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MLK Day Event On South Coast Helps Kids Learn About Concept Of Peace

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Kids in the "Safe Passage" program attend a special MLK event at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley focused on peace. They are creating "peace poles," artworks which get them to think about the concept of peace.

It’s a party atmosphere here at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. More than a hundred kids are munching away on pizza, and working on art projects. They’re celebrating Martin Luther King Day during an event that’s specially geared towards them, focused on peace.

The event is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Westlake Village. The participating kids are in a non-profit program in the Conejo Valley called Safe Passage. Tim Hagel manages the Safe Passage program. He helped create the program when he was with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. He recently retired after three decades with the agency, and is now devoting his time to the program.

Hagel says the program gives kids in the Conejo Valley an alternative to gangs. It’s an afterschool program which provide children with a safe place to go, healthy snacks, and activities. He says they broke the gang’s recruiting code, which was to get to kids early.

At this event, the kids are using art as a means of turning the concept of peace into something more concrete. Nan Young, with the Newbury Park based organization Art Trek, is helping the kids create desktop sized “peace poles.” They are little wooden poles the kids are painting, and decorating with their messages of peace.