Sunday, June 10th, 5:00-6:30
Rye Town Hall
Hi, Everyone. My name is Kim Tamalonis. I’m the executive director of Big Picture Foundation. This afternoon, we gather at Rye City Council Chambers to celebrate kids’ second official year of using the arts as part of local, national, and global community building projects. Though we began filing paperwork to become a nonprofit in the Fall of 2017, unofficially, our activities started almost three years ago, when kids in Rye sent children at the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan, art supplies, handmade sketchbooks, and cards. The Syrian kids at the camp sent back messages. We were told that our efforts to develop meaningful learning opportunities were valuable, and as a result, the exchange started an ongoing partnership with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees and with the International Relief and Development Organization. From there, relationships formed with kids’ groups on 6 continents. Our program is not limited to underprivileged kids and those in conflict zones. We welcome participation from all children. The effort among kids from different backgrounds to work together has an extraordinary equalizing force. All kids in the program learn from each other and contribute to the success of the organization.
Big Picture Foundation kids on 6 continents are idea makers, inventors, and ambassadors for peace. Children from every background around the world are invited to collaborate on art projects, to share ideas, to learn about global cultures, and to become BPF community leaders. We end each year with a ceremony, to let you kids know that your efforts to contribute to your local, national, and global community are recognized and deeply valued.
This year, children who would never typically have opportunities to communicate with each other, equally contributed to making the “We are the World” project. Now that you all know each other’s faces, plans are in the works to pair global BPF kids. Next year, if you choose to be part of our new Friend Link International program, you will have the opportunity to communicate with a partner, who may not speak English. Together, you will develop a collaborative art project. You will take one step closer to forging true friendships with kids from a wide range of backgrounds who participate in Big Picture Foundation worldwide chapters.
Locally, this year, Rye and Greenwich BPF kids worked with the Greenwich Apple Store to turn our Indian kids’ lyrics into songs and with Rye TV to launch a Big Picture Foundation TV show. You threw fundraising events for children’s charities, and as a result of your efforts to help the St. Clements Home Based Care program, the kids in that program, who have been orphaned by disease in South Africa, joined our group. You started work on a more comprehensive local Friend Link initiative, you launched an open-studio program at the Rye Rec and you introduced EXPO Day at Rye Middle School. Both local and global membership has grown by leaps and bounds because your work has sent the message to others that participation is fun. Your enthusiasm is contagious. This year, our network includes groups in Albania, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Egypt, Haiti, Iraq, India, Italy, Jordan, Nepal, Peru, Russia, Samoa, Spain, South Africa, and many groups in the United States, including a preschool in Ricon, Puerto Rico. Next year, groups in Israel, Liberia, Kenya, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zambia have expressed interest in joining our program. One of our Rye members will return to her homeland, where she hopes to launch BPF Korea. Other Rye kids have let me know their intention to reach out to friends in Hungary, England, Ireland, China, and Japan. While plotting to conquer the universe is never a good idea, working together on empowering children across 195 global nations to build an interactive network of friends could be a global turning point. BPF kids will grow up and as adults, they will carry-on supporting global communication and goodwill.
One final note, this afternoon, we will announce all kids who won awards, but many of the kids will not be present to receive their awards because they’re at away regattas and tournaments. They are at recitals and music competitions. They’re at Regents exam and final exam study groups. They’re returning from graduation events, and they are playing musical instruments at a New York City fundraiser. We will post the complete list of awards online, so all kids can see their names listed.
Hi Everyone, my name is Amber. I’m a junior at Rye High School. There are a few ways to self-initiate your involvement in Big Picture Foundation. If you use the arts for local, national, or global community service projects, send BPF pictures of your work. If you dance, sing, act, or make art that you’d like shared in one of our three annual global galleries, send us pictures and videos. Or, make a project based on one of our Shared Themes. Kids make up the themes and then kids in Rye and around the world make and share work based on the themes. Submissions are due on September 30th, January 30th, and April 30th. Before revealing our new 2018-2019 themes, I would like to show you one of the most stunning Fall 2017 submissions we received, based on the ongoing theme, “Who are You?”
