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Peacewords Foundation
Tribute to Jacob Riis

Peacewords Tribute to Jacob RiisOn June 29, 2006 two students from the Immaculate Conception Aquinas Honor Society, in Jamaica Estates, NY embarked on a thrilling weeklong adventure to Denmark. Derek Netto (Eighth Grader) and Tashanie Narain (former ICS graduate and Sophomore at Mary Louis Academy) were sent as Peacewords Ambassadors (www.peacewords.org) and representatives of the ICS Aquinas Honor Society and the Richmond Hill Historical Society.

The Aquinas Honor Society was presented with a $10,000 grant by the Peacewords Foundation to write a children's book about Jacob Riis and the result was the newly published "Jacob's Pictures".

The students flew to Ribe, Denmark the birthplace of their Peacewords Hero Jacob Riis (America's great Social Reformer, author and Photojournalist). The students presented a copy of their book along with a copy of the Richmond Hill Historical Society book and an original drawing by artist Kem Boatwright who drew the cover illustration of Jacob's Pictures to the Mayor of Ribe, to the noted Danish author Tom Buk-Swienty, American Ambassador to Denmark James Cain and to Her Royal Highness Princess Benedickte of Denmark.

Read the speech given by the students at the Ribe Reception

The students were given tours of Ribe and were able to vist the birthplace of Jacob Riis. They were also invited to the unveiling of a new monument to Jacob Riis.

The students gave speeches to the Town Council of Ribe and presented the town with a copy of their book. A print of the drawing by Artist Kem Boatwright was presented to the Ribe Art Museum.

Through a generous donation by Peter and Beth Cook of Marshfield. MA the students were able to spend an entire day touring the sights of Copenhagen and the Island of Mando.

It was a wonderful adventure and the students made us all very proud!

Respectfully, Carl Ballenas, Aquinas Moderator.


Student Speech

Good Evening honorable mayor of Ribe, members of the Peacewords Foundation, the Jacob Riis Settlement House, and beloved citizens of Ribe! I am Tashanie Narain, student ambassador for the Peacewords Foundation, and this is fellow student ambassador, Derek Netto.

We, as members of the Aquinas Honors Society, were inspired by our hero, Jacob Riis, who left Denmark, came to America, and changed the lives of all Americans, with his eye opening photographs, his most famous book, How the Other Half Lives and his courageous reforms. To continue Jacob's work, we participated in a youth service project and wrote this book, Jacob's Pictures, about our hero. We used the same basic tools that Jacob used, a camera and a pen. Another goal we have, is to get an American postage stamp, commemorating the work of our hero, so we're seeking your support. Our journey has not ended, this is only the beginning. So thank you and now, Derek Netto.

Good evening! The legacy of Jacob Riis has passed on to another generation. At this time the Aquinas Honor Society has been awarded a $4,500 grant from the Alive in Hope Foundation to write another children's book that will tell the story of how Jacob Riis brought the tradition of singing Christmas Caroling to America. He began this tradition in the town of Richmond Hill, New York.

Thank you Denmark for sharing Jacob Riis with us.

Read more about Jacob Riis here.


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Available Books:
Book Cover - Images of America - Richmond HillImages of America Richmond Hill - The Richmond Hill Historical Society with authors Carl Ballenas and Nancy Cataldi have written this comprehensive book on the history of Richmond Hill. Read more about this book and how to purchase it for your collection.

Book Cover - Richmond Hill - A Children's Tale and Coloring BookRichmond Hill A Children's Tale and Coloring Book - Author Carl Ballenas created a coloring book on the history of Richmond Hill including rare photos, text and stories. What better way to enjoy while learning and appreciating our community. Read more about this book and how to purchase it for your collection.

Special Features:

victorian richmond hillA Slideshow of Victorian Richmond Hill - Thanks to Joseph DeMay, Jr. for his enormous contribution in creating this fascinating slideshow of images that show many locations of early Richmond Hill from the turn of the 19th century along side its corresponding present day image from 2003. View and enjoy the slideshow here.


Maple Grove Cemetery Walking Tour"Celebrating the Living Spirit" - Thanks to Joseph DeMay, Jr. for creating this slideshow of the Walking Tour at Maple Grove Cemetery, where students portrayed the notable people who have been laid to rest at this historic cemetery. View and enjoy the slideshow here.


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