On Giving Tuesday this year, we asked members of our community to share their #SeedsOfPeaceStory on social media.
Our goal was not just to spread awareness of our work, but also to celebrate the diverse voices of our family. And to be honest, we had no idea what to expect.
That day, hundreds of people shared poignant experiences, lessons learned, and moments of transformation—their reflections reaching far beyond our own social media following. To read this cascade of heartfelt testimonials was magical, and we were so happy to see the connections they fostered within our community. Hopefully, they even reconnected alumni to each other.
We’re happy to share just a few of these amazing journeys with you.
Rona, Israeli Seed
Over 24 years ago I heard about a summer peace camp in the US for kids my age. I thought it was a cool way to score a trip to the United States with other kids. I didn’t know it would be one of the most defining experiences of my life. I couldn’t imagine that I would make some of my best friends there, learn the most important life skills such as listening and being able to find common ground, even with the people I never thought I could.
I became a part of a living, breathing, constantly growing organism which is Seeds of Peace. That experience at 14 led to a second, a third, to different opportunities and even jobs over my teens and 20s.
Today, in my late 30s, I’m still proud of being a part of Seeds of Peace and I will do everything in my power to help it move forward and award many more kids (including my own!) to have this life-changing experience. This is my almost-quarter-century-long #seedsofpeacestory.
Syed, Pakistani Seed
In 2014, it was probably the best summer of my life. I interacted with more than a hundred people from all over the world. I played with an American, I dined with an Israeli, I swam with an Egyptian, I walked with a Palestinian, I danced with an Indian, I learned with a Jordanian, I shared the bunk with an Afghan.
Camp was a place where I was not treated by my national identity, but as a human being. I experienced diversity and coexistence, I heard people who came from different conflicts, I heard their different stories. It was an experience of a lifetime for me. My perspective of peace, war, and hate have all turned upside down into this idea that the world is a beautiful place to live.
Sophia, New York Seed
My #SeedsOfPeaceStory started only last July. Entering Camp for the first time, I had little idea of what would come next, and any preconceived notions I had coming in were quickly shattered. Quickly I fell into the routine of dialogue, group challenge, and other activities, and I found myself in a community as I had never experienced before.
At Seeds of Peace, I was free to express myself without limitation. The collective energy inspired me to do things I never would have thought I would do, like walking on a tightrope blindfolded. I made meaningful friendships and learned so much from a variety of perspectives I had never experienced before.
Overall, going to Camp was one of the best experiences of my whole life!
Luma, Jordanian Seed
My #SeedsofPeaceStory started more than 10 years ago in the summer of 2008. I was a 14-year-old shy, awkward kid that, for some reason, thought she knew more than enough about the politics in the region. I did not arrive at Pleasant Lake with an open mind—I went there to prove a point.
It took me two minutes after getting out of the bus to completely forget the point I was determined to make. I did not join Seeds of Peace with an open mind, but after the three weeks I spent in Camp, I left with an open mind, open heart, and an open soul.
Seeds shaped my life 10 years ago and continues to until this day. It shaped the way in which I think, I listen, and I speak. It opened my eyes to the world and helped me understand the power of dialogue. It made me wait for the other side’s perspective before formulating my own “point.”
Watching the news over the past 10 years, the only comfort is that “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field,” and I’ve been there. And I’m so grateful for that opportunity.
Netal, Israeli Seed
Seeds of Peace has given me so much more than I could ever explain. It has given me family, friends, unconditional relationships that I would have never found in other places in my life. More than anything, it has given me the option to live my life differently. And for that, I’ll always be thankful.
Sarah, Maine Seed
Nervously clutching my inhaler outside the Infirmary on my first day of Camp in 2006, I had no idea how this Bunk 5 family and Seeds of Peace would change my life. From camper to counselor to facilitator, I have continued to rely on this community for strength and hope as the world works hard to make us doubt everything we know about the power of empathy and love to create change. They tried to bury us but they didn’t know we were Seeds (even though all of my clothing says “Seeds of Peace” on it … they really should be able to tell).
