse communities around the world. The gardens become magnetic centers where people gather, enjoy beauty and are inspired to be better persons and world citizens. The projects have impacted millions, including more than 16,500 global youth who have participated in IWPRG youth programs.

We envisioned using the rose, the official flower of the United States, as a silent ambassador of peace; free of the fetters of race, culture, politics and religion. The idea sprouted from a simple act of goodwill when we decided to deliver vases of roses to patients at the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. The positive effect on the patients was immediate and uplifting; and the experience profoundly stirred our souls to do more with roses. Our target was big – the world! Why not? We truly believed that big ideas were possible through persistent and creative effort, hard work and unswerving faith.

Through the combined efforts of countless, dedicated volunteers, we have succeeded in establishing rose gardens on some of the most sacred, cultural and historic grounds in the world, such as, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia; The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Mexico and The Lake Shrine Gandhi Memorial in Pacific Palisades, California. For a complete list of the sites, please click here.

While the World Peace Rose Gardens are silent ambassadors of peace, it is youth who give voice to that message. Students from China, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Palestine and the United States, have participated in four exciting programs that promote world peace: The “World Peace Begins With Me” Art Program, The Inspirational Messages of Peace Contest, The Flower Pots of Friendship Program and The International Friendship Program. (See below for 2012 Inspirational Messages of Peace Contest Winners.)

The youth programs have blossomed since combining them with the United Nations’ International Day of Peace (IDP) events. After the creation of the State Capitol World Peace Rose Garden in Sacramento, California (2003), IWPRG took a leadership role in establishing yearly IDP celebrations in the highly visible and influential State Capitol Park. The multicultural, interfaith activities have given youth direct experience in peace activities, a positive response to the constant bombardment of negativity in their environment. It also has given them a chance to create a more peaceful world; first by cultivating peace within their own hearts, then by contributing peace within their families, schools and communities; thereby helping to build global peace.

There are more gardens in the making and we invite everyone to join this effort to dot the world with rose gardens for peace by becoming a Major, Sister or Affiliated World Peace Rose Garden sponsor or a donor to support the work - click here to learn more. We would like to leave you with this thought: “We believe there is a spark within each one of us that unites us all together as brothers and sisters of the world. If we harm one another through thoughts, words or actions, then we are directly or indirectly harming ourselves. Let us become peacemakers by living our theme, ‘World Peace Begins With Me’.”
 

________________________________


Sylvia Villalobos is Co-Creator and President of International World Peace Rose Gardens (IWPRG), a nonprofit founded in 1988 and based in Sacramento, California. The organization’s purpose is to enhance world peace through the creation of beautiful public rose gardens that become magnets for positive community activities. Sylvia’s major contribution has been to conceptualize, develop and coordinate IWPRG’s four youth programs: the “World Peace Begins With Me” Art Program, the Inspirational Messages of Peace Contest, the Flower Pots of Friendship Program and the International Friendship Program. The youth programs are in conjunction with events at the different World Peace Rose Gardens around the world and have involved more than 16,500 international youth. Other duties include: planning and coordinating rose garden events, such as the International Day of Peace and Dedication Ceremonies; building and maintaining liaisons with community, public officials and businesses; and coordinating fundraising strategies, to name a few. What, you may ask, keeps Sylvia going after all of these years? Those who know her might say it is her deep yearning for peace, her love of humanity, and a desire to share her gifts with others.

“TJ The Rose Man” David is Co-Creator/CFO/COO and Rose Garden Designer/Rose Grower of International World Peace Rose Gardens (IWPRG), a nonprofit founded in 1988 and based in Sacramento, California. The organization’s purpose is to enhance world peace through the creation of beautiful public rose gardens that become magnets for positive community activities. His deep passion for roses has led him to discover unique rose-growing techniques that have maximized the health, beauty and vigor of roses in all of IWPRG’s seven public rose gardens and five test gardens. He has been featured in the All-America Rose Selections’ video, “Love at First Sight, America’s Affair with the Rose;” talk shows; was recently honored as “Volunteer of the Year” by the Washington Unified School District in West Sacramento; and was highly responsible for the State Capitol World Peace Rose Garden being named as one of America’s Top 10 Best Public Rose Gardens in 2010. TJ’s engaging personality and love of roses have truly been useful in promoting “the Rose,” the official flower of the United States, as a silent ambassador of peace throughout the world.

