Nobel Winner Leymah Gbowee Visits Jericho

It’s not every day a Nobel Peace Prize winner comes to your front door.  Saturday at Jericho wasn’t “every day.” So when Leymah Gbowee came to Jericho Partnership to hear about our ministry to the city, it was truly a moment to remember.

Leymah was in Danbury as the keynote speaker at Peace Jam, a weekend conference at which middle and high-school students learn the value of social action by hearing from Nobel Laureates. As part of the this year’s conference, hosted by Western Connecticut State University, students had an opportunity to engage in various service projects around the city – including at three of Jericho’s ministry sites.

Leymah, who led a non-violent movement to help end the civil war in her native Liberia and was honored with the Nobel prize in 2011, interacted with the students who were at Jericho – painting, cleaning, and organizing. She also sat down with Jericho President Carrie Amos, who shared the many ways that Jericho serves some of the neediest people in Danbury.

Before taking Leymah on a tour of our building, Carrie was able to bring Jericho’s ministry to life by sharing the story of Jericho’s mural, which hangs in our Rose Street lobby.

More than 100 students descending on three sites where Jericho operates its ministries every day of the week: Spring Street Neighborhood Center, South Street Elementary School, and its headquarters at 13 Rose Street.

At Spring Street,  Peace Jammers prepared sandwiches and care kits for local homeless shelters, and cleaned our facility.

At South Street School – where Jericho volunteers serve as Reading Buddies through CityServe – students painted and assembled supply bags on which they wrote encouraging notes.

And at Rose Street, students cleaned, painted and organized a storage room….where they were excited to get some assistance from Leymah herself.

“This was amazing,” Carrie said. “Leymah is just a world-changer. “What she has done for a country we are trying to do for this little city. This is our first year (with Peace Jam), and I suspect it will be the first of many.”