Krisha, Indian Seed
I knew I was excited and yet I could feel a knot in the pit of my stomach. I was very nervous. I was going back after three long years. It had been difficult keeping in touch with everybody. Would people remember me after all? What was I supposed to say? What would people think? Would I be able to be there for my campers? Could I be a good PS?
These loud, rapid-paced thoughts clogged my mind as the bus headed towards Camp. I could hear the energetic chants as the bus rolled in. I could sense the enthusiasm in the air as soon as I stepped out. Passing through the human tunnel, there I was, in the line-up pit, jumping and dancing and celebrating togetherness with a hundred beautiful people I was yet to know.
That evening, as I was strolling through Camp, I noticed a plaque in the trophy room that read, “This is where we belong.” I knew I was home.
Seeds of Peace has been a process of great essence and transformation for me. I am grateful to Seeds of Peace for creating a community where vulnerability does not feel so uncomfortable; where differences are accepted and individuality is celebrated.
I have been able to witness and foster my rawest self at Camp by opening my heart and mind to people, embracing fears and insecurities whilst challenging myself to overcome them, understanding who I am and what I believe in!
At Seeds of Peace, I have learnt to recognize my voice and give it power not by undermining the voices of others but by standing by it when needed, for myself or for others. For the friendships, love, opportunity, and sense of purpose, Seeds of Peace, I am thankful!
Ameer, Palestinian Seed
Thank you, Seeds of Peace, for letting me know people from Gaza, Nablus, Bethlehem, Hebron, Nazareth, Tira, Arraba, Kofor Qassem, Ramallah, and Jerusalem. I never imagined the barriers between us would be broken, that we would gather in one place and be a family.
People from Cairo, Amman, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC, Morocco, Maine, Somalia, Pakistan, India, and many more places are all my family, too, and mean a lot to me.
I spent three weeks with them in a journey of finding ourselves, sharing stories and becoming more open-minded. The experience changed me to a better person, a person who now has a real passion about something, about giving back to my community, and Palestinians in general.
Now I believe in the change I can make and how I can be the change.
Thank you, Seeds of Peace, for giving me the space to share my opinions and to represent Palestine.
Habeeba, Egyptian Seed
At 14 years old, I struggled a lot with dialogue at Camp. It wasn’t until the end of the program that I realized why it was so hard—I just wasn’t communicating.
Seeds of Peace taught me what it means to truly communicate with others. We, I, often take communication for granted—it’s hard, it’s challenging, to pour my heart out to you, to tell you the reasons I stay up at night, to allow my body to showcase my insecurities. And that’s what I was asked to do at Camp: to shed all my exterior armor, to let down my guard, and just be human—fragile, open, loving.
And I learned to listen. I shared parts of myself I never knew I could put into words, and I listened, intently, to others do the same. I learned to be empathetic, and warm, and welcoming—to stop myself from falling into the cycle of indifferent and apathetic communication, one that we all know too well.
At 16 years old, back at Camp as a PS, I learned to question—question everything I thought I knew about myself, everything I’ve been told, everything that I believed to be a constant.
This questioning has stayed with me until today, and has transformed the way I carry myself and view the world.
Abukar, Maine Seed
Long before I discovered my passion for journalism, I was interviewed by the BBC, thanks to Seeds of Peace. It was August of 2012 and I was a 17-year-old activist. I shared how an identity I once considered a burden—being a black immigrant, from a Muslim background—turned into a source of strength, even in the whitest state.
I don’t know how that experience has shaped what I do now, but this I know: Seeds of Peace has given me the opportunity to learn more about myself and the world around me, so that today I am able to do that for others. And for that I am grateful.
This is only a small handful of the more than 400 compelling experiences our community shared during Giving Tuesday. You can search the #SeedsOfPeaceStory hashtag on Facebook or Instagram to see more. And if you missed posting on Giving Tuesday, we’d still love to hear your own #SeedsOfPeaceStory!