Joey Montalto’s video
Now, let’s take a look at our new themes for the 2018-2019 school year.
Shared Themes Video
Hi, Everyone. My name is Delucia. I’m a junior at Rye High School. I’m grateful for this opportunity to introduce our Rye town mayor, Josh Cohn. Mayor Cohn grew up in Manhattan. He is a graduate of Columbia College and NYU School of Law. He practiced law for 36 years before becoming involved in community matters and sliding into the mayoralty. He has a daughter in her late 20s.
Mayor Cohn, by attending our event, this afternoon, you reinforce the importance of kids’ local, national, and global arts leadership initiatives. Your encouragement of our work sets a tone that inspires kids to use their talents for the benefit of our shared world. Thank you so much for joining us, to celebrate our arts and community building achievements. Kids, please help me welcome Mayor Cohn to our Big Picture Foundation community.
Hello, kids. Your voluntary efforts to create an interactive global network and to use the arts for outreach endeavors show the makings of community leaders. You initiate ideas that keep your program moving forward. You proactively develop connections with friends, family, and new peers, abroad. You critique the successes and failures of this grass-roots organization that you launched, in order to make it better. Finally, you watch as your work gains ground, around the world.
The second annual Mayor’s Award for Civic Leadership goes to a high school junior whose invaluable work has enabled Big Picture Foundation’s forward momentum. The junior of whom I speak aspires to go into medicine and has already made his commitment to civic responsibility a priority. He is an Emergency Medical Technician in training and he manages Big Picture Foundation student programs. In January 2017, Aidan Anderson stopped by Miss Tamalonis’ art classroom to ask about a nonprofit organization that his former art teacher was rumored to have started. Aidan hadn’t been Miss Tamalonis’ student since he was in sixth grade, but he had a hunch that whatever was happening would be worth investigating. After hearing a rundown of the organization’s missions and activities, Aidan went home to review every page on the website and by the next day, he had developed a list of suggestions. Instead of waiting for direction, Aidan started anticipating the needs of the organization and he became an unofficial medium between Miss Tamalonis and the growing number of kids who had questions about how to get involved. Aidan made it a habit to ask if there was anything he could do to be helpful. As his ability to stay calm and organized became apparent, he took on the role of manager of local kids’ programs. He also became an invaluable assistant to Miss Tamalonis, in the planning and aftermath of Big Picture Foundation public events, like Giving Tuesday. Aidan plans to pursue a career in medicine, which will be a perfect fit for his dedication to civic service for his practice communicating with people from a range of backgrounds. For his dedicated efforts to help establish, stabilize, and develop Big Picture Foundation, the second Mayor’s Award for Civic Leadership goes to Aidan Anderson. Aidan, please come forward to receive your award.
Hi Everyone, I’m Jon. I’m an eighth grader at Rye Middle School. I have the honor of introducing Henri Heyne, Executive Director of the Haitian Relief Organization. Mr. Heyne started his organization with his sons, in 2004, after flooding from Hurricane Gordon killed over 2000 citizens. Mr. Heyne, a native of Haiti, who has family still on the island, felt compelled to help rebuild schools, churches, and community centers. In time, the influence of the Haitian Relief Organization expanded into the Dominican Republic. The Haitian Relief Organization remains on the frontlines, helping the poorest communities in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. This year, Mr. Heyne recruited one of his organization’s affiliate schools, the Paradis des Indiens School, in Apricots, Haiti, to join Big Picture Foundation. They collaborated on our “We are the World” project and intend to contribute to our 2018-2019 programs. Everyone, please help me welcome Mr. Henri Heyne.
Kids, you share your talents with a global network and you collaborate on programs that benefit the common good. The Haitian Relief Organization Arts Leadership Award is given to four students who are rising stars, each in their own areas of expertise, but who also collaborate on community building initiatives. These kids use their skills to strengthen the world for all.
When Connor Kelly, a middle school student from the Stratton Mountain School, represented the USASA Southern Vermont Series at the Nationals Snowboard competition at Copper Mountain, in Colorado, he covered his board with vinyl stickers made from the art of global Big Picture Foundation kids. Throughout the week, he was photographed with his unique snowboard, that showed his commitment to his role as a world citizen. Connor competed in six events and came in 7th, overall, for his 12-13 year old age group.
