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Herald Neighbors

A positive piece for peace

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When her friend, Taliyah Baptiste, 9, was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG, a rare tumor that forms at the base of the brain, fourth-grader Laiyla Salome-Diaz,9, of New Visions Schools drew a picture of her and their friends at school and quoted Gandhi: “I offer you peace, I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings.”

Laiyla submitted the picture to the Shanti Foundation art contest in hopes of winning a cash prize to donate to her friend’s medical expense fund and won. On April 4, she was honored at the annual Shanti Foundation Peace Artwork Contest Luncheon held at Stonebridge Country Club in Hauppauge. Her piece depicted peace and reflected the beliefs of Mahatma Gandhi.

The picture she wrote to the foundation was dedicated to Taliyah, “So she knows she is not alone.”

Students from first to 12 grades submitted hundreds of artworks, but only 12 peace posters were selected for the Shanti Foundation Peace Art calendar and Laiyla won this prestigious award from among all fourth-grade students in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Laiyla was also awarded a check for $401, which she donated Taliyah and her family to help defray medical expenses. She also said she hopes, “that this picture shows that anyone can help a friend and offer peace, love, friendship, beauty and help those in need.”

The Shanti Foundation volunteers collaborate with local schools to promote values of peace and nonviolence, as practiced and promoted by world leaders.