Heroes Project

Peace and Hope HEROES AWARD

Bridges of Peace and Hope chooses one individual each year to honor with the Bridges of Peace and Hope Heroes Award. Our annual winner is selected from nominations submitted by students and teachers.

We invite your class or school to have your own Peace and Hope Heroes Project. Have students write letters or create media projects about a person they think deserves to be honored as a Peace and Hope Hero. Select one winner from your group and submit your nominee to John at  hoperivermusic@yahoo.com                                                                                                   

We must receive submissions by October 22, 2011 via email or post.           

If sending by post please send to:  

Bridges of Peace and Hope
Attention: Heroes Award
PO Box 742
Hillsdale, NY 12529

If submitting via email please send to John Farrell at hoperivermusic@yahoo.com

Please Choose a Hero for your Class or School

We would like to be able to read all the reports or nominations that your students create but that would be very difficult if we receive submissions from a large number of schools, which we hope we will. We ask that you help us in this screening process by choosing one candidate to submit to Bridges of Peace and Hope. We do encourage you to have all your students read or share their reports with the rest of the class or school.

The individual you choose can then become your groups "Bridges of Peace and Hope Hero" and you can recgnize that person as such. If you choose to do that please notify us and we will send you a Bridges of Peace and Hope tee shirt to present to your local winner. That person will be considered by our selection committee for the 2011 Bridges of Peace and Hope Hero Award to be presented in November 2011.

The selection committee is chaired by Tom Lynch, a former teacher, and a member of the BoPH Board of Directors. The committee is made up of teachers and former teachers who are members of the BoPH advisory board

The Qualities a Peace and Hope Hero Should Have

The Heroes project encourages young people to seek out role models who are inspirational because of their dedicated service to others and commitment to make our world a better and more just place.. We want students to find heroes that they can pattern their lives after, people who go about their daily business making the needs of others the central focus of their work -- individuals who have the rare ability to put the common good ahead of their personal gain or recognition.

We ask that the reports be about "everyday heroes," not famous entertainers, athletes, or public figures. We want to feature stories (and audio and video if you'd like) about individuals who have unselfishly committed themselves to improving the lives of others. The reports can be any length and any format. They can be written, audio, or video presentations. If reports are written please include photographs of the heroes if you have them.

While many young people regard their parents as their heroes (especially Moms it seems) we ask that they choose some other than a parent as their hero.                                                                                                                                      

Please contact John at hoperivermusic@yahoo.com if you have questions.

To learn about our first three recipients of the award please read their stories below. We think you will be inspired by how they have worked to make their communities and our world better places.


2010 BoPH Heroes Award Winner Pamela Rogalin

Pamela Rogalin with John Farrell at Awards Concert

The 2010 winner of the Peace and Hope Heroes Award is Mrs. Pamela Rogalin of Brookfield, Connecticut. Mrs. Rogalin has directed a community volunteer project that has brought goods and assistance to needy children and families in Nicaragua for more than 18 years. To see a wonderful music video showing photographs of this years “Nicaragua Project” featuring Mrs. Rogalin, volunteers, and families in Nicaragua please click on the link below which will take you to this tribute created by BoPH advisory member Dan McLoone.



Mrs. Pamela Rogalin Inspires Students and Families
to Help Children in Need in Nicaragua

By Dan McLoone

There are not many people who find themselves in the unique position to help two causes at one time, but Mrs. Rogalin is one of those people. After attending a meeting at Whisconier Middle School and finding that the school had an excess of computers after replacing the old ones, the humanities teacher attended a Connecticut Quest for Peace meeting. There, she found that the organization was looking for computers to send to a reservation in Mexico. As the only person in the room with a connection to the two causes, Mrs. Rogalin volunteered the computers that WMS had. And so started a long-standing relationship with CT Quest for Peace.

It was through one of these meetings that Mrs. Rogalin met Randy and Linda Klein, two volunteers who talked about a collection that they had started where children sent in slightly used items in shoeboxes, which would be shipped over to Nicaragua for the children there. When her students heard of this idea, they immediately wanted to do it as well. Since it could be incorporated into her social studies unit, Mrs. Rogalin’s humanities students began collecting items in shoeboxes to send to Nicaragua. But they don’t use shoeboxes anymore!