Joey Montalto, worked throughout the summer of 2017 on making a stunning drone video that addressed the Big Picture Foundation theme, “All about Me.” Joey is both a talented photographer and filmmaker. He is a member of the BPF leadership group, and he has ideas for developing a subgroup of the organization, focused on photography and video.
Rye Middle School sixth grader, Felicia Ambrosi, recently came in second place in her age group at the the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition. As her contribution to the Big Picture Foundation “We are the World” project, Felicia took the initiative to film herself playing the piano. She anticipated the need for instrumental music before the rest of us and as a result of her very valuable contribution, she became a guest star in the final video.
The final Haitian Relief Organization Arts Leadership Award is given to Rye eighth grader, Sean Yu. Sean studies cello at the Julliard pre-college program and has won numerous national and international competitions. He has played at both Merkin Hall and at Carnegie Hall. He, too, created an instrumental recording of “We are the World.” His cello performance worked to further strengthen the global collaboration.
Peter Nemeth will accept this award on Sean Yu’s behalf and if Felicia Ambrosi has not yet returned from the competition at which she played, this afternoon, Ellen Chen will accept her award. Joey Montalto, Felicia Ambrogi or Ellen Chen, and Peter Nemeth, please come forward to accept the Haitian Relief Organization Arts Leadership Award.
Our third speaker, Evan Wies, is the committee chairman for our Big Picture Foundation Board of Trustees. Trained in electrical engineering, computer science, and brain and cognitive science, Mr. Wies holds two bachelor’s degrees and one master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mr. Wies was Chief Technology Officer at Mind Engine, a Console Video Game Development Company, and he is the founder of financial product development and consulting company, Neomantra. We welcome Mr. Wies as our next award presenter.
Many Big Picture Foundation kids have focused on using the arts to investigate issues of global concern and to offer BPF viewers new ways of understanding the world. Our Humanitarian Leadership Awards are given to kids, teachers, and program leaders who make us aware of global issues, to those who encourage compassion about the struggles of fellow world citizens, and finally, to those who use the arts to develop solutions.
Our first Humanitarian Leadership award goes to the kids at the Vajra Academy in Nepal, for their Tie-the-Trash project. They shred and tie plastic trash. When their rope of tied trash grows to 17 miles, they will parade around Ring Road, which encircles Kathmandu, to raise awareness about saving the earth.
The second Humanitarian Leadership award is given to the girls and coordinators of the TIGER program at the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan. TIGER, an initiative developed by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees and by the International Relief and Development Organization, empowers girls to use the arts for leadership endeavors. The TIGER girls confidently use hip hop, videography, storytelling, and other media to openly address areas of deepest concern in the world around them and to share their ideas with the Big Picture Foundation community.
Our third Humanitarian Leadership Award is given to children and teachers, in Mamurras, Albania, who used recycled car parts to make art. When the projects concluded, they were donated to a hospital for pediatric cancer.
Our fourth Humanitarian Leadership Award is given to the high school students and their teachers in the visual arts program at Greenwich Academy, who use digital arts to address issues of equality, freedom of speech, human rights, and of other areas of social justice. GA students’ Winter 2018 Global Gallery submissions focused on bringing such issues to light.
Two local adults are also recipients of the award. Our first Rye, NY honoree works ceaselessly to make kids’ voices heard, to offer local kids meaningful opportunities, and to veer kids away from drugs and alcohol. Most recently, she coordinated the Rye Speak Out, which was held at Rye Arts Center. For her work with Rye ACT to raise a community of happy and healthy children, we ask Nancy Pasquale to step forward to receive her Humanitarian Leadership award.
