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By: Josie Lieber


Carlsbad, CA. – December 23, 2017

Picture a lush green field intertwined with vibrant purple flowers. The sun warms the earth and dances off the lake to the left, creating glistening, golden ribbons on the water’s smooth surface. Up above, doves fly towards the mountains in the distance. To the right, a rainbow fills the sky with its dazzling colors. All around, olive branches frame this scene flawlessly. I don’t know if it could get any more peaceful. If this seems too perfect to be true, that is because it is. This is a mural design that is the result of collaboration between eight third to fifth graders from LePort Montessori in Carlsbad and six HOP alumni.

Going into this day, none of the HOP participants knew the elementary schoolers, so it seemed appropriate to start off with some of our infamous ice-breakers. It started off slow, but soon all of the kids were laughing and smiling, which really helped set the mood for the rest of day. From here, the kids were led into a room where Sarah had set up a presentation that went over what a mural is, gave examples of different murals, and talked about different symbols of peace. The kids were so engaged by the activity and the depth of their answers was inspirational.

Next, everyone was split into three groups in order to come up with some ideas for a mural. The HOP alumni guided their groups’ discussions and condensed their groups ideas. Each group then presented their designs. One group came up with a garden of peace. Another had the idea to paint the Earth with an olive tree growing out of it. And one group wanted to include a rainbow. After this, we all sat down together and discussed what the final design should be. Originally, we were going to pick the one everyone liked the best, but the kids insisted on taking parts from everyone’s. “These kids give me hope for the future; the way they approached designing [the final mural] was heartwarming and inspiring,” said Jon Herman, a 2017 participant. The end result was the beautiful and serene mural described above. The next step will be sending the HOP alumni back to help paint it and bring the scene to life to promote peace in the community.


Josie Lieber participated in Hands of Peace in San Diego in 2016 and then again, a year later, as an XL. Currently, she is part of the San Diego alumni club where she works to instil the HOP values within the local community.