Subject: PeaceJam/Columbine Survivor for E. Timor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 9, 2001 
CONTACT: Ivan Suvanjieff 
TELE: (303) 455-2099 
EMAIL: peacejam@aol.com 
FAX: (303) 455-2099 
SNAIL MAIL: PeaceJam Foundation, 2427 W. Argyle Place, Denver CO 80211 
http://www.peacejam.org

COLUMBINE SURVIVOR RICHARD CASTALDO LEADS EFFORT TO GATHER SCHOOL SUPPLIES FOR WAR-TORN EAST TIMOR

WHAT: Press conference for PeaceJam Educational Relief for East Timor (PERFET) 
WHO: PeaceJam Foundation, Richard Castaldo, TheCommunity.com 
WHERE: Burnsley Hotel, 1000 Grant Street, Denver, CO (tele: 303 - 830-1000) 
WHEN: Monday, January 15, 2001, at 10:30 am

WHY: To gather educational supplies like pens, pencils, notebooks, erasers, dictionaries, etc., for the world’s newest democracy -- war-torn East Timor. SUPPLIES WILL BE ACCEPTED FROM: January 15 - March 10, 2001. SUPPLIES SHOULD BE SHIPPED TO: PERFET, c/o TheCommunity.com, 3212 Jefferson St. #217, Napa, CA 94558

The PeaceJam Foundation, in conjunction with Columbine High School survivor Richard Castaldo, and TheCommunity.com (http://www.TheCommunity.com) are pleased to announce the launch of PEACEJAM EDUCATIONAL RELIEF FOR EAST TIMOR (PERFET).

This eight-week relief effort (Jan. 15 - March 10, 2001) will mobilize thousands of young people in the USA, under the leadership of Columbine survivor Richard Castaldo, as they collect school supplies such as pens, pencils, notebooks, and dictionaries. These school supplies will then be shipped to East Timor, the world’s newest democracy, where students and teachers are struggling to reopen the many schools destroyed in the conflict there.

When Richard Castaldo was recuperating in the hospital after the Columbine High School tragedy, he was visited by 1996 Nobel Peace Laureate José Ramos-Horta of East Timor, who had just led a PeaceJam prayer service for Columbine and who was deeply concerned for Richard. Richard, acknowledging this act of compassion, has decided to return the favor by acting as the spokesperson for PEACEJAM EDUCATIONAL RELIEF FOR EAST TIMOR (PERFET). “José Ramos-Horta stood by me in my time of need. It’s time for me to be a friend to him, and to lead this initiative to help round up basic school supplies for the students in East Timor,” Castaldo said.

Just how bad is the situation in East Timor? A holocaust survivor, after viewing the snapshots of the decimated country, said, “At least the fascists and the communists in World War II left the buildings standing in case they could use them later. I have never seen such complete and utter destruction. What Indonesia did to East Timor is truly beyond the pale…”

The world’s newest democracy, the predominantly Catholic island nation East Timor is a former Portuguese colony that was “governed” by Indonesia from 1975-1999. The East Timorese voted for and received their independence from Jakarta (the seat of the Indonesian government) in 1999, but not without the complete destruction of the country and the ruthless murders of thousands of East Timorese.

In January, 2000, the PeaceJam Foundation was invited by 1996 Nobel Peace Laureate José Ramos-Horta to witness the carnage in East Timor caused by Indonesian-supported militias during the national referendum to obtain independence. PeaceJam saw that the militias had not only murdered countless thousands of East Timorese, but they also destoyed every vehicle, killed every piece of livestock (and then threw the carcasses in the river, poisoning the water supply), and burned every building to the ground--being particularly violent towards schools, administration buildings, etc.), and then torched off the steel roof supports and trucked them across the island to Indonesian-governed West Timor, where they were put up for sale! Of course the East Timorese can’t afford to buy back their roofs, and now must attempt to live under the elements and the stars.

PeaceJam President Ivan Suvanjieff, at a dinner in the capitol Dili with Ramos-Horta and his president-to-be Xanana Gusmão (East Timor’s Nelson Mandela), was asked by these East Timorese leaders to spearhead PEACEJAM EDUCATIONAL RELIEF FOR EAST TIMOR (PERFET). Ramos-Horta and Gusmão asked him to gather up all the basic school supplies possible, and to ship them to their fledgling democracy. They are looking for money, exercise notebooks, pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, dictionaries, math text books--any kind of basic school supplies.

