Letter from the Founder (Excerpt)
Dear Family, Friends, and Partners in Peace:
I want to take this joyous opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have been instrumental in giving birth to the vision of what is now the Imagine Peace Foundation. I want to begin with the thirty-six people who showed up for a visioning session at my home on June 28, 2003. That session began the creation of our first project, Imagine Peace Center. From that outstanding two hours, we have begun a journey that has sweetly taken on a life of its own. I personally want to thank the Board for stepping inside my dream and making it more amazing than I imagined. And special thanks for the treasure of my grandson, Alex, who is my light and my inspiration. Alex, when you were born, my spirit danced in the spirit of your eyes, and I knew that with every breath I had, I would be committed to peace.
Wishing you peace and love today and always,
Aleta Antoinette, Founder
Imagine Peace Foundation
Aleta Antoinette's acceptance speech as she was awarded the Make A Difference Award on February 21st.
A SEASON OF NONVIOLENCE-MILE HI CHURCH
I have several people this evening that I want to thank for this truly special recognition. Donna DeNomme for always being such a support to Imagine Peace and for this wonderful nomination. I’d like to thank Mile Hi Church and all the loving people who work here, many of whom have supported us with their time, talent and prayers. This is my sweet spiritual home. I want to thank my amazing mentors; my board members past and present who’ve given so much of themselves. It’s because of them that I know what it is to be part of a generous and passionate team whose commitment to peace has given this vision its wings. I want to thank my son, his wife, and my dear little grandson who are my constant inspiration. Finally, I want to thank each person that has come out to volunteer and participate in our activities and events. It’s because of you that we go forward.
What an honor to be recognized during A Season of Nonviolence and such an appropriate time since the vision for Imagine Peace Foundation was written 4 years ago one evening after watching a recording of Oprah, as I always do. Oprah was paying tribute to MLK, Jr. on his birthday and after once again hearing his “I Have a Dream” speech I was inspired to stay up till 2 am drafting out the vision for what is now Imagine Peace.
That same day and during the months prior I’d been watching my newborn grandson, Alex, at my home after his mom had been recovering from a challenging delivery and several operations. You see Alex was determined to stay in his mom’s womb and the rest of us desperately wanted him out. After much prodding, poking and struggling between the Dr., her forceps and Alex it was decided that the forceps would win. Although it was very hectic around the delivery room, Alex, with nothing but his head poking out for the longest time, remained calm while he was yanked and his head suctioned as every effort was made to bring him forth into the world. I remember looking into his face and was reminded of the saying that “true peace is to be in the midst of chaos and still remain calm“.
Growing up in the war torn 60’s something in me believed that humanity was capable of so much more; as a child I wanted to do something to transform that. During my attempts to join the Peace Corp and the United Nations as a teenager, I was often told I needed more experience. I allowed life to take me in another direction for a while and finally, I gained experience. Alex’s birth inspired my rebirth and took me back to my dream of creating a more peaceful world. I’ve discovered that pursuing one’s passion can be filled with a mixture of blessings. Like Alex’s experience, there’s been great joy, utter exhaustion, sheer panic, the sense of loss of the comfort and warmth of the womb, and at times I’ve felt my heart being pulled by “universal forceps” to places unknown. All the while being coached and embraced by the loving arms of board members, friends and family; never straying far from this amazing journey of love.
Our Foundations long term goal is to create worldwide Imagine Peace Center ‘s. A place where people can come together and experience peace in many different ways. In the meantime we’re hosting Imagine Peace Talks, where monthly we invite a peace leader to come and share what they’re doing in the community for peace. We have an open dialogue, we learn about each other, we seek understanding and for those two hours we focus on peace. Each speaker represents one of the rooms we’ll be creating in our future Center.
We’ve had the privilege to host our Peace Talks in an incredible former Mystery School in Indian Hills called Falcon Wing Ranch; it’s nestled in the mountains above Red Rocks on a sacred Native American site called Skyline Sanctuary. This magnificent place is where healers have come over the generations to rejuvenate themselves and do their work. It’s a rare place on the planet where 7 earth ley lines converge together and the energy is incredible. A beautiful place for people to learn to connect and create peace. A group of us are looking to create an international educational community up there that will teach humane and peace education. We’d like to collaborate and be a part of that vision and we invite you to come find out how you can join us.