 

2012 Inspirational Messages of Peace Contest Winners
Sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site
and International World Peace Rose Gardens

 

________________________________

COURAGE

Courage leads to peace…

It makes happiness,

It brings tranquility,

It brought us together.

Who would have known

That if one man was courageous,

Then the whole world would change,

Forever!

Molly Grace Clark, Grade 4

Atlanta International School

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

________________________________

PEACE GARDEN

The seed of hope is planted

in the soil of friendship.

Then the rain of freedom falls.

The sun of happiness gleams down

when the flowers of love bloom.

It means peace has sprung.

Haley Patton, Grade 4

Atlanta International School

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

________________________________

PEACE

Peace is like love

Without peace,

It’s a broken winged bird

that cannot fly

Peace starts with you and me

Peace is Joy, Love, Kindness

Peace is Freedom

Peace is for you and me

Diamond Williams, Grade 3

Susie B. Atkinson Elementary School

Griffin, Georgia, USA

________________________________

MY HERO

From bricks to batons,

He remained strong.

No force could conquer his quest.

Attacks were outrageous,

Yet his dream was contagious.

His life was shortened, such a precious thing,

But his legacy of peace lives on,

Much gratitude to Martin Luther King.

Sydni Gilmore, Grade 7

Coretta Scott King Young

Women’s Leadership Academy

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

________________________________

EQUAL RIGHTS

Dr. King fought for equal rights

The laws weren’t fair

They weren’t right

He made a speech

So that one day we might

Judge each other by character

And not by sight

Andreona Walker, Grade 3

A.F. Herndon Elementary School

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

________________________________

YES WE CAN

Yes we can love each other.

Yes we can be kind to each other.

Yes we can help each other.

Carry on Dr. King’s dream!

Jada Thompson, Grade 2

New Generation Christian Fellowship

Griffin, Georgia, USA

________________________________

       PEACE

 Pardoning is an example of peace

 Enemy is not in my vocabulary

 Arrogance can make you unpopular

 Communicate with your peers

 Everyone can and should show peace

Zakiya Tindal, Grade 7

St. Peter Claver Regional Catholic School

Decatur, Georgia, USA

____________________________________

MARTIN LUTHER KING

Martin Luther King made speeches

For blacks and whites to become a Team.

He made a speech that was named,

“I HAVE A DREAM.”

By speaking the way he did

He educated, he inspired.

Jalesa Talley, Grade 3

Anne Street Elementary School

Griffin, Georgia, USA

__________________________________

MARTIN LUTHER KING

MLK was a great man

He had a great plan

For blacks and whites to get along

And come together with a bond

Today we remember him

And everything he did

I won’t forget him

Even though I’m a kid

London Randolph, Grade 3

Hope-Hill Elementary School

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

________________________________

PEACE IS IN THE AIR

Peace is in the air

Peace is everywhere

The peace that you share,

Think of it as care

Look at peace, listen to how it sounds

It is calm like the air

Taliah Boston, Grade 3

Hope-Hill Elementary School

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

________________________________

PEACE IS LIKE A WATERFALL

Peace is like a waterfall of calmness

It pours joy and friendship

It never ceases to flow

It is surrounded by a garden of happiness

Ellie Howell, Grade 7

Junior Girls, Lake Shrine Sunday School

Pacific Palisades, California, USA

____________________________________________

REACHING GOD’S PEACE IN A WORLD OF CHAOS

Let all your troubles pour out of you

like a large river after it rains.

Imagine yourself floating away

from the chaos in the world.

Cross the path of love,

and follow your devotion for God.

Then soar to the highest stars.

You have reached God’s garden of peace.

Leela Gowland, Grade 5

Primary Girls, Lake Shrine Sunday School

Pacific Palisades, California, USA

_______________________________________

A HERO

Dr. King, you are my hero.

Because of you I can grow!

Your dream came true for me to see.

Now I can be all I can be!

Yaima Moreno, Grade 1

Peyton Forest elementary School

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

___________________________________

THE BEST

Dr. King you are the Best!

You have passed the greatest test!

You really, really gave us your all.

Now because of that we can stand tall.

Omarion Phillips, Grade 1

Peyton Forest elementary School

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

________________________________

PEACE…

Peace is the river flowing through a dried land

Peace is the assistance of a helping hand

Everyone needs peace in their lives

For it is the force that allows us to thrive

Alyyah Muhammad, Grade 9

The Blackstone Academy

__________________________________

COLOUR

Black and White are just colours

Not a reason for discrimination

People are just people

Not a reason for fighting in a war

And peace and love must be the only

Feelings living in our heart

Carlos Heredia López, Grade 5

Colegio Enrique  Rébsamen

Mexico City, Mexico

________________________________

PEACE FOR ALL

Children ask for toys

Prisoners, freedom,

And I ask for PEACE

We do not ever stop.

