Peace Sponsor Spotlight
Peace Sponsor — February-March 2013
(& Summer 2013 Update Honoree!)
Peace Sponsor Spotlight Honoree
Woodland Hills, California
Lulu Cerone has been selected by Mattie’s Foundation as a “Summer Spotlight Update” honoree. Each summer, we update some of our Spotlight Honorees from across the previous year, selecting those individuals, families, and organizations who have continued to make deliberate choices that spread peace in our world.
Lulu is an amazing Global Teen Leader who works on clean water projects (and more) for global citizens in need. After learning about Mattie during the 2012 Just Peace Summit (hosted by the We Are Family Foundation), she chose to support Mattie’s Foundation by becoming a Peace Club Teen and participating in our Teen Peace Journey. After being celebrated as a Peace Spotlight early in 2013, she raised $500 for the peace activities of Mattie’s Foundation. Now, as her Spotlight honor is being updated, Lulu has chosen make her “LemonAID Warriors” the first non-profit organization to be Peace Certified by Mattie’s Foundation.
Lulu Cerone’s original Spotlight feature is below on this page.
Visit our Peace Journey Teens and Peace Certification pages
to read more about Lulu’s peace work with Mattie’s Foundation.
Visit www.LemonAIDWarriors.com for more AMAZING information!
Lulu’s Original Spotlight Feature:
Mattie said that we must ”choose to see possibilities — tasks, chores, sharing, even donations of money, time, energy, and other resources — as opportunities to make a difference.” He also said that “personal peace begins within each of us when our needs are met, but world peace begins when we reach beyond ourselves, and consider and tend to the needs of others.” When we support the needs of others — whether that is through time or talent or treasure or a combination — we become a sponsor for peace.
Lulu Cerone realized at a young age that she could “combine passions,” and in doing so, celebrate the things she enjoyed while also reaching out to help others celebrate life as well. By age 10, Lulu was not only considering others, she was also raising funds and sponsoring projects that tended to basic human needs on an international level. As the founder and director of LemonAID Warriors, Lulu seeks and makes and brings peace to people in need, and sponsors wells and clean water and more for people affected by natural disaster or poverty in countries around the world. By age 12, Lulu was accepted as a Three Dot Dash 2012 Global Teen Leader.
After learning about Mattie and his peace message during the 2012 Just Peace Summit, Lulu chose to become a member of Mattie’s Peace Club Teens – and she became our very first Teen Peace Ambassador when she completed her Teen Peace Journey on Mattie’s birthday! Recently, Lulu began trying out her voice as a radio show host on a new “Life with Lulu” program. She never misses an opportunity to introduce children, teens, or adults to Mattie’s life story and the message of hope and peace he offered the world, and has even nominated him for posthumous honors. Now, as we celebrate teens who are learning more about the message Mattie shared so that they can serve as role models for peace, the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation honors Lulu Cerone as our Peace Sponsr Spotlight Honoree for our February-March post.
NOTE: Lulu is a 2012 Global Teen Leader through the WAFF Three Dot Dash (3DD) Initiative. She is one of the nearly 150 teens who are currently a part of this international peace project. The anchor event for 3DD is the Just Peace Summit, which is based on Mattie’s “Just Peace: A Message of Hope” book, in which he writes that peace is possible if the basic needs of all humans are tended to and met in an equitable way. The Just Peace Summit is an annual event, during which 30 teens selected from around the world gather for an intense, weeklong training and networking opportunity, followed by a year of peace efforts as a Global Teen Leader with the support of a mentor.
Below are Lulu’s responses
to our interview questions.
What would you like to share about yourself?
My name is Lulu Cerone and I just turned 14 years old. I am an ordinary girl who has a lot of hobbies and passions.
Music is probably my biggest obsession. I play many instruments (piano, drums, guitar/ukulele), and I have been in rock bands since I was 8 years old. I believe in the power of music to heal and to unite. My favorite musicians are some of the world’s most important philanthropists.
In addition to music, I am passionate about writing, technology, and party planning (I started with my crazy party ideas in pre-school). BUT — when I was 10 years old, I discovered that I could combine my passions to create actual change in the world.
I realized, even as a child, that I already had what it takes to make a big impact on a local and global level. And it didn’t feel like work because I just did the things I was already doing, and used the skills I already had.
For example, I play in a few bands and I am constantly booking us at charity events. The songs we write that are sold on iTunes all go to my water charity.
I now mentor bands on how they can turn every one of their concerts into an opportuinty to give. Once you start, especially if you start young, then giving becomes a part of everything you do forever.
It has become my mission to lead by example and also to mentor kids to do the same thing. It is easier than you think to make “giving” a part of your everyday life. I now have a radio show and a web series that spotlights young philanthropists to give their work a platform and inspire others. I also interview local musicians to play live, in-studio, and to talk about their philanthropic work. If they don’t have a cause, I am happy to help them find one!
It is my dream to spread this message of combining passions and peace to everyone, and to give them ideas about how to do this. And since learning about Mattie life and writings, I am now driven by his quote ”Peace is possible when basic human needs are met.”
Tell us a bit about your peace work.
I started LemonAID Warriors to unite kids in my community to use their own creativity and skills to create global and local change. Through events I call PhilanthroParties, we raise funds and awareness for causes that touch our hearts.
My personal passion is providing sustainable water solutions to people in remote areas of Africa. But I mentor my Warriors to find a cause that resonates with them, and I help them find their personal passion and together we create customized PhilanthroParties for their causes, too.