Our next goal is to create an Imagine Peace Mobile and to reach out and take our programs to many venues in the community. There’s many ways you can be involved come visit us and see how you can be part of the vision. Peace begins with each of us using our creativity, our compassion and our imagination.
In Closing-I’d like to share that during our first visioning our group was joined by 5 generations of my family, all together in one place for the first time. My dream is that 5 generations from now Alex’s grandson will be talking with him around the dinner table sharing what he learned in school and the conversation will go something like this, “Grandpa we learned today that there was a time when people use to kill themselves when they didn’t agree with each other. I’m so happy to know that now we live in a peaceful world. I can’t imagine why people did this? “ Well son; “People did this because for a time they forgot who they were. They were lost and searching to find themselves in a world that did not bring them joy and meaning. Then, one day, men and women began to dream again and to remember who they were, and in that ‘remembering’ they began to find there joy again, and in that joy there was peace. They began to show kindness where kindness was lacking. They learned to listen, not only with their minds, but with their hearts. They had many challenges along the way, but their vision was greater than their fear. If your great grandma were here right now she would look into your eyes and say: “I see in you the light of the universe, and in knowing the wonder that you are, when you listen to your heart remember this; when you truly believe, all things are possible.”
Thank you for tonight and for believing with me!
Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors currently consists of fourteen people from various professions and backgrounds who have an interest in providing opportunities for children to learn to live more peaceful and less stressful lives than they may be now living. Nearly all of the directors are employed full time for a company or run a company of their own. Several have significant experience in the helping professions, two are accountants, one is a Realtor and a mortgage broker, another has been a college administrator as well as a division manager for a large corporation, another is a mortgage broker, one is an information technology expert, and another is a human resource professional. Initially, Board members have been selected based on their interest and experience. Below is a partial list of our Board.
The persons identified below are also current members of the Board of Directors.
Aleta Antoinette, Founder and President
Aleta Antoinette has been an entrepreneur for the past twelve years. Her business and leadership background has been in the financial services arena, specializing in client-oriented management along with training and building teams for several organizations. Prior to being self-employed she worked in dispute resolution and mediation with a large corporation in a department that was created specifically for her to enable her ability to resolve conflict and make an unprofitable situation profitable for both the client and the company. She has held a Securities License, a Life and Health Insurance License, has a Real Estate License and has done specialized training in Mortgage Certification. Creating business on the foundation of integrity, creativity, cooperation and kindness are what she strives for daily.
Aleta's roots and growing up in the turbulent sixties she questioned the violence, human suffering and conflict that surrounded her. She desired to see a more peaceful world and wanted to be a part of creating that; her dream of joining the Peace Corps and working at the United Nations were side tracked when she began a family so she decided to work toward this goal on a local level. With this in mind she attained her Bachelor's of Science degree in Human Services and participated in organizing a group discussion for homeless men in Ontario, California, which enabled many of them to become self-reliant. She participated in a national event, "Hands Across America", which was designed to educate and raise awareness of the plight of the homeless population in the United States. She has volunteered with the Special Olympics, Muscular Dystrophy, and Habitat for Humanity. She volunteered for three years with the Greenwood Village Police Department as a Victim Advocate to assist victims of crime and to aide with crisis intervention.
Exploring her own path and experiencing life's challenges has lead her to believe that her dreams of creating a more peace filled world are possible if we began with ourselves. This belief took her on a journey of self-discovery through experiencing individual and group therapy, workshops, lectures, reading and spiritual exploration. This led her back to her childhood dream of creating more connection within and therefore, a more peaceful planet. When we recognize a connection in ourselves we begin to realize that connectedness with others and with this we can create peace one person at a time. This is the mission of the Imagine Peace Foundation, which she began in June 2003 with a group of visionary volunteers. The first project is to create, "Imagine Peace Center", a place to explore what peace means to each person, and then to provide the tools to transform their lives in a positive and meaningful way.