Our next honoree, Maria Tinedo, has witnessed the collapse of the Venezuelan economy under corrupt leadership. A native of Venezuela, Ms. Tinedo was determined that the Rye Community, as well as kids within the Big Picture Foundation global network, understand the suffering of the Venezuelan people. Ms. Tinedo wrote articles for Big Picture Foundation and worked with her daughter, Camilla Vitale, to throw a dinner party to raise funds to feed children at Hospital J.M. de los Rios, in Caracas, Venezuela. As a result of Ms. Tinedo’s efforts, we may work with El Sistema’s Venezuelan music program, in the year to come. Ms.Tinedo, please receive your Humanitarian Leadership award.
Locally, kids who organized efforts to raise awareness and funds for organizations that improve life for children in need, as well as kids who tried to directly connect with children in need, won our award. Rye kids made posters to educate the public about how our programs connect with underprivileged children. They made lemonade stands to raise funds to help support our programs for kids in conflict zones and they ran bake sales to raise funds for Americares hurricane relief efforts. They held dinners to help Barriga Llena Corazon provide food to children at Hospital J.M. de los Rios, in Venezuela and they made cards to send to the kids in the hospital. They attended workshops at the Greenwich Apple Store, where they worked on turning our Indian partner kids’ lyrics into songs. They hosted dinners and cookouts to raise funds for the United Nations Association’s efforts to develop the Furaha School at the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya and Rye kids made an alphabet mural to send to the kids in Kenya. They loomed hats for children in need and they raised funds and made posters to shed light on St. Clements, an organization that help children who have been orphaned by disease in South Africa. Finally, Rye kids started a tv show about all of your work for Big Picture Foundation, and wrote articles.
For their work to make the world a better place, would the following students come forward to accept their Humanitarian Leadership awards: Seidi Gibbs, Ben Laschever, Toma Sellar, Lucca Cristiano, Cassidy Pagan, Catia Lai, Sierra Desai, Camilla Vitale, Sadie Gibbs, Sally Eggers, Jessica Foster, Elle McKinnon, Katherine Iuliano, Carina Rudolph-Math, Tim Rudolph- Math, Giselle Rudolph-Math, Kate Seitz, Sydney Jones, Sally Lee, Sumin Lee, Dylan Deertz, Philip Alexopoulos, Ally Santia, Sophie Molitor, Cristian Ellis, Natalia Roman, Nick McGuire, Kevin Keane, Mark O’Brien, Erin Ellis, Jack Childs, Philip Alexopoulos, and Ayden Hufford, please come up to receive your Humanitarian Leadership Awards.
Our next presenter is a member of our Big Picture Foundation board of trustees and father of Rye High School students, Sonia and Nico Eckstein. Ariel Eckstein attended Tufts University and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. He was Vice President for Business Expansion at AOL Europe and is currently vice-president for Global Clients at LinkedIn. We’re excited to have Mr. Eckstein bringing his business expertise and worldviews to the organization. Please help me welcome Ariel Eckstein.
Big Picture Foundation thrives because of a widespread desire for communication among children who come from many diverse countries and cultures. While we have developed ways for kids to engage with each other, the program couldn’t work without a network of global kids. Introductions to groups have come from a range of people and places. The Big Picture Foundation Art Ambassador’s Award is given to children and adults who help our program succeed, by working to develop our international network. Emilia Vukasinovic connected kids from her native Russia with Big Picture Foundation. In turn, kids in Moscow joined our “We are the World” initiative. Camilla Leon connected BPF with friends from Peru, her native country. This year, kids in Peru submitted art for our Global Galleries and collaborated with us on our “We are the World” project. When Sally Eggers, Jessica Foster, Elle McKinnon, and Katherine Iuliano held an event to raise $3000 to help children orphaned by disease in South Africa, the South African kids, in turn, joined Big Picture Foundation. Aine Kennelly reconnected Ibby and Mimi Newland, two Rye kids who moved to Spain, to Big Picture Foundation programs. Adam Levi arranged for Big Picture Foundation to connect with kids in Iraq. Big Picture Foundation soon-to-be-board member, Rosanna Brizio, connected the organization with a group in Italy. Rye High School art teacher, Bendis Mani, connected us to students in Albania. Rye City School District community member Henri Heyne connected us with our group in Haiti. Rye Middle School social studies teacher, Julianne Corballis connected Big Picture Foundation with the Greenheart Group, led by James Dean Conklin. The Greenheart group then took Big Picture Foundation programs with them when they went to work with schools in Nepal.
