September 21, 2021 was the International Day of Peace, an event created by the United Nations to celebrate strengthening the ideals of peace around the world. This year, iFred celebrated the International Day of Peace in Manhattan Beach with STAND 4 PEACE, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about issues related to peace, including the importance of hope.
We gathered, along with dozens of community members of all ages, at the Manhattan Beach Pier to celebrate the importance of peace and hope by spelling out HOPE on the beach. Participants all held sunflowers, the symbol for hope, in honor of their mission to spread hope and peace to all individuals around the world.
This year, more than ever before, the International Day of Peace reminds us why it is important to share the science of hope with people around the world. Hopelessness, the antithesis of hope, has reached unprecedented levels globally, and is predictive of weapon-carrying at school, self-harm, accidents, and violence. Peacekeeping efforts must address hopelessness when advocating change. Without hope skills to combat the effects of hopelessness, we cannot create or find peace, as either individuals or a society.
Kathryn Goetzke, Founder of iFred, began teaching hope skills in 2011 to combat hopelessness as a method of suicide prevention. What started as a 12 lesson curriculum has grown into Hopeful Minds, curriculums and resources for teachers and parents, Hopeful Mindsets, courses designed to teach hope skills to target populations, and Hopeful Cities, a playbook that teaches cities around the world how to activate hope in their communities.
Throughout this journey, the one thing that has continued to surprise us is that, though we know that hopelessness is predictive of nearly every negative life outcome, very few people know what hopelessness is or how to overcome it. Without an understanding of hope, hopelessness, and hope skills, we cannot hope to achieve peace. That’s why STAND 4 PEACE and iFred stood together on that beach; we know that we must work together to combat hopelessness.
You can learn more about the importance of hope at www.hopefulminds.org/hope-research
You can learn more about STAND 4 PEACE and the International Day of Peace by visiting https://stand4peace.org/ and checking out this article about the event.