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Peace Group Spells Out "HOPE" in Manhattan Beach

Sep 19, 2021 11:34AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
There was "HOPE" on the beach in Manhattan Beach on Saturday morning, as dozens of participants lined up to spell out the word on the sand.

Stand4Peace, a local organization promoting peace and unity, coordinated the effort to raise awareness for the upcoming United Nations International Day of Peace on September 21.

Volunteers who had spent the morning at the Coastal Clean-Up on the beach joined together to spell out the words. Participants were given sunflowers to hold during the picture as symbols of the UN theme of sustainability.

"By promoting the day and what it stands for through our actions, we encourage more people to take action for peace in their own lives, positively impacting the lives of others," said Manhattan Beach resident Karen Wooldridge, a cofounder of Stand4Peace. "We can all be part of a movement toward a culture of peace and tolerance in the family, in schools, in the workplace, in the community, and ultimately in society at large."

"Peace Pals" Meet on the Beach

Yesterday's event also marked another significant milestone for the Stand4Peace organization, as local students who have become "Peace Pals" met up for the first time at the beach clean-up. 

In 2020, Stand4Peace helped create a partnership called "Peace Pals" between Manhattan Beach's Pennekamp Elementary and Compton's Emerson Elementary schools. Last year, the students exchanged "Peace Poles;" this year they finally got to meet in person at the beach clean-up event.

The students were joined by their school representatives and school mascots (the Pennekamp dragon and the Emerson tiger). Mira Costa High School Principal (and former Pennekamp principal) Karina Gerger and Manhattan Beach Mayor Hildy Stern were also on hand to join in the celebration.


Stand4Peace is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational resource aimed at bringing public awareness to issues related to peace.

It is led by Manhattan Beach resident Karen Wooldridge along with Pennekamp Elementary educator Donna Barney Nicholson. Together, they are advocates for an education curriculum of peace-building skills and non-violent communication.

Wooldridge and Nicholson were inspired by a "global peace course" they took, led by Scilla Elworthy and Sheva Carr. They were the coordinators of the 2019 "Stand in the Sand" beach event in honor of International Peace Day. They formally organized as Stand4Peace in summer 2020 so that they could apply for grants to fund their efforts.

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