We have BPF student who approached his role as an art ambassadors, by teaching. Michael Gonzalez-Molina created a video in which he taught his audience, worldwide Big Picture Foundation kids, about the artwork in his family’s Cuban art collection. While describing the work, he touched on issues of politics, history, and human rights, thereby helping kids in our global network understand Cuba, a little bit better.
Michael, Emilia, Camilla, Sally, Jessica, Elle, Katherine, Rosanna, Aine, and James, please come forward to receive your award.
Our next award presenter, incoming Big Picture Foundation board of trustee member, Rosanna Pezzo Brizio, is Treasurer and Head of Fixed Income for the New York branch of Intesa Sanpaolo. She is also an adjunct Professor for fixed income portfolio management at Columbia University and mother of Rye High School students, Francesca and Sarah Brizio. Ms. Pezzo Brizio will officially join the Big Picture Foundation upon approval of her company. Her expertise in finance will help Big Picture Foundation navigate our expanding business needs, as the organization continues to grow. Please help me welcome Ms. Rosanna Pezzo Brizio.
Big Picture Foundation’s success is built on collaboration, as well as on creative ideas and enthusiasm. The program has grown and changed as a result of suggestions from global members. We give our first Program Innovator’s Award to Mr. Tejas Mehta, one of our teachers in India, who has developed the idea and plan for our new Friend Link International program. Mr. Mehta has developed a survey to be filled out by global BPF kids. Mr. Mehta will pair global kids, based on their interests. Then, the kids will use email, Skype, Zoom, Instagram, WeChat, or any other form of online communication to develop an idea for a collaborative project. We will showcase the collaborations, in our 2018-2019 global galleries. Kids, if you would like to be paired with a global partner, please click the cartoon of two kids speaking into tin can, our website homepage.
Our second Program Innovator’s Award is offered to our generous friends, Julianna, Rob, and Michael, at the Greenwich Apple Store. As a result of their unrestrained enthusiasm for the work of Big Picture Foundation kids, they have run workshops that help kids in our local program to incorporate technology into Shared Theme projects. The Apple store crew has already requested a meeting to make an agenda for our 2018-2019 collaborative work.
While all global kids are invited to pitch ideas for new Shared Themes, which are presented once a year, members of our homebase Rye chapter, have taken on responsibility for theme development. Kids who make up themes are also program innovators. Because of their ideas, worldwide BPF kids wait with baited breath for new themes to be revealed, each spring. Would the following Big Picture Foundation program innovators please come accept your awards: Marion Roseberry, Jonathan Rodriguez, William Rupp, Charlie Morris, Angelica Koutsoubis, Johnny Keenan, Michael Lavelle, Caden Whaling, Sean Mealey, Penelope Peters, Lila Capparelli, Riley Donahue, Karlee Schadt, Luca Strazzini, Alex Langley, Caroline Reidy, Lily Shabaan, Sierra Desai, Michelle Lahrkamp, Charlie Levine, Lucca Cristiano, Toma Sellar, William Weber, Philip Alexopoulos, Brendan Quinn, Emilia Vukasinovic, Maya Matthiasson and Axel Peters.
Hi, everyone, my name is Alex. I’m a junior at Rye High School. I have the honor of presenting Ms. Robyn Kaminer. Ms. Kaminer attended SUNY Binghamton and Columbia University’s Teachers’ College. She is a Rye High School health teacher who has a focus on theater, yoga, and holistic practices. She is also an invaluable advisor to Big Picture Foundation. She has attended open-studio sessions, board meetings, and when asked about her BPF role, she describes it as, “whatever ya need!” Please help me welcome Ms. Robyn Kaminer.
Hi, everyone, I have the privilege of presenting the most inclusive of all awards. The Community Maker’s Award is given to every child who made art for our Fall, Winter, and Spring Global Galleries or gave their time working on EXPO Day, Giving Tuesday, or the “We are the World” project. Your work is the foundation of all we do. While we need the friends who connect us to global schools and we value the innovators who invent new themes, without kids who love making art, we would have no program. As I read your names, please come forward to receive your Big Picture Foundation Community Maker’s Award.