Peace is justice,

Justice is love,

And love is all I want.

Meredith Mayo Miranda, Grade 6

Colegio Enrique Rébsamen

Mexico City, Mexico

________________________________

EVERLASTING MEMORY

Firmly, you cherished a dream,

Brightened the hopes, kindled the flames,

Fought against racial discrimination;

Never was a yielder

Your memory will always live

Like the sweet fragrance that floats

In World Peace Rose Gardens, uninterruptedly

Zhexian Wang, Grade 11

High School Attached to Shandong Normal University

Jinan City, Shandong Province, China

________________________________

THE GARDENER OF EQUALITY

He planted a tree of equality

He sowed a seed of respect

He gave his love

To make the flower of human rights

Forever blooming

He is a gardener of equality

He’s Martin Luther King

Yunqing Zhou, Grade 11

Shandong Experimental High School

Jinan City, Shandong Province, China

_____________________________________

A FINGERPRINT

How wonderful it is to have a garden guard,

Someone who defends every flower,

Protects them from shriveling,

Waters them, willingly,

Some like Martin Luther King,

Who left a fingerprint on the wall of history!

Naheel Usama Sadawi, Grade 8

Rafah Girls Prep D

Gaza Strip, The Middle East

___________________________________

WE ARE NOT DIFFERENT

We are of same blood

We breathe the same air

Look to the same sky

Live under the same sun

Sleep on the same earth

Our souls seek peace

We are all the sons and daughters

Of Adam and Eve

Hania Majdi Al Jamal, Grade 9

Rafah Prep Girls C

Gaza Strip, The Middle East

___________________________________

LOVE IS LIKE A FLOWER

Love is like a flower

We should water it with love and kindness

Love is life

If we miss love, we miss life

Reaksmey Eng, Grade 1

Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School

College Park, Georgia, USA

___________________________________

A RAINBOW OF HANDS

America used to be a blank, grey sky,

But then Dr. King dreamed of a rainbow of hands

joined together

- no hate, just love -

Dr. King fought lightning, thunder, and rain

to bring us his dream.

This country is now a rainbow of hands

joined together

No hate, just love.

Alex Opsahl, Grade 6

Inman Middle School

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

_______________________________

HUMBLE LIKE A ROSE

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Humble like a rose

A civil rights leader

Everyone should know

He dreamt of everyone being kind

And couldn’t get it off his mind

He said it in front of the people

So we all can be equal.

Adam Woods, Grade 7

Southport Elementary School

West Sacramento, California, USA

_______________________________

PEACE AND LOVE

Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream

To have equality and peace

I have the same dream

To have peace and love

Everyone should listen

With their ears

And think with love and peace.

Eriah Moore-Clay, Grade 8

Southport Elementary School

West Sacramento, California, USA

 _______________________________

DREAM ALIVE

Let's keep His dream alive.

Let's live in unity.

From MLK, we've learned the way

Of embracing serenity.

“Let peace thrive within us,” we pray

So we may teach love

To all people each day.

Jenifer Kulow, Grade 8

Georgia Cyber Academy

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

_______________________________

HOW PEACE BEGINS

Peace begins with saying, “I’m sorry”

Peace begins with being Honest

And showing Trust

Peace begins with showing

Love and Respect towards others

Peace Begins With ME!

Jainabu Bah, Grade 1

Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School

College Park, Georgia, USA

_______________________________

I Wish

I wish I were wind,

Blowing away the haze of hatred,

I wish I were a flare,

Lighting up humanity by playing fair

I wish I were spring showers

Sprouting eternal peace on flowers

Shuangchen Yu, Grade 10

Jinan Foreign Language School

Jinan City, Shandong Province, China

_______________________________

PEACE IS HAPPINESS

Martin Luther King,

With your effort

You helped Americans

To end racial problems

Now America is a better place

To live in because of your

Peaceful fight!

Emmanuel Martìnez Mazier, Grade 1

Colegio Enrique Rébsamen

Mexico City, Mexico

 

Catalyst is produced by The Shift Network to feature inspiring stories and provide information to help shift consciousness and take practical action. To receive Catalyst twice a month, sign up here.

This article appears in: 2015 Catalyst, Issue 18: International Day of Peace

rm4fx0