August 8, 2005

Birthday party for missing hero for sixty years

A birthday celebration to commemorate the 93rd anniversary of Raoul Wallenberg was organized by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation at the Playground named after the Swedish diplomat, located at Amsterdam Avenue and 189th Street in New York.

Neighborhood kids learned about the hero after whom the playground was named in a family oriented event that included storytelling, music, arts and crafts and face painting.

An activity booklet described Wallenberg’s deeds and illustrated the Schultz-pass he created to save tens of thousands during WWII. Children were asked to Color the protective passport in blue and yellow, the colors of the Swedish flag, as well as to compare super heroes from real life heroes.

Raoul Wallenberg’s story was narrated to the kids by Abigail Tenembaum, vice president of the IRWF, and a contest to draw Wallenberg portraits and the children’s own real life heroes was launched.

The celebration ended with the children tying yellow ribbons around a tree. Yellow Ribbons are tied around trees for people who are missing. They symbolize hope that they return home.

Parents and family members were also included in the celebration and were eager to sign the signature campaign to find out the destiny of the Swedish diplomat after learning about Raoul Wallenberg’s heroic actions.

Adam and Matthew Ruddy volunteered to play percussion instruments during the event, giving a great rhythm to the afternoon. The neighborhood children joined them to form an impromptu mini-band.(