It Takes a Small Village to run Hands Of Peace Programs in Chicago and San Diego and You Can Help.


Throughout the year, Hands of Peace relies on the passion and skills of dedicated volunteers. We would like to find a spot that matches your talents and availability and help you become a part of our team.

Volunteers help with:

  • recruiting host families
  • providing meals during the summer program
  • planning events like the Farewell Celebration and Spring Benefits
  • planning Community Circle events
  • helping in the office with technical support
  • writing grants for financial assistance

We are currently looking for people who are interested in grant writing or planning our annual benefit, but please volunteer however you can by filling out this volunteer application.


Every year, we recognize special Hands of Peace volunteers with the Olive Branch Award. This Award recognizes individuals who have made significant and long-term contributions to Hands of Peace.

  • 2006: Ron Miller, Lisa Fisher and Falah Tabahi
  • 2007: Wayne Andersen, Sheila O’Brien and the Andersen/O’Brien Family
  • 2008: Tina Plunkett
  • 2009: Bill Taylor, Alan Rubin, Don and Ellen Clark
  • 2010: Jim and Gail Tatsuda, Barry and Maggie Cain
  • 2011: Karen Boton, Debby Fosdick, Dr. Peg Lee
  • 2012: Rob Orr, Hank and Harriet Conroe, Laura Bernstein
  • 2013: Rabbi Brant Rosen, Helena and Amir Abushamaa
  • 2014: Mike and Barbara Lauesen, Ismail Hummos, Frank and Sandy Gelber
  • 2015: Chicago – Aziz Abu Sarah and Kevin Schrimmer
  • 2015: San Diego – Tamara Kabban-Miller and Kristina Abudawas
  • 2016: Chicago  – Jackie and Steve Hirsch
  • 2016: San Diego – Kathy Reese and Kelley Grimes
  • 2017: Chicago – Vera Ginburg and Wayne Rhodes
  • 2017: San Diego  – Azim Khamisa
  • 2018: Chicago –  Irene Smith and Rich Katz
  • 2018: San Diego – Melinda Wynar and The Middletons
  • 2019: Chicago – Rev. Chuck Mize and Jeanie Bond, Marily and Spike Schonthal
  • 2019: San Diego – Davida Huchel, Mary Scherr and Marvin Sippel
  • 2020: Chicago – Julie Orr
  • 2020: San Diego – Bob Ohlweiler
  • 2021: Chicago – Katherine Hughes, Lori Kaskowitz Kenward and John Kenward
  • 2021: San Diego  – Carol Arkin, Bobbi Cohen, Barb and Mo Winicki.

Please join us in congratulating Bob Ohweiler, who was recognized by Hands of Peace as our Volunteer Awardee at the North County Philanthropy Council Volunteer Awards on Nov. 19 in Carlsbad, California.

Volunteers are an essential part of the Hands of Peace community, and Bob is a perfect example.

As Hands of Peace Host Committee Chair, Bob has made it his mission to ensure that Israeli and Palestinian youth have welcoming North County hosts for the 19-day Summer Program. Both of Bob’s sons have participated in the Summer Program and his family hosted five Israeli and Palestinian boys who have become extended members of his family. Says Bob:

“The host family environment is a critical element to the Summer Program and I want these courageous youth to feel safe on their transformative journey. My family’s worldview has expanded through friendship with our guests, and we have touched their lives too.”