The initiative to start WFWP Girls was first mentioned at the New Jersey WFWP planning meeting in January of this year, where there was a lot of excitement to launch the project. Elizabeth Satellite Chapter was asked to pilot the project for New Jersey. Several Chairwomen meetings ensued to plan and discuss the vision and launching of WFWP Girls. It was exciting for us to be chosen to pilot and launch the project, so we set about preparing.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Women’s Federation for World Peace, the Elizabeth Chapter headed by chairwoman Christine Rapada, launched a new project called WFWP Girls on April 15 at the Peterstown Community Center with great support from WFWP New Jersey and WFWP USA.
What is WFWP Girls? This is a group of girls from 6 to 14 years old who came together to support their fellow girls, and will work together to foster lasting peace in their homes and their communities. Eighteen girls made a strong commitment and became the founding members of the organization.
The project was conceptualized to guide young girls to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of others. Their mission statement is “Girls working together to bring everlasting peace to their community and nation through the logic of love and kindness.” Also a creed was crafted for the girls to recite every time they meet or start an activity as a reminder of their mission and purpose. The creed reads, “As a member of WFWP Girls: I will honor my faith. I will strive to be the best that I can be. I will be humble, loving, and kind. I will spread joy and peace by living for the sake of others. I will serve my community with all my heart because service to humanity is the greatest reward of all.”
Around 20 families participated in the inauguration of WFWP Girls hosted by Ms. Sunmee Atay, Youth Pastor of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), in Elizabeth, New Jersey. She is an example and the epitome of what WFWP Girls is all about.
Dr. Ann Iparraguirre, former District Pastor of FFWPU gave the invocation. She came and volunteered herself because she strongly believes that this project can truly make a substantial impact, first in the family and then spread into the society. Pastor Darryl Franklin of FFWPU Elizabeth Family Church gave the welcoming remarks. He spoke beautifully on the role of women and girls in shaping a healthy community. Afterwards, Mrs. Joy Lascari, WFWP New Jersey Treasurer, shared about the mission and work of WFWP. She highlighted how her daughters had developed and matured through their service work and involvement with WFWP as they were growing up.
After the talks, we were entertained by a WFWP member from Thailand, Ms. Narrkaew Takeyama, who performed a traditional Thai dance. Her graceful movement and beautiful costume rocked the house. Then the girls performed a Polynesian dance in the tune of “Pearly Shell.”
Chairwoman Christine Rapada then introduced WFWP Girls. She talked about the vision and mission of the new group. She mentioned their goals and what they will be accomplishing as members as well as the expected outcome of this endeavor. And altogether they recited the WFWP Girls Creed.
Rev. Denneze Nelson, WFWP New Jersey Chairwoman gave a brief history of the founding of WFWP. She mentioned that there was a strong desire by mothers to form a group for young girls so they can be exposed to the lifestyle of service and love for humanity. She was followed by the introduction of the keynote speaker by Rev. Juanita Pierre-Louis, WFWP USA Vice President.
The keynote address was delivered by Mrs. Tami Lamorn. She currently sits on the advisory board of Young Enterprising Sisters (YES) as well as being a member of the marketing committee of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark New Jersey. Mrs. Lamorn emphasized the importance of unconditional love and support to the girls. “The girls need to be empowered to become productive citizens,” she said.
Each of the founding members was honored and received a rose necklace. Some parents were very inspired upon hearing the vision and mission and the federation and also signed up as paying members of WFWP.
There were fun activities prepared for everyone including a photo booth and face painting booth. Everyone, including parents, had lots of fun.
We would like to acknowledge the following people who helped and supported us to make this launching a historic success: 1) Pastor Franklin for providing the sound system; 2) Rev. Carol Pobanz for giving us a huge discount on the WFWP Girls t-shirts; 3) Rev. Emiljun Rapada for the photo booth and audio visual needs; 4) Elena Bahian and Narkkaew Takeyama for the entertainment; and most of all 5) WFWP Elizabeth Chapter officers – Yasuyo Ualat, Magdalena Rapada, and Nancy Ilemabila for always being there to support our programs, and everyone else who in one way or another contributed to this project.