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Chicago and San Diego Benefits 2022



With purpose and hope, the Hands of Peace community gathered in San Diego and Chicago to celebrate “20 Years Planting Peace.” Through the Mother’s Day Walk for Peace and two Benefits, sponsors, Board members and more than 300 intrepid guests funded 48 partial sponsorships for American, Israeli and Palestinian teens attending the 2022 Summer Program.

Even more importantly, supporters and alumni from the very founding of Hands of Peace in 2002 to today got to reunite, reminisce, and recognize the long-term impact of their engagement. Go to the Hands of Peace Flickr Feed to enjoy photos of both events, as well as the Mother’s Day Walk for Peace.

Alumni Speak to Impact

The Summer Program will transform attitudes and beliefs in new Hands this July, just as it impacted alumni Stav Arnon and Elias Hawila in 2004. Stav, a Jewish-Israeli alumna, and Elias, a Palestinian-Citizen-of-Israel alumnus, were guest speakers at both Benefits. Over a dozen other alumni also spoke in the programs.”I was blown away,” said Stav, speaking about her experience in the 2004 Summer Program. “For the first time in my life, I heard from Palestinians my age who were living behind a fence, being forced to spend hours in checkpoints, and banned from meeting family members in other parts of the country.”

Elias, a community doctor in Jaffa, is returning to the Summer Program this year as a Dialogue Facilitator.
He recognized new and long-term supporters for their commitment to change. “Sitting here tonight are people who live ten thousand kilometers away from the conflict and its disastrous effects, but are still willing to put their time, effort, and soul into changing the reality and the life of Palestinians and Israelis.”
To learn more about the impact Stav, Elias and other alumni are having in their communities, visit alumni stories.

Thank You Volunteers

Our gratitude goes to the alumni, volunteers, and supporters who attended each of the Benefits including Honorary Co-Chairs (clockwise from top left): Ellen and Don Clark, Wendy and Wayne Rhodes, Dilnaz and Qaiser Waraich (Chicago), Karin and Scott Silk (San Diego). A special thank you goes out to Benefit Committee Chairs Tina Plunkett and Dianne Nichols and the volunteers they rallied to plan, gather auction items, set up and decorate the lovely venues at the Hilton San Diego Del Mar and Loyola University Cuneo Mansion and Gardens, and welcome guests.

New Investment Fund Launched for the Future

In honor of Gretchen and Brian Grad’s 20 years of commitment to American, Israeli and Palestinian youth leadership, the
Gretchen and Brian Grad Planting Peace Fund to ensure the long term financial sustainability of Hands of Peace was announced at the Benefits. The fund was established with founding gifts from the Grads and from Larry and Rose Feder through a new Hands of Peace Charitable Gift Annuity program. Additional gifts are welcome through annuities and other planned gifts such as wills and trusts, IRA and life insurance beneficiary designations, and stock transfers. Interest from this investment fund, as it grows, will ensure that Hands of Peace can continue to provide the skillbuilding and networks young people need to create positive change in their communities.