Abigail Davies, Alex Yeh, Annie Davis, Audrey Porter, Ava Trevialli, Balthazar Bitran, Bella Berrocal, Bella Mazilli, Bobby Townsend, Caden Whaling, Carter Barford, Charlie Howard, Chloe Chavez, Chloe Nacson-Schechter, Chris Park, Connor Galligan, Consiglia Meloni, Diana Moschetti, Ellie Kruijtzer, Emery Tuch, Emily Greenhaw, Emily Moloney, Esther Yu, Francesca Brizio, Gaby Gomez, Gloria Mustafa, Gordon Hargraves, Greta Llshaj, Gretchen Angelich, Guendalina Girotto, Henry Bagley, Henry Simmons, Holbrook Langley, Isabella Correa, Jack Foreman, Jack Murphy, James Kennedy, Jock Allen, John Minio, Julia Carroll, Julian Pasquale, Kajol Khatri, Karis Repetto, Kate Doyle, Kyan Cox, Lainey Noga, Lara Oktay, Lean Arja, Lente Smits, Leonardo Brizio, Lila Byrne, Lila Caparelli, Lilly Saffer, Lily Macdonald, Marra Storey, Matthew Bremmer, Maya McQueeney, Megyn Coyne, Michael Lavelle, Michael Pecora, Molly Parker, Morgan Delizia, Nicole Jonassen, Nicole Rodriguez, Noel Regan, Olivia Quinn, Olivia Walker, Peter Nemeth, Piper Tenney, Rebecca Silverstein, Riley Doran, Rory Baer, Sara Arja, Scarlett Coll, Scotland Jenkins, Sofia Nunez, Sofia Rodriguez, Sophia Hofmann, Sophia Mohomedally, Spencer Swiader, Tanner Howson, Thomas Vanneck, Thomas Richardson, Trey Gallos, Val Aguilera, Vlada Kuldyaeva, Will McCullough, Will Puzzuoli, Will Olsen, Yuiko Hirata, Zoe Frenchman
Video, as kids get up to receive their awards.
Hi, everyone, my name is Camilla, I’m a sixth grader in Rye Middle School. Our next presenter, Mr. Ned Kirk, attended Columbia University and the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America. He is a partner at the New York City brand of Clyde and Co., a member of the Big Picture Foundation board of trustees, and father of Rye Middle School student, Brendan Kirk, and Rye High School students, Ellie and Alexandra Kirk. Please help me welcome Mr. Kirk.
Rye High School 9th grader, Nate Froah, bestowed an incredibly helpful gift upon Big Picture Foundation, when he offered us 10 Samsung tablets. His intention was for the tablets to be distributed to commited underprivileged BPF groups that would not otherwise have a chance to communicate with kids in our global network. The first three tablets were awarded to kids in India. In turn, their teacher is developing our Friend Link International program. The second three tablets were awarded to our group in Iraq. The final 4 tablets will be distributed to 4 different groups, in order to enable our Friend Link International program. We will send one tablet to the St. Clements Home Based Care kids in South Africa, whose native language is Zulu, but they learned to sing “We are the World” in English, in order to meet the terms of our project. Our next group, kids from the Vidya Bhawan School in India worked their hearts out on creating their “We are the World” video. Their submission included a student playing the keyboard, kids swaying in unison, and a whole room of children singing in sync. Our thind tablet will go to the Bal Kendra School in Nepal, where there founder has embraced the opportunity to offer Big Picture Foundation projects to the homeless and underprivileged kids in his learning center. Our fourth and final tablet will be awarded to our group in Haiti, who dry and sell apricots in order to support basic supplies for the school and who would otherwise not have a chance to participate in the Friendlink International program. We are grateful to Nate for empowering global groups to make meaningful connection with each other.