Along with her passion to turn the dream of Imagine Peace into a reality, and her business, she enjoys, writing poetry, participating in discussion groups, dance, being in nature and spending time with family and friends. Children are our future and if we can expose them to opportunities to experience more loving choices, to feel a sense of serenity, to discover who they are and to appreciate others they will naturally become more caring adults. The key to life is being balanced, thoughtful, compassionate, and being joyful in everything you do- in this harmony there is peace.
Tom LaRotonda, Vice President
Tom LaRotonda is a personal and professional transformation Mentor/Coach, Facilitator, Writer and Speaker. He is a partner in a Denver based transformational leadership company called Core Matters which specializes in helping individuals and organizations create authentic lives and cultures. Tom and his business partner developed a holistic based transformation program that helps individuals and organizations to discover their core foundational passions, beliefs, values and aligns them with a higher life or organizational purpose. This alignment immediately creates a deeply powerful, highly conscious, purpose-driven life or organizational culture. Prior to his joining Core Matters three years ago, Tom spent over 25 years as a mid to senior level manager with several large international companies where he developed his passion for and earned a reputation as a champion of transformational living.
Having spent years overseeing large organizations as well as numerous high profile projects/initiatives, Tom realized that true transformation only occurs at the core level of an individual or corporation. He observed that most training programs and consultants only addressed the symptoms and not the disease. He became a champion of seeking solutions that would sustain the long term health and well being of an organization or person. He became an advocate for recognizing the needs and desires of employees and sought out solutions and programs that supported the employees, not only in their professional growth but their personal growth path as well. He promoted a servant-leadership philosophy long before it's current gain in popularity. His "new-thought" ideas and philosophies had a significant impact on increasing morale, commitment, creativity, and profitability at the companies he worked for.
Throughout his life Tom has been an advocate for peaceful conflict resolution. His lifelong success is based on a model that focuses on building relationships through trust, compassion and non-judgment. His passion for peaceful conflict resolution and community building was significantly impacted by his work as a volunteer mediator for a non profit organization that created a unique victim-offender mediation program for juveniles called Face to Face. It was here that Tom saw and experienced the power of two emotionally charged parties coming together to heal the wounds that had divided a community. The entire purpose of the program is to restore a community to a state of wholeness after a crime has been committed. It was at this time that Tom realized his passion for peace could best be served by directing his energy into an entrepreneurial setting where he had the flexibility and authority to create bold programs that integrated spiritual based concepts of transformation into all aspects of one's life. In his journey with Core Matters Tom has established himself as a leader in promoting non-traditional, leading edge thinking into the corporate world. They have introduced unique programs such as Employee Wisdom Circles, Integrity Strategic Plans, and an Authentic Culture Model into many of their corporate clients resulting in major shifts in the culture.
Tom embraced his entrepreneurial spirit and values as a child from his parents. Together they owned and operated a neighborhood grocery store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When that business was sold to a move to Denver, his father started a very successful TV repair business that serviced the Denver community for over 25 years until his retirement. Tom has a BS degree in Finance from the University of Colorado and a certificate in Total Quality Management for Service Organizations from the University of Phoenix. He received his coaching certification from Corporate Coach University in 2001.
Tom's life purpose is to be the voice of authentic freedom and love. He believes passionately in the mission of the Imagine Peace Foundation. He has been involved with the creation of the IPF from the very beginning and worked closely with Aleta Antoinette, the founder of IPF, in helping her to gain clarity on the vision and dream of building Our Center for Peace. He brings to the board his diverse leadership experience in creating and managing a successful organization, as well as his passion for peace and non-violence.
Colleen Bement, Webmaster
Colleen works as a customer service representative in the field of telecommunications. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Cal State Fullerton, and had spent some time in the field working with children in group home settings. She had the privilege of working her college internship with Hands Across America in 1986, which change her outlook towards others. Although she spends most of her focus on her family, she makes time for her passion for creative writing. Colleen has been involved with the Imagine Peace Foundation since its inception, and had served part-time on the former board of directors.
Past Board members and Leadership Team
Claire Walsh, Advisory Board
Life & Transition Coach - Claire, a native of New Jersey, moved from the Jersey Shore in the early 70's. She has found the Colorado climate and spectacular scenery quite favorable for her outdoor interests of hiking, biking and golfing. She is passionate about maintaining a lifestyle that integrates her personal interests with her desire to encourage others to live their life purpose and do it more effortlessly.
