by Lynn Sableman
WILPFstlouis members, Judy Davis and Lynn Sableman, met Kamryn Moore at the Garden Cafe in Webster Groves for the long awaited meeting with our prospective WILPFstlouis intern.
She is a senior at Webster University with a major in Human Rights. Judy and I chatted a bit about how to explain the task we proposed to the intern: distributing 100 Peace Essay Contest flyers electronically, to 100 Missouri high school junior classes. We were sitting outside at a table with an inadequate umbrella shading parts of our meeting space. Judy impressed me with the statement that strongly advocates for WILPF , “People need hope.” We read every day about challenges to human existence globally and at home and no one, no leaders are adequately focusing on these dire problems, many of which are caused by the United States. It raises the blood pressure and causes sleepless nights. Big oil is getting subsidized, the Saudi’s and OPEC are pumping away. We are oil independent now but still not demanding polluters clean up after themselves. While we should be pouring dollars into researching and developing clean green energy.
Still early for Kamryn’s arrival, I mentioned to Judy that she should stop me from explaining what WILPF does in my “ fire hose” fashion. Judy agreed to lead the conversation. Just before Kamryn arrived we were discussing Judy’s template system of grading the essays impartially, when Judy jumped out of her seat as if stung by a bee and muttered “figs!”figs”several times pointing to a planter behind me. Sure enough the small fig tree was heavy laden with huge racquetball size ripe red brown figs and quite a few had already dropped onto the pavement below. She gathered a few. This portends well for our meeting, I thought.
Kamryn cheerily joined us for coffee and kept us enthralled with her life’s story. She comes from a small town, called Pontiac, an hour south of Chicago. She is the first in her family to attend college. Her parents are blue collar, mother a cafeteria worker and father cuts down trees. Kamryn’s journey to Human Rights scholar began when she was 12 years old and discovered CNN. Then in high school she took an interest in Tuesday’s Rotarian Lunches and learned about their world traveler program. She worked two years on applications to take a year abroad. Her larger challenge came from surmounting opposition at home. Her competitors all desired a familiar English speaking country assignment. They all were given 40 countries from which to select Kamryn indicated the more exotic the better and won a spot either in Brazil or in Istanbul. Turkey was her choice. Brazil was ruled out because their school year was opposite ours and would result in her losing a year of high school and having to make up in the fifth year. Two weeks before leaving she learned the July 2016 coup had erupted in Turkey and back she went to the drawing board. She ended up in Thailand, she was able to stay conveniently with the same host family for 12 months and could walk to school and hitch a ride weekends to teach English in the mountains near Chang Rie, the smaller of the big cities.
Last year Kamryn volunteered at the International Institute in the “teen” department. Kamryn’s insight after working with immigrants, knowing how uncomfortable foreign things can be awkward at first, set the stage for revising the Peace Essay. Kamryn knows about some teens feeling passionately about peace but not feeling comfortable writing an essay. She offered to retype the contest flyer with the following corrections: essays are submitted by email and postal mail, can take the widest of forms, video, graphic novel style, any art form as well as natural essay writing.
The contest starts November 1,2021 World Peace Day and ends March 8, International Women’s Day 2022.
There may be an exhibit in the Hall of Nations at the International Institute. Who knows what could grow from this endeavor as Kamryn is a university marketing and social media titan. Good Luck and God Speed.