YMCA Peace Week group of people smiling

Peace Week

YMCA Peace Week

November 16-23, 2024

YMCA Peace Week celebrates the presence of peace in our local and global communities. 

Throughout the week, YMCAs across Canada promote ways we can build peace, and highlight the peace-building work that happens all year round, both inside and outside the YMCA. The Y is dedicated to building healthy communities, and peace is fundamental to strong, happy and healthy communities.

When people act for peace, they build community by promoting a sense of belonging, fostering empathy, and embracing diversity.

An additional way we celebrate Peace Week is our Peace Medal, which is awarded to a local peacemaker every November.

Peace Week Acronym: Participation, Empathy, Advocacy, Community, Empowerment

"We all have opportunities each day to choose to act for peace. They may be small actions, but they make a big difference and create a ripple effect through our community."

YMCA Peace Medal: celebrating local peacemakers

During Peace Week, YMCAs across Canada award Peace Medals to individuals and groups who, without any special resources, status, wealth or position, have demonstrated a commitment to building peace within their community or communities elsewhere in the world. 

Peace Medal recipients can be artists, environmentalists, activists, parents, students, community groups and so on. What they all have in common is that they enthusiastically contribute their time and talent to making local and global communities more peaceful places to live.  When people are included in their communities and have opportunities to be heard, contribute and shape the way things work, they tend to relate peacefully with others.

Acts for peace tend to grow outward, creating ripples through the whole community. Peacemakers challenge and inspire others to pursue acts for peace. An act for peace may affect only one person directly — but it may show many more people what’s possible. 

…Peace has many dimensions. It is not only a state of relationships among nations. We cannot expect to live in a world of peace if we are unable to live in peace with those close to us – even those who differ from us….The responsibility for peace begins with each person, in relationship with family and friends, and extends to community life and national activities…

Nominate a Peacemaker

Do you know someone or an organization that deserves this award? 

Nominate them by downloading the form below and submitting your completed nomination to communications@osgb.ymca.ca.

Your nomination will be reviewed by our Peace Medal Committee, following these principals:

  • Nominations should focus on activities that have taken place within the last two years
  • YMCA staff members are not eligible for nomination
  • Professionals who are paid to do peacemaking work are not eligible for nomination
  • Self-nominations will not be considered
  • Nominees should embody our PEACE values: Participation, Empathy, Advocacy, Community and Empowerment

Nominations open in September, stay tuned for the nomination form. 

Past Winners

The 2023 YMCA Peace Medal was awarded posthumously to Sharif Rahman for his exceptional contributions to peace-building within the community and beyond. Despite his passing in August 2023, Sharif’s legacy continues to resonate with those who knew him. Read more…

The 2022 YMCA Peace Medal was awarded to Lynn Silverton for being an inclusive community leader who identifies and shares community-building tasks, challenges, and opportunities rather than hoarding them. Her “You can help” message is inspiring as it reinforces the idea that we all own the pursuit of solutions to community problems. Read more here: www.ymcaowensound.on.ca/2022-peace-medallion-recipient-is-announced

The 2021 YMCA Peace Medal was awarded to Susan Staves individually for being a driving force, founding member, and committee chair and the Gitche Namewikwedong Reconciliation Garden Project Committee for creating a place to recognize and celebrate Indigenous peoples in Grey and Bruce.

Co-recipient of the 2021 Peace Medal was Aly Boltman and the Potter’s Field Monument Volunteer Steering Committee for giