Senior Wins Service Award for Work with Children
In recognition of her work with Kids for Peace, Danielle M. Gram ’11 was honored earlier this month by the World of Children with the 2010 Founder’s Youth Award.
Gram’s non-profit, Kids for Peace—which she co-founded in her hometown of Carlsbad, Calif., as a high school junior—will receive a $20,000 grant.
Since its founding in 2006, Kids for Peace has expanded from a small neighborhood group to a 501(c)(3) non-profit that comprises more than 75 chapters and works on six continents.
Describing herself as “politically active and engaged,” Gram said she and Jill R. McManigal, executive director of Kids for Peace, developed the idea for the organization when they realized at a neighborhood party that they shared a common desire for community change.
“[Kids for Peace] kind of quickly expanded to more than my vision,” Gram said.
After going on a local radio show, someone from Los Angeles contacted her, wanting to bring Kids for Peace to Compton, Calif. From there, Kids for Peace continued to expand throughout the world.
The organization facilitates non-violent communication and peace-building through meetings organized around the Kids for Peace Pledge. Children participate in activities like Peace Packs, in which they send toys and essential items with a personal note of friendship to children abroad.
McManigal said she could see the positive impact of Kids for Peace in diverse communities.
“I’m in awe of the children on a daily basis,” she said.
According to Gram, the World of Children Awards Program looks all over the world for grant recipients.
Less than a year ago, a family tragedy made Gram’s longtime mission more personal. When her brother was murdered in Annapolis, Md. last year, Gram said non-violence was no longer merely “theoretical.”
“It is a commitment to the cause,” she said. “I am much more able to serve and commune and relate to people impacted with violence.”
In the future, Gram said she hopes to work with children in refugee camps who need affirmation that violence is not a solution.
“Traditionally, the cycle of violence repeats itself, and those intimately impacted have no way to change that,” Gram added.
The ceremony for grant recipients will take place Nov. 4 at the UNICEF house of the United Nations, where UNICEF’s president will present Gram with the award.