Blending 20 years experience in Human Resources in both the public and private sector, a Bachelor of Science in Management and Professional Coach training thorough Coach University, Claire inspires individuals to discover their passion and live their potential.
As a life and transition coach, Claire works with employees, managers, career seekers, and individuals in personal, business, career and life transitions to help them stretch, grow, evolve and remove the barriers to success. She loves working with individuals to support them in making changes, especially the internal changes necessary to create the life they want. Her clients develop a new clarity about their ideals and become focused on discovering ways to live their life in harmony with their values. She believes everyone has within them the power to create an abundant life-a life of true joy, happiness and peace. By tapping into their wisdom within, clients reawaken their spirit and live life more fully and intentionally.
Claire is a contributing author of two books in the series, "A Guide to Getting It." Achieving Abundance was published July 2002 and "Remarkable Management Skills" was published in November 2002. She has organized the "Create Your Best Life" monthly luncheon for individuals who want deeper connections with other like-minded individuals who are interested in personal growth. Claire is affiliated with the Denver Coach Federation and is in the Graduate School of Coaching through Coach Ville.
You can contact Claire by email at Claire@EffortlessTransitions.com or 303-796-9887 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 303-796-9887 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. You may visit her website at www.EffortlessTransitions.com to sign up for her inspirational messages or to order her book
Tamara Sherwood, Advisory Board
Tamara is a trained mediator, coach, facilitator and public speaker. She is experienced in teaching Adlerian theory based parenting skills. She has certification to work with families from the International Network of Children and Families of Gainesville, Florida (1991), and Global Relationship Center of Austin, Texas (1990). Tamara works with parents, youth, families, organizational staff and at-risk clients to find peaceful solutions to every day communications and anger challenges.
In her service with The Conflict Center, in Denver, Tamara has created and implemented curriculum that invites parents and their children to participate together in learning skills to resolve conflicts, create mutual respect, manage anger and build quality communication skills. She has developed booklets and learning tools to assist families in crisis.
Tamara has been working in the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) arena since 1993. She has a victim/offender as well as a parent/teen mediation certification from Community Alternatives, Inc., and FACE-to-FACE Mediation Services, Aurora, Colorado (1993). She has additional training from VORP of Denver (1995), and Advanced Mediation Training from Judy Mars-Dixon, Boulder, Colorado (2004). She is an active volunteer for Jefferson County Mediation Service.
Tamara has conducted mediations and facilitations with families, victim and offender, couples, workplace, neighbor disputes and schools. She has been recognized for her expertise as a parent/teen mediator. Tamara educates families about communication skills, which are effective long after the mediation is over.
Tamara maintains her belief that co-parenting requires exceptional attention to strategic planning. She provides balance and cohesion to families processing their inevitable conflicts. Raised in Boulder, Colorado, Tamara has been a single parent for six years, raising two ambitious teenage boys who are active in school and community activities.
I can be of benefit to the Imagine Peace Foundation through my experience of fundraising and marketing for The Conflict Center. I can bring added benefit to programming and years of experience of knowledge as to what make a good program and how to evaluate. I consider myself as a peacemaker and enjoy the company and work of those that are like minded.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” --Mahatma Gandhi
Marcy La Rue, Secretary
Marcy La Rue was a manager of a nationwide check warranty service for 7 years. In that capacity she developed policies and procedures, which increased productivity in each department in which she worked. Marcy learned how to communicate with a variety of people and how to recognize and acknowledge their strengths. She was responsible for hiring and developing employees, as well as educating and counseling current employees in order to maintain standards for the department.
Marcy was relocated from San Diego to Aurora, Colorado shortly after her family expanded. It was important to us that one of us is at home with the children so for a time it was her husband John. Shortly after moving to Colorado her position ended so she stayed home to raise the children and John went back into the workforce. Even though certain sacrifices had to be made, it was more important for her to be involved with raising her children. When her youngest child started school, Marcy began doing medical data entry at home and after a short time went to work in the office part time for the same company until her position ended after seven years. Marcy is currently raising three teenagers, one of whom recently graduated high school and is attending college and the other two are in high school.
