Peacemakers Cody and Cortney Southerland of Special Kneads and Treats

Our final group of 2018 campers departed an hour ago – heading back to their homes in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Ohio. We cheered loudly for each other as each name was called at our graduation ceremony. 18 of these 20 campers are returners – some for a third year! Then the kids exchanged contact info, signed each other’s t-shirts, and said sad goodbyes.

But Peacebuilders Camp is not over for this group. They each applied to Session Three with the hope of becoming part of Peacebuilders’ first ever PeaceJam Team. All week, campers have been working on designing an 8-month social justice project that they will present to a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and teens from across the southeast at the 2019 PeaceJam Conference in Tallahassee, Florida. In the time between now and April, campers will be collaborating on a creating a Toolkit for Change that they hope will inspire other young people to advocate for justice.

I invite you to read about their project here!

Courtney and Cody Southerland (3rd and 4th from the left) with campers Jorryn, Alex, and Zora

Their work for justice is inspired by the many peacemakers who come to camp to share their work, passion, and committment to justice. Our guests this week included bakers from Special Kneads and Treats in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Though baking and cake-decorating on its surface may not sound radical – the mission of Special Kneads and Treats is! In starting the bakery, the founders sought to counteract two injustices they saw in their community: (1) not enough jobs with dignity for adults with disabilities and (2) many children and seniors with not enough resources to even have a cake on their birthday.

Today, Special Kneads and Treats is a full service bakery that employs over 20 adults with disabilities who bake and decorate cakes and other treats. One important mission of the bakery is to donate hundreds of cakes to people with limited financial resources. There is so much excitement about Special Kneads that they have a waiting list of over 175 people with disabilties seeking to work on the team.

Two bakers from Special Kneads, siblings Cody and Courtney Southerland, spent an afternoon with our campers exploring the right of the day, that “everyone has the right to work, to just and favourable conditions of work, and the right to equal pay for equal work.” Courtney and Cody taught our campers the skill of cake-decorating and our group produced six beautiful cakes!

Campers Patrick and Bryn decorating a cake for Cafe Campesino

Then in small groups, we delivered our cakes to the wider community. One went to the Koinonia Farm community as a thank you for their hospitality and kindness this week. Another went to Cafe Campesino, a huge supporter of Peacebuilders Camp that also does work for the right to equal pay. A third group of campers brought a cake to the United Methodist Childrens Home in Americus where a young girl was having a birthday. She was so delighted by her cake that she gave it a hug! And the final cakes were delivered to seniors celebrating July birthdays at Magnolia Manor and Innovative Senior Solutions, both a couple miles from Koinonia Farm.

It was fun to see first hand how much skill goes into decorating these cakes, and how much joy a birthday cake can bring to someone’s life!

A huge thank you goes out to Special Kneads and Treats and the Southerland family for not only taking off work to spend the day with us, but providing all the cakes, plus 60 cupcakes, and everything necessary to decorate the treats!

Here are some more pictures from the day:

Cody teaches us about cake-decorating
Campers Alex, Jorryn, and Zora decorating a cake for Koinonia Farm
Campers Crespo and Jubilee working hard at detailing their cake
Campers Maha and Farzana enjoying cupcakes
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What are You Waiting For?

Join us for Peacebuilders Evening Camp in Atlanta! We’re taking the excitement of Peacebuilders summer camp and bringing it closer to home for those in and around the metro Atlanta area. You’ll learn the basics of human rights and discover how you can work to make change in the Atlanta community. Get ready to make new friends, share your ideas, and meet inspiring people who are creating hope and standing up for justice! Let’s get started building peace in our world!