Now in its 18th year, this small little project has evolved into a big collection. People from all over Brookfield and surrounding towns donate slightly used clothing, toys, shoes, sports equipment, bikes, kitchen items, and many other things that are packaged up in large boxes and are shipped over to Nicaragua by the Connecticut Quest for Peace organization. The goods are shipped out of Baltimore and arrive in Nicaragua in December, just in time to offer the children an early Christmas present. Any items that cannot go to Nicaragua, such as books in English or electronic toys, get donated to needy children in Bridgeport, CT. The collection brings the whole town together, as numerous volunteers and students help to get the job done. And quietly directing the whole operation with her kind words and warm smile is none other than the woman who started it off with shoeboxes, Mrs. Rogalin. Both students and adults work after school for weeks to pack up all of the boxes of goods that have been donated. Aside from the items sent in the boxes, they also send over education and health kits, bags of small individual items that students in Nicaragua would need in order to go to school or stay clean. Inside each of these kits is a letter from Spanish students at WMS. The children in Nicaragua are so excited to hear from other kids, Mrs. Rogalin says, that the first thing they do is open their letters. Some of them even write back.

This year, the project sent 231 boxes filled with supplies over to 14 schools in Nicaragua, including 147 boxes of clothing, 643 pairs of shoes, 583 toys in 36 boxes, 9 boxes of sports equipment, 227 education kits in 12 boxes, 123 health kits in 11 boxes, 15 boxes of household items, 8 boxes of health goods for a clinic in Nicaragua, 24 backpacks, and 4 car seats, as well as numerous bikes and large items that were not packed in boxes.

Mrs. Rogalin has shown that kindness towards others is always the right thing to do, and her compassion and friendliness is contagious. As anyone who knows her will say, her devotion to commitments and honesty to others are a reflection of the genuinely unique and special person that she is. She has individually impacted so many people’s lives, both indirectly with the Nicaragua project, and directly through her years of teaching. Yet, despite all of this, she is extremely modest. You will never hear her talk about her own accomplishments or brag. She just goes about her business, quietly helping so many people without their knowledge. Mrs. Rogalin shows us that we need to care for each other, regardless of the circumstances, and that we must take a step out of our comfort zones and find a way to help others. When I talked to her recently, she told me that every year, even when she thinks she’s seen it all, she is still learning from the children. That may be true, but due to her unselfish devotion to others, it is really us who can truly learn from her.



2009 BoPH Heroes Award to UK’s Colonel Mark Cook


Colonel Mark Cook: Right at Home

By Dan McLoone

Bridges of Peace and Hope awarded their second annual “Heroes” award to Colonel Mark Cook in honor of his dedication to his charity organization, Hope and Homes for Children.

Hope and Homes for Children is a charity organization working in Eastern Europe and Africa. Mr. Cook got the idea to start the organization in 1992, when he was Commander of the British Contingent in the United Nation Protection Force at the start of the war in the Balkans. He came across an orphanage that had been destroyed by shell fire. “I met the children who had to be evacuated after 21 days of intensive shelling,” Mr. Cook states, “and made a promise to them that I would rebuild their home.”

True to his word, Colonel Cook left the army to raise the funds, about two million dollars. It took 18 months, but Cook eventually had the orphanage rebuilt. Following this, Cook and his wife, Caroline, decided to start Hope and Homes for Children with the aim of helping orphans of war or disaster around the world. Now, his organization has expanded and is currently helping orphaned children in 12 countries over the world.

Mark Cook grew up in a secure and happy home with his family. “My parents made great sacrifices to send me to a very good private school,” he says. “I had an extremely happy childhood.” He played soccer, field hockey, cricket, and many other sports and wanted to be a bus driver when he grew up.

After finishing school, Mr. Cook didn’t know what he wanted to do. “I thought the army sounded like an exciting life, so I joined for 3 years and stayed for 30,” he says. During his time in the army, Cook was commissioned to the Gurkha Regiment in Nepal, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Germany, Belize, and Cyprus. He, his wife, and their two boys were constantly moving between countries. Despite the disadvantages, Mr. Cook says that the advantages outweighed the disadvantages. “I was lucky to have a loving wife and a happy and secure family to come back to,” he says. After 30 years in the army, Cook left to start Hope and Homes for Children.

Cook is not alone in his organization. There are many volunteers who help with the cause. In the head office in England, which is a barn, there are 40 full time members. In the 12 countries that they are working in, there varies between 3 or 4 people to 30 or 40. Many people have also organized support groups to raise vital funds. 

Hope and Homes for Children is always looking to help others. “We are constantly looking at the countries in which we work and where the latest need is around the world,” Cook says. Some countries that Cook hopes to one day visit are Nepal, North Korea, China, and Russia. Despite these hopes, Cook is cautious when proceeding. “We have to be very careful not to overextend ourselves,” he says. “The key to our work is giving children the love they so desperately crave.”

