Rep. Jared Polis and Ann Raisch will both be awarded the 2010 PeaceJam Hero Award at the PeaceJam Hero Awards Luncheon on Nov. 15 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. PeaceJam is a worldwide organization that seeks to inspire kids to make a difference in their community by having Nobel Peace Laureates speak and work with kids to address the issues that they face today and in the future. Polis and Raisch will be honored at the luncheon for their part in helping PeaceJam achieve that goal.
“We came to the realization that there are so many people who are involved with Peace Jam that work so hard,” says Ryan Harschen, development and program coordinator. “We did this to honor those who have gone above and beyond and recognize them publicly and deeply thank them.”
Polis, who represents Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, has donated resources to PeaceJam, including computers. He also helped them start their website. Raisch has been an active volunteer with PeaceJam since its start 15 years ago.
“They have been a beacon of support,” says Kate Cumbo, program director with PeaceJam. “He [Polis] really supported us and is still involved to this day. Ann has been with us since the very beginning, and her family has been very involved in PeaceJam. “ Raisch said that she was surprised to hear that she was being honored by PeaceJam.
“I’m just totally overwhelmed,” she says. “I can’t think of another organization it would mean more for me to be honored by.”
Raisch first got involved in PeaceJam when a friend asked her to help the organization raise $5,000 for an event. She agreed to help on two conditions: that her two sons could be involved and the organization did work with Native Americans, a cause that Raisch said she is passionate about. She was able to round up that $5,000, and she has been helping in any way she could ever since. She has helped fundraise, organize activities and has even hosted a few of the Nobel Laureates during their stays.
“Whatever they needed, if I was available I would do it,” she says. “For me it’s a labor of love. I really care about youth, and I am concerned about the world they’re coming into. PeaceJam shows them how they can make a difference.
“PeaceJam is offering role models, these Nobel Prize winners. They’ve changed the world. They’re making a difference for thousands of people. Many of them started out just like these kids, and when they see them, the students think, ‘If they can do it, then I can do this.’”
Oscar Arias, the former president of Costa Rica and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient in 1987, will be the featured guest speaker at the luncheon and will be discussing how Costa Rica became the happiest country in the world in 2009, according to a study by New Economics Foundation. The ballroom will be decorated to look like a Costa Rican rain forest, with plants from the Denver Botanical gardens and animals from the Denver Zoo. The menu will also feature Caribbean cuisine.
“This luncheon gives us the chance to honor all these people who support us all year long and just have a wonderful day together.”
Tickets start at $100 each and can be bought at www.peacejam.org or by calling 303-455-2099.