As I said, I am driven by Mattie’s quote “Peace is possible when basic human needs are met.” What is more basic than the human need for water? I had worked for many causes in my life, but when I researched the water crisis in Africa and realized that millions of people are without that basic need, I knew I wanted to focus my personal efforts on solving this problem.
The solutions for balancing water needs for all people are not complicated. The water is often only 60 below ground level. A simple bio sand filter or a rain catchment tank can be cheaply produced by the villagers and serve a community for 30 years. I realized that it was possible for me, a kid, to raise enough money to change lives forever by sponsoring these filters and tanks for people in need. AND, we could have fun doing it.
I created a series of water-themed birthday parties to raise money and awareness, and then convinced people (including children) to accept donations instead of presents. My own birthday party was a WaterWalk – we all carried jugs of water on our heads for 2 miles down our main street. Shops along the way set up lemonade stands or sold lemon themed items for my cause. This activity grew and grew and has now become a huge community event.
Eventually, other kids were having water themed parties, too. For some parties, we collected dirty water from a local source, purified it, and made “Swamp-tinis” and had a “dirty-water-dare” to see who was brave enough to drink it.
We had pool parties and dunk tanks and because I am a musician, I made sure to combine that passion, too. Kid bands volunteered to entertain at these parties. Then big name bands also offered to participate when they heard about our work.
The band The Good Mad played in my yard for my friend’s birthday, which was called a PhilanthroParty. And the band HANSON found out about my work and played at my Give A Dam concert along with local kid musicians. We raised enough money at that concert to complete funding a dam in Kenya.
Across time, I convinced my class and then my school to have PhilanthroParties whenever there was a gathering. People brought canned goods to sleepovers, or footballs to be donated to a boys home for Super Bowl parties. Classrooms adopted my Crazy Can Carnival idea to help the food bank. It was insane. And FUN. And contagious.
It all began with selling lemonaid to raise funds for others in need of clean water. And then it grew. My LemonAId Warriors have raised $30,000 for my water work in Haiti and in African countries, and $7,000 for other causes, and more than 1,200 cans for the food pantry in just three years.
As my peace mission grows, I have been working closely with Blood:Water Mission – my partners in Africa. They have taught me so much about Africa and about event planning, and they have given me so many ideas and supported all of my crazy plans. They are an organization that supports their supporters. They educate us, and empower us, just like they do to the communities in Africa. They have become my family.
How did you learn about Mattie and our Foundation?
I learned about Mattie at the 2012 Just Peace Summit. Mattie had such a huge impact on the world in his short 13 years. I was just turning 13 when I learned about him, and I felt like, “If he can do it, I can do it!”
I also think that Mattie is responsible for letting the world know that a kid has the power to change the world. The world takes kids more seriously now, since seeing how Mattie effected us all through his advocacy work. Mattie is my ultimate mentor. So, Mattie’s quote about peace and balancing basic human needs drives my work and passion. Mattie’s effect as a mentor for me then drives my work as a mentor for other kids.
Why did you choose to join Mattie’s Peace Club Teens?
I chose to be a Peace Club Teen and take the Peace Journey because I believe in Jeni! She guided her son, my hero, to take his gifts and share them with the world. If her guidance worked for Mattie, then I’d be crazy not to take advantage of her program!
I was a Global Teen Leader at the We Are Family Foundation’s Just Peace Summit in 2012. I spent a week with Jeni. She became my Mama Peace (as she is to all the other Global Teen Leaders). At the end of the week, I felt I had so much more to learn from her. So I became a Peace Club Teen and I think I was the first to take the Peace Journey.
Here is the lesson I learned from the Peace Journey. The activity required me to take time to reflect on what I had done in the past, and on what I was doing in the present — for peace. I had been so busy preparing and planning and doing for so many years, that I never stopped to think about how my work added up, and how it was affecting me, and who I was as a person.
I am still not very good at seeing that. It’s hard to see who I am. But the Peace Journey through Mattie’s “Three Choices for Peace” made me start asking questions about myself, even if I don’t really have the answers yet.
I have no idea what I want to be! It changes all the time, and I am interested in so many things. I can’t imagine my life without music, and so many amazing change makers and philanthropists — like Nile Rodgers who founded the We Are Family Foundation — are musicians. It would be my dream to combine my two passions, like Nile does.
Any other thoughts you would like to share?
I feel so blessed to be recognized as a Peace Sponsor. Even though the work I do in Africa and Haiti and in my local community is important, there is more to it than the actual money raised and the actual work that gets done. Being recognized as a person of peace makes me look at my efforts deeper, to see how these projects are also changing me and my LemonAID Warriors.
Jeni just taught me that who I have become, and who “I am” as a result of doing this work, is important, too. Did this work change me and my Warriors? Did it make us more peaceful and kind as people. Can we carry that peace and kindness with us as part of our character every second of the day, even when we are not working on projects? This kind of lesson is really personal, and Jeni makes me feel like it is the most important part of my work.
Reflecting one who I am, today and in the future, is not the part of my effort that is going to get attention.Being quietly peaceful, and being kind to others beyond my peace project, doesn’t get on the cover of magazines and on TV shows like the attention I get for the flashier work I do for LemonAID Warriors. But this quieter simpler accomplishment is what would have made Mattie happiest. Here at MattieOnline.com, I am very proud to get recognition for the deeper, quieter accomplishments that being a peace bringer has given me.
Thank you, Lulu,
for being a Peace Sponsor.
Click on these links to learn more about Lulu’s peace activities:
VIDEO LINKS to Lulu’s work and interviews –