Marcy was an Officer on the Board of the elementary school’s Parent Teacher Organization as the Treasurer for three years. She was responsible for several fundraising activities throughout the year as well as the deposits and record keeping. Marcy also volunteered in the classroom and for field trips. Marcy was involved with her children’s sports teams fundraising events. Marcy recently volunteered with the Salvation Army to help the Hurricane Katrina survivors located here locally.
Marcy attended the first meeting because Aleta is a dear friend. She became involved because she recognized how she could make a difference. She believes in living a more peaceful life and sharing this gift with others and educating them as to how to live their own lives more peacefully. Marcy has a special interest in educating children and giving them a voice, which is why she will be involved with the curriculum and program development. Marcy will continue to bring her special talents, interests and enthusiasm to Imagine Peace Foundation.
Victoria Kwasinski, Advisory Board
Victoria attended Colorado Institute of Art and went on to receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design where she graduated class valedictorian. Her love of art has been a lifetime journey that began with her first award at the age of seven. She has over twenty years of experience as a Professional Artist and has worked as a Corporate Graphic Artist, Freelance Illustrator, Gallery Owner, Fine Artist and Art Instructor.
Victoria has been teaching drawing and painting extensively throughout the Denver Metropolitan area since 1996. She has taught workshops and extended class sessions, served as an exhibit juror, and has held critiques and demonstrations for various arts associations including, but not limited to: The Colorado Watercolor Society, The Colorado Pastel Society, Foothills Art Center, Heritage Fine Arts Guild, Denver Allied Artists Guild, Aurora Artists Guild, Broomfield Art Guild, Park Hill Art Club, Business of Art Center, and other public and private associations.
Victoria works in a variety of art mediums, and the versatility of her work serves a varied audience. She is a published illustrator, and her fine art is represented by galleries, shown in local and national juried exhibitions, and is collected internationally. She has contributed art works or services to groups including; The Mask Project, The Global Art Project, Project Safeguard, Art that Heals, etc. Of special note is her painting ‘Wings of Unity’ painted originally for the Global Art Project in 1998. The theme of this painting is a vision of angels uniting all the continents and the earth in global unity and harmony. Victoria believes that she was spiritually guided to paint this image. Lithographic prints of this painting are now in international collections including: The National Institute of Art/Taipei, Taiwan; His Holiness Cealo/Japan; Dr. Arun Gandhi; musician Nawang Khechog, and numerous private collections.
Of her lifetime journey as an artist, Victoria states, “Art is my passion and my joy! I believe that we are here to live our purpose as defined by what we are passionate about, that which makes our heart sing. I also believe that we each have a responsibility to share our gifts with all. Whether I am sharing my knowledge of Art through instruction, or providing a visual experience for the viewer or collector, my ultimate goal is to encourage all to see and live the beauty and joy of this gift of life. As the poet John Keats so eloquently stated, “ ‘Beauty is Truth, Truth is Beauty.’ – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” My work is a celebration of the spirit that unites us all.”
2004: The Gallery at Guiry’s Lodo, gallery representation – Denver, CO
Ouray Gallery, gallery representation – Ouray, CO (since 1999)
12th Street Gallery, gallery representation - Golden, CO (also 2003)
Source, gallery representation - Denver, CO
Square Deal Gallery, group exhibit - Denver, CO
RL Foster Gallery, group exhibit - Denver, CO
Neo Art Gallery, group exhibit - Denver, CO
Denver Press Club, group exhibit - Denver, CO
2003: Core Matters, solo exhibition – Denver, CO
825 Art, group exhibit – Denver, CO
RL Foster Gallery, The Valone Circle group exhibition – Denver, CO
2002: Zwolf Gallery, gallery representation – Denver, CO
Square Deal Gallery, gallery representation – Denver, CO (also 2001)
Copperidge Studio, invitational exhibit – Black Forest, CO
Heart Studio, invitational exhibit – Denver, CO
Global Art Project – Heart Studio, Denver, CO/ Washington, D.C.
Eagle Fire Gallery, juried exhibit – Woodland Park, CO
Business of Art Center, juried exhibit – Manitou Springs, CO
2001: The Garden Room, gallery representation – Denver, CO
Fourth Story, prisma4 group exhibition – Denver, CO
Colorado Gallery of the Arts, invitational exhibit – Littleton, CO
Residence Off Broadway, invitational exhibit – Englewood, CO
Mead Street Station, solo exhibition – Denver, CO
Dovecote, solo exhibition – Littleton, CO
Stella’s Gallery, invitational exhibit – Denver, CO
2000: Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, juried exhibit – Palmer Lake, CO
Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibition, juried exhibit – Golden, CO
Colo. State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition, Juried/Pikes Peak Watercolor Society Award - Pueblo, CO
Piper Gallery/Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, invitational exhibit – Crested Butte, CO
Stella’s Gallery, prisma5 group exhibit – Denver, CO
Stanton Gallery, prisma5 group exhibit – Littleton, CO
1999: Market Street Gallery, Guiry’s Faculty Exhibit – Denver, CO
The 8th Annual State Watermedia Exhibit/CWS, juried exhibit – Denver, CO
The 16th Annual All Colorado Art Show, juried exhibit – Greenwood Village, CO
1998: Global Art Project – Heart Studio, Denver, CO/ The National Institute of Art, Taipei, Taiwan
Alternative Arts Alliance/Open Studio Tour – Denver, CO
Littleton Rotary Club, invitational exhibit – Littleton, CO (also 1997)
Matisse Cultural Center, group exhibit – Vence, France
Le Stelle Gallery, solo exhibition – Littleton, CO (also 1997, 1996)
2003: “Sacred Union: The Journey Home” – book cover illustration
2000: “Ouray Visitor’s Guide 2000” – cover illustration
1997: “Littleton – The Entrepreneur’s Hometown” – interior illustration
1997: “The Country Register” – cover illustration
1996: “My Garden Visits” – complete book publication, illustration and layout
1995: “5280 Magazine” – dining guide illustration
Linda Penjen, Treasurer
Linda Penjen wears the titles of Grandmommy, Mother, Entrepreneur, Business Founder, Office Manager, Bookkeeper and Dessert Maker. She has worked continuously in the job market since 1976 with her experience split between Public Accounting and Construction firms. Her on-the-job training has been supplemented with Accounting and Business courses. She has organized offices, trained staff, relocated and decorated facilities. She founded her own bookkeeping business in 1995 and her "Office Mom" business in 2003 which provides special occasion gift buying and desserts to businesses.
Additional she tutors her bookkeeping clients on how to be more organized and hands on with their own record keeping. The dual purpose is to help them be more independent due to knowledge and improve their bottom line by reducing Accounting expenses. The purpose of the "Office Mom" is to provide management with a means of recognizing the individual staff member and the events of their personal life.
Linda Penjen has traveled a path since childhood, which includes being a mediator, inspirationalist, seeker of the authentic and friend. She was born after the end of World War II and has experienced the emotions of each additional World conflict. She believes in the Law of Attraction and that each of us needs to be at Peace with ourselves to radiate and attract Peace from others. Peace is contagious. In 1997, she started Research and Development on her own passion. She is building a Holistic Retreat for children. This retreat will be located in Nevada.
Linda is continuing her formal education in Business Administration with a focus on obtaining a Teaching Certificate. She is designing her own curriculum.
Having lived from birth to age 50 in an environment of survival of the day, she is gravely aware of the importance of community support of the individual. She has learned from her grandchildren the expanse of beauty in the world. With each birth of a child comes a new ray of hope.
David Hatch, Board of Directors
David is the founder and board president of Skyline Sanctuary & Education Center. David’s background is in real estate investing, and for fifteen years he has been the owner and president of Terrell Properties. He is member of many organizations including Amnesty International, ACLU, the Jane Goodall Institute, and the Human Rights Campaign, that represent his vision of the long-term, educationally-based changes that are possible in our world. David holds bachelor degrees in Psychology and Sociology, and lives in Westminster with his daughter Jessica, age seven. Jessica hails from Cambodia, where she and David adopted each other in 1999.
Rafael Benitez, Advisory Board
Kevin Bradley, Advisory Board
Please read our Case Statement
- Aleta Antoinette
- Rafael Benitez
- Kate Sanks
- Colleen Bement
- Linda Penjen
- Claire Walsh
- Marcy LaRue
- Cindy Schlager