March 19, 2020
Dear PeacePlayers friends and family,
So much of the basketball world is on hold right now. The NBA. March Madness. Lots of people wishing that they were on the court, but for PeacePlayers’ youth peace advocates around the world, they don’t just want to play, they need to play. Their strong and lifelong bonds result from it.
Of course, the unprecedented global COVID-19 pandemic we are facing is bigger than basketball. Times like these remind us that we are all in this together. Across neighborhoods, religious and racial divides, what’s clear from what we’re confronting today is that we’re all on one team.
As a worldwide PeacePlayers family, we remain committed to a world of peace and connection, for which our youth become the strongest advocates and leaders. Yet at the same time, our immediate focus in the present climate has been on ensuring the health and safety of our people and those we serve across the entirety of our global network. So we want to share with you all we are doing to ensure that we come through the current crises safely and successfully.
For starters, we are taking care of our people. PeacePlayers staff and coaches around the world are all working from home and will be doing so for the foreseeable future. We have been working remotely with our youth leaders, their families and our community partners to address concerns surrounding the coronavirus and its impact on our work. We are collaborating on ways to support everyone through upcoming program disruptions.
We are collaborating on ways to continue to provide support for those in our global network, even as our face-to-face programming is temporarily disrupted. We are following the recommendations of the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control around social distancing in order to keep everyone safe and are working on plans for virtual programming. Especially during this period of social isolation, it is vital that we help young people to maintain their connections. We are hard at work developing ways to utilize technology and other media for this purpose.
On a particularly disappointing note, the uncertain duration of the present crisis has forced the difficult decision to postpone our first-ever PeacePlayers Friendship Games. The Games were scheduled to take place in Israel this upcoming August, bringing together participants from across our global movement for a week of basketball, leadership and cultural exchange.
Unfortunately this public health crisis will keep us from coming together face-to-face until sometime in 2021 and yet in the meantime, we are building virtual and regional programming to take place this August in the absence of being able to gather in-person. We want to again thank Ed and Penelope Peskowtiz, the founders and inspiration behind the games, for their steadfast support and understanding at this particularly challenging time.
We intend to resume face-to-face activities when it becomes safe for all involved. For now, we are changing how we approach our PeacePlayers work using technology to keep youth connected and developing their leadership skills. We will post the latest news on peaceplayers.org and across our social media channels. We very much value the well-being of our PeacePlayers family, and are doing our best to stay on top of developments.
We are thinking of our PeacePlayers family and extended community and have never been more inspired by our vision that individual and communal connections have the power to create a more peaceful world. We encourage our community to demonstrate in their own way how #PeaceStartsWithMe and take it upon themselves to reach out and connect with each other -utilize the phone, social media, video chatting and other methods of communication to stay in touch. Overall we appreciate your patience as this remains a continually evolving situation, yet one that reminds us that we stand as one in our humanity as part of a shared, global community.
We are all in this together. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Thank you and stay safe,
Co-Founder and President