Every successful organization needs dedicated, motivated, and focused leaders, who ceaselessly work to ensure an organization’s success. Any sane analyst would bet against Big Picture Foundation, a global organization with no official employees. Instead of a staff, we have a group of kids who pour their hearts and souls into ensuring the success of our programs. The leadership group is officially supposed to meet once every other week, but more-often-than-not, we meet weekly.
It is because of these kids that Big Picture Foundation continues to flourish. Kids, when I say your names, please stand and remain standing. Aidan Anderson is the manager of our kids’ programs. He oversees everything and keeps me sane. Amber Hufford is our event coordinator. Alex Kirk, Delucia Lepore, and Scarlett Karmilowicz run Friend Link programs. Alex Langley oversees social media and takes minutes at our meetings. Camilla Leon, Toma Sellar, Emilia Vukasinovic, Sally Lee, Charlie Levine, and Jonathan Rodriguez are in charge of expansion. Catherine Williams, who could not be here, this afternoon, focuses on global opportunities for girls. Lily Shabaan, Christian Ellis, and Sophie Molitor focus on press, tv, and local public relations. Joey Montalto heads our video and photography initiatives. Brendan Quinn oversees project and theme innovation. Keira Baden oversees our Change Bakers charitable dinner party initiatives. Barrett Regan is the student coordinator for our open-studio program. William Weber designed our website banner. He anticipates overall needs of our endeavors, as our junior program manager. Everyone, please join me in thanking this extraordinary group of kids.
Would you all please come forward to receive your awards?
Before announcing our last award, I want to thank my board, including Brit Foster Rothstein, Evan Wies, Daniel Kennefick, Ariel Eckstein, Rosanna Brizio, and Ned Kirk, without whom, we would never have received nonprofit status and who will be instrumental in solidifying our structure, in the year ahead.
Thank you as well, to Mayor Cohn, Henry Heyne, Dr. Eric Byrne, Dr. Sheryl Goffman, Dr. Ann Edwards, Patty Taylor, Joe DiGiovanni, Nicole Levitsky, Sally Rogol, Adam Levi, Meg Rodriguez, Nancy Pasquale, Jessica Lodator, Beth Gallos, and Lisa Fairies. Finally, thank you so much to every child who contributes to using art for outreach and global community building initiatives and to every adult who supports our efforts.
We give our final commendation to our extraordinary global teachers who worked to join kids around the world in a common goal and to bring our “We are the World” project to life. In Nepal, South Africa, and China, our Big Picture Foundation kids don’t speak English. Nevertheless, they worked on learning the “We are the World” lyrics. In South Africa, the kids had to walk great distances to practice their performance. Around the world, kids talked about the meaning of the lyrics and then sang about making a better day, with conviction and pride. This project, which was pitched by a Rye Middle School sign language class, brought our community closer together and inspired new Big Picture Foundation membership. It is with honor and pride that I present the Global Teachers for Peace Award to Pragya Tank, Kiran Dutta, James Dean Conklin, Fred Gillan Jr., Julie Corballis, Laura Bowman, Peg Taylor, Elisa Zazzera, Chuantong Ma, Udit Bhatta, Melanie Smith, Rami Khalef, Nosipho Xulu, Gisela Flanigan, Steve Brown, Kerri Clayton Teramura, Brother Siaosi Ioane, Stewart Va’a, Debra Aronson, Tom Snowdon, Dan Brown, and Michaëlle de Verteuil. Most of these teachers reside around the world and couldn’t be here, but Jonny Ma, mother of Chuantong Ma, Henry Heyne, cousin of Michaëlle de Verteuil, and James Dean Conklin are here to accept their awards. These awesome teachers work with us to promote peace and kindness around the world. Please help me thank them, as they come forward to receive the Big Picture Foundation Teachers for Peace award.
I am so proud of all of you for working on using the arts to build trust, understanding and kindness among global kids. The best culmination of your work in our “We are the World” global video. We thank SONY/ATV, Kobalt Songs Music Publishing, Brenda Richie Music Publishing, the Jackson Family, Lionel Richie and his family, and Brenda Richie and her family for giving us the go-ahead to pursue this project. Without further ado, I introduce our Big Picture Foundation Global “We Are the World” collaboration.