PEACEJAM’S PARTNERS IN THIS CAMPAIGN:

Richard Castaldo has been an active PeaceJammer since May, 1997, when he participated in the PeaceJam led by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. An artist and musician, Richard Castaldo is currently playing with the hot Denver group Zebra Junction, and continues to record his solo material with other friends. He now attends Aurora Community College, in Aurora, Colorado.

TheCommunity.com is an Internet gateway to community involvement, in both the local and global communities. Founded by leaders in the high tech industries, and forming partnerships with top-tier non-profit organizations, they offer exclusive projects and contents for socially responsible and humanitarian Internet users. Chairman Jim D'Arezzo was the first VP Marketing for Compaq Computers. Mary Wald, President and CEO, was the Founder and Chairman of New West Media, a Bay Area web design firm, before co-founding TheCommunity.com.

WHAT EXACTLY IS NEEDED?

East Timor needs NEW pens, pencils, exercise notebooks, gluesticks, glue, chalk, crayons, markers, highlighters, white out, tape (masking/scotch etc.), solar-powered calculators, erasers, soccer balls, paper (all kinds--construction paper, notebook paper, blank paper, etc.), teachers’ planning diaries, activity books (connect-the-dot, coloring books, maze books, word search, math-related, language skills related). CASH DONATIONS WELCOME (make check payable to PeaceJam Foundation/PERFET, 2427 W. Argyle Place, Denver, CO 80211--Yes, donations can be tax deductible, a receipt will be issued & mailed to you)

East Timor also needs NEW/USED rulers, protractors, compasses, slide rulers, pencil sharpeners, hole punchers, staplers/staples , blackboards, dictionaries, math text books, scissors, English text books, CASH DONATIONS WELCOME (make check payable to PeaceJam Foundation/PERFET, 2427 W. Argyle Place, Denver, CO 80211--Yes, donations can be tax deductible, a receipt will be issued & mailed to you)

WHERE DO WE SEND THESE EDUCATIONAL SUPPLIES? PERFET, c/o TheCommunity.com, 3212 Jefferson St., #217, Napa, CA 94558

PeaceJam Information

It is the year 2001, and there are more than two billion teenagers alive on this planet. Nearly half of the world’s population is under the age of twenty. We are in the “Era of the Global Teenager.” And yet, this generation is a generation in crisis. Most teenagers do not yet identify themselves as people who can generate greatness in the world. Our young people are plagued with overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness. These feelings are universal and transcend racial, political and economic boundaries.

The PeaceJam Foundation was founded in 1996 in Denver, Colorado, to address this need. PeaceJam is built around Nobel Peace Laureates who work personally with youth to pass on the spirit, skills, and wisdom that they embody. The goal of PeaceJam is to inspire a new generation of peacemakers who will transform themselves, their communities and the world.

PeaceJam is a year-long, on-going educational program for youth. The participating Nobel Peace Laureates are directly involved in developing the curriculum and the program itself. PeaceJam is the only organization in the world which has eleven Nobel Peace Laureates working together long-term for a common cause - our children.

Since the PeaceJam program was launched in March of 1996, 20,090 teenagers worldwide have participated in the program. Each student has had an average of 45.5 contact hours with their teacher, mentor, community leader, or PeaceJam staff member. Through the PeaceJam program, 402 new service projects have been developed and implemented, and thousands of new volunteer opportunites for youth have been created.

The PeaceJam program has a powerful impact. As one student wrote after her first PeaceJam experience, “PeaceJam says, I know you’ve got promise and potential; PeaceJam reaches in and pulls it out of you.” Evaluation data shows that 85% of those who participate in a PeaceJam Youth Conference leave believing that “one person can make a difference,” and 97% felt that because of their experience in PeaceJam, they would be peacemakers for the rest of their lives.

The PeaceJam Foundation relies heavily on volunteer involvement. This past year, almost 1,000 volunteers participated in the program worldwide. Our volunteers are mainly middle and high school teachers, college students, high school students, and community activists. It would be impossible to deliver the PeaceJam program without the efforts of our many committed volunteers.

Please view our website http://www.peacejam.org for more information.


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