Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.

When children spread peace, it somehow seems extra special.

So when students from Spruce Tree Montessori School dropped off a pile of peace messages at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner last month, I shared those handcrafted messages with everyone in the building.

The News-Miner wasn’t the only lucky recipient. About 20 businesses got a special visit from these peace ambassadors.

It all started at the school’s playground, where everyone gathered in a circle and sang “Come Join the Circle.” The school then implemented its plan to celebrate International Day of Peace. It’s an annual project. In past years, students participated in the Peace Crane Project, exchanging cranes/doves/hearts with schools across the country and around the world. Two years ago, these students sent cranes to a Montessori school in Italy. Each item shared a message of peace.

This year, school leaders decided to stay local and focus on their neighbors. One elementary classroom created the peace-themed origami paper with messages or images of peace. Then other students, ages 3-6, helped decorate the papers and fold them into origami hearts and doves.

Then, the students put on their jackets and headed out from the school, which is housed in the historic Fairbanks Railroad Depot, to deliver their special messages. These lucky businesses got a visit: The Fudge Pot, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, JD Styles, Garden Deli, The Diner, Key Bank, Denali State Bank, Doyon, Sew and Sew, The Alaska Courthouse, Marriott Springhill Suites, Johnson River Enterprises and 3-Tier Alaska.

“All of us agreed it was a great idea and tie-in for connecting with our neighbors and offering kindness,” said Sabrina Binkley, leader and founder of the school.

Playground boost

The Fairbanks Kiwanis Clubs recently received a $3,500 grant from the Pacific Northwest Kiwanis Foundation for their Kiwanis Centennial Playground.

This playground will provide a handicapped-accessible playground at Tanana Lakes Recreation Area, suitable for ages 3-12 and their caregivers. The playground equipment will be on a safe surface so if kids fall, they do not get seriously injured.

The Fairbanks clubs have reached almost half of the $135,375 required to purchase and install the playground. Additional contributions are needed. Tax deductible contribution can be made online at or call Sue Renes at 907-750-3235.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Call her at the office 459-7546. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris