On Friday, April 23rd, PPI – ME held its 2010 Spring Festival at Tel Aviv’s outdoor Sportek Park. A highly anticipated annual event, the festival brings together children throughout PPI – ME’s program areas for a day of games and fun activities. This year was particularly special due the presence of several visitors including ESPN.com writer and BYU – Hawaii Professor of Conflict Resolution, Chad Ford; Sports Illustrated writer, Alexander Wolff; PPI Executive Director, Brendan Tuohey; and Brendan’s daughter, Anna Tuohey, who showed off her basketball skills playing with PPI – ME’s youngest “mini-basket” age-group.
In keeping with this year’s theme of coexistence through art, made possible by a grant from the Gould Family Foundation, children learned the basics of playing the darbuka drum, an instrument commonly used in Middle Eastern music. They also collectively painted a PeacePlayers mural, and created personalized basketball magnets. To everyone’s delight, the Sportek’s giant trampoline was open and available for jumping. Of course, the highlight for many was the hotly contested basketball games, all played on integrated teams. The positive energy and teamwork on display at the Spring Festival was a definite indicator of the strong relationships that have formed between twinning partners this year.
The 2010 PPI – ME Spring Festival brought together approximately 150 Arab and Jewish young people from Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Beit Shemesh and several neighborhoods in East and West Jerusalem, including Beit Safafa, Katamon, Esawiah, Givat Ram and Pat. A corps of PPI – ME volunteers came out to referee, run the clocks and keep score. Several LDP members served as coaches for the younger children, continuing to grow as the future leaders of the program. PPI – ME would like to thank the Gould Family Foundation and all the youth, coaches, volunteers and visitors for making the 2010 Festival a success!