Children Create Posters for Peace

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(NewsUSA) – When Yennie Shyu, a 12-year-old from San Jose, Calif., tried to visualize peace, she immediately thought of e-mail.

“In this age, technology and computers are very popular, so I thought about combining technology and e-mail with spreading the message of peace and love,” said Shyu, whose poster, which depicts little girls e-mailing olive branch-carrying doves, won the 21st Lions Clubs International Peace Poster Contest.

Shyu describes the image as “little fingers typing big messages, spreading love and peace worldwide.”

Shyu’s poster, which was selected from 350,000 entries from 70 countries, portrays the theme “Peace Begins With Me.” As the grand prize winner, Shyu received a trip to New York City for a special award ceremony during Lions Day with the United Nations.

“Lions in many nations have embraced the Peace Poster Contest as a hands-on way to promote peace and to support the young people in their communities,” said Lions Clubs International President Al Brandel. “The contest is another example of Lions being everyday heroes in reaching out and listening to the young people of this world.”

During the past two decades, more than 4 million children from ages 11 through 13 have artistically shared their visions for peace through the Lions International Peace Poster Contest. Lions clubs sponsor the contest in schools and organized youth programs. The contest provides an outlet for children and adults to discuss the meaning of world peace while visually portraying their feelings. Now entering its 22nd year, the contest has been held in more than 100 countries.

“It takes energy and even courage to live in peace,” said Remi Delanghe, a merit award winner from Belgium. “It’s something you need to work on every day in order to be able to create and maintain it.”

Winners have come from all across the globe to share their visions of peace. “Peace is something big and marvelous, full of happiness to be achieved from our own homes and in the heart of each human being,” said Ana Stephanie Rosero Morales from Peru, a merit award winner.

The 24 finalist peace posters will be exhibited during the year at children’s museums and various locations throughout the United States. Visit www.lionsclubs.org to view posters and send e-cards.

Toys of the World Celebrate Power of Play

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(NewsUSA) – For most children in the United States, finding a toy with which to play is hardly a hardship. A trip to the toy store with some allowance money, or a holiday or birthday, provides plenty of action figures, model cars, dolls, talking robots and video games.

But many children in developing countries around the world cannot afford to buy any toys — and these children often show ingenuity and creativity in making their own toys.

To celebrate the power of play, ChildFund International has created a touring exhibition titled, “The Power to Play: From Trash to Treasure,” which displays 350 handcrafted toys created by children around the world. Some of the toys are easily recognizable, like soccer balls and kites. Others are unique to their place of origin, or reveal the social, economic and political conditions in which their makers are growing up.

“Our traveling exhibition highlights the resourcefulness and creativity of the children who created the toys,” says Anne Lynam Goddard, president and CEO of ChildFund International. “Thousands of viewers will gain new appreciation for the power of play and its role in childhood development.”

Play proves essential to children’s healthy development, helping kids solve problems, test new ideas and gain friendships. So, what kind of toys can viewers expect to see? Warsito and Ade of Central Java, Indonesia make stilts to play a popular game, called “egrang.”

“It’s an exciting and unique game, and I love playing it,” says Warsito. “You can tell when a child is an expert in playing this game. He or she must have a good sense of balance and high skill to play it.”

Tyrel of Dominica has made his own toys since age eight. “I loved playing with toys, but my parents were not always able to afford them, and the ones that they occasionally bought did not hold together for long.”

Nollan, a 13-year-old from Honduras, fashions a toy called “The Trapeze Artist,” which he makes once a year and often lends to siblings and friends.

These unique toys are just a few examples of the types of items in ChildFund International’s Power to Play exhibit, which will be traveling to major museums and other locations across the United States through 2011.

For more information about the exhibit, or to learn how you can improve the life of a child in need, visit www.childfund.org.