Thank you to all of the sponsors, guests, award recipients, donors, and volunteers who made the event such a successful and festive celebration.

The WDRC empowers thousands of people annually to resolve conflict, build skills, and know that day by day, it gets better. Thanks to the support of sponsors, donors, and guests, the event raised almost $65,000 Funds raised at our Gala help families:

  • Create parenting plans to bring their children out of limbo
  • Work with banks to save homes from foreclosure
  • Improve their communication to preserve relationships

Here are three ways that you can share the celebrations:

2016 Peace Builder Award Recipients

  • Lummi Nation, Transforming Justice Award
  • Bellingham Peace Vigil, Community Award 
  • Jeff McKenna, MAD-HOPE, Youth Education Award
  • Brad Lockhart, Bellingham Flag, Arts Award 
  • Star Park Playground Project, City of Ferndale, Collaboration Award
  • Eric Brown, Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition, Environment Award
  • Rick Qualls, Fountain Community Church, Volunteer Award 
  • Katherine and Sapphire Orlowski, Creative Conflict Resolution Award

2016 Peace Builder Award Recepient Videos, created and donated by the City of Bellingham BTV Channel 10

Katherine and Sapphire, 2016 Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center Creative Conflict Resolution Peace Builder Award

The Bellingham Peace Vigil, 2016 Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center Community Peace Builder Award 

Rick Qualls (Samish Way Coalition), 2016 Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center Volunteer Peace Builder Award

The Star Park Project (City of Ferndale), 2016 Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center Collaboration Peace Builder Award

Eric Brown, 2016 Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center Environment Peace Builder Award

Jeff McKenna, 2016 Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center Education Peace Builder Award

Bard Lockhart, 2016 Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center Arts Peace Builder Award

Lummi Nation, 2016 Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center Transforming Justice Peace Builder Award

2015 Peace Builder Award Winners on BTV

2015 Peaceful Poetry Youth Contest Winners

We cannot imagine a peaceful future without the celebrating the contributions of our youngest peace builders. Each year, youth across Whatcom County submit peaceful poems and our panel carefully selects winners. Congratulations to our 2015 Peaceful Poetry Youth Contest Winners:

Beckett Ferry, age 6, grade 1, Cedar Tree Montessori

Ella Thompson, age 10, grade 5, Wade King Elementary

Thu Ton, age 16, grade 11, Squalicum High School

Matt Carpenter, age 17, grade 12, Lynden High School


Short videos of each winner, as well as a video of the entire event, created by Bellingham TV Channel 10 can be found at

a friend

what a friend
is. is much more
than you know.
because it’s more
precious than gold,
it’s hard to find,
but easy to lose.
a friend is a friend
no matter what color
skin it has, it doesn’t
matter what its name
is. a friend.
— Beckett Ferry

Elise’s Quest

There once was an owl whose name was Elise,
And every day she wished for peace.
But the creatures just fought over who would be king.
“I am much better, since you cannot sing,”
The songbirds would twitter, the foxes would shriek,
And oh, what a terrible havoc they’d wreak!
“I’m king,” said the chipmunk, “I’m cuter and quicker!”
Said rabbit, “You make too much acorn shell litter.”
So heart filled with sadness, away flew Elise,
To search for the secret of animal peace.
She traveled to India, China and Greece.
On her journey she met a wise tortoise named Ping,
Who told her the secret: “Elise is the king!”
She felt so confused as homeward she wandered,
Over Paris, and London, she flew and she pondered.
Through forests and deserts, past mountains she roamed,
‘Til finally she understood as she reached home.
Elise told the creatures “You all are the kings,
Of beautiful, great, and magnificent things.
Squirrel is ruler of treetops so green,
Eagle’s wide wings are the greatest we’ve seen,
Bear is so strong and can catch many fish,
Hummingbird’s pretty, with wings blue-greenish.
We all are unique, though we’re just you and me
We all are so special! We just need to see!”
When each animal saw the king in the others,
They learned to be friends just like sisters and brothers.
So now in the forest peace would always reign.
And Elise? Now that owl is happy again.
— Ella Thompson

The Lost Years

There was a time
When school made me fearful
When I was the new kid
The girl who was different.

There was a time
When English was a challenge
When I missed all my friends
The ones from my home.

There was a time
When people embraced me
When they led me through school
The ones I now love.

Now it is time
To help that one girl
The one who looks lost
The one who’ll be found.
— Thu Ton

The Life We Deserve

The faces that pass us by are all the same to us
We think very little of who they are or where they’ve been,
We just notice what it all came down to in the end.
We never see change,
We only see the changed.
Judging them silently,
Making up stories of how they passed or failed but never reasons why.
The thing we all should know and understand,
Is that it gets better over time.
After all,
It’s always the darkest before the dawn.
You’re more than just another face.
This is your story,
Your time and place.
Why waste it all for feelings that can be replaced?
When you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel,
You have to wait for the next turn.
After you get through all these struggles,
You can finally live the life you’ve earned.
— Matt Carpenter