What is some advice Mr. Cook has for people who want to help the world? He believes that all those with the good fortune of having a stabile life and a loving family have the power and responsibility to help those less fortunate. “Every one of us can make the difference to the life of a child somewhere,” he says. “We can’t leave it to the big organizations such as the United Nations or UNICEF. We all have a part to play.”

Mark Cook was a clear choice to win this year’s Bridges of Peace and Hope Hero Award. His dedication to a great cause and ability to love and care for those around him make him a role model for everyone. Hope and Homes is still thriving, and Cook is focusing in on his long-term goals: building homes and providing families for those who truly need it. When visiting Sudan, Cook asked a little boy what he wanted. The boy responded, saying “Please give me a family. I want a real home.” Thanks to Mark Cook, many children will get that wish.

To learn more about Hope and Homes for Children please visit their web site at        http://www.hopeandhomes.org


PLEASE Submit for HEROES AWARD by October 15, 2011

The 2011 HEROES AWARD recipient will be chosen from the reports submitted by you and your students. All student and teacher reports submitted by October 15, 2011 will be considered in the selection process. A winner will be chosen by the BoPH Heroes Award Committee and the winner will be announced by November 1, 2011.

Contact John Farrell by email to learn how to submit your reports.


2008 Bridges of Peace and Hope Heroes Award

Dr. Ann Hines, second from left, winner of the 2008 BOPH Heroes Award

Dr. Ann Hines, second from left, winner of the 2008 Bridges of Peace and Hope Heroes Award


Article from the Danbury News Times, Danbury, CT:

Danbury's 'Mother Teresa' Receives Bridges of Peace and Hope Heroes Award

Author: Susan Tuz Staff Writer

DANBURY -- There was a feeling of joy and holiday cheer in the air at the Creasy Auditorium in Danbury Hospital on Saturday morning. Dr. Ann Hines was being honored for her years of service to the community at a special family holiday concert to benefit Hanahoe Memorial Children's Clinic, which Hines founded in 1974 and runs today. Hines was the first recipient of the "Peace and Hope Heroes Award" from the Bridges of Peace and Hope project.

"I think that John Farrell's organization and what it is trying to do is a wonderful thing," Hines said moments before receiving the award. "Seeing children involved with music and international cooperation is wonderful. I'm honored to be recognized by them in this way."

Farrell is a songwriter and author who founded the Bridges of Peace and Hope project, which is a diverse international network of students, teachers, artists and friends working together to promote respect, understanding and social justice by collaborating on educational projects that advance global awareness and cooperation. It provides assistance to vulnerable people, especially children, around the world. Hines meets the criteria to be the recipient of the first award from the group, as she has provided medical assistance to children in Danbury for 33 years, Farrell said.

"The Heroes project encourages young people to seek out role models who are inspirational because of their tireless compassion and dedicated service to others," Farrell said. "We want students to find heroes that they can pattern their lives after, people who go about their daily business making the needs of others the central focus of their work -- individuals who have the rare ability to put the common good ahead of their personal gain or recognition." Farrell went on to say that Dr. Hines "embodies the qualities of tireless compassion, ceaselessly listening to and attending to the needs of those that enter the clinic each day. She is a hero living in our midst, keeping hope alive for those less fortunate and going about the business of caring for families in need, regardless of their financial status."

For Hines, the ambition to become a doctor was inspired by a desire to aid those less fortunate. She was the first doctor in her family and initially thought of becoming a missionary. Through her marriage to Paul, a chemistry professor at Western Connecticut State University, she came to work at Danbury Hospital's pediatric clinic. But she wanted to do more for the children of poor families in the community.

Taking a small inheritance from her parents, Cyril and Mary Hanahoe, Hines took a year lease on a small office space on Osborne Street to found the city's first and only free children's clinic. Now situated on 205 Main St., Hines named the clinic in honor of her parents. Over the years, Hines has been the clinic's primary physician, working for her first 12 years with no salary, with fellow pediatricians pitching in.

"She is the Mother Teresa of Danbury," said Dr. Jack Fong, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Danbury Hospital. "The department is extremely proud of her. She is one of the reasons this is a caring community that provides service for children without regard to their financial capabilities. "We can all walk tall because of what Dr. Hines does," Fong continued. "She is the reason we've become guardian angels of our children and not just doing lip service to their needs. Not every community can be so fortunate as to have such a giving and committed person in it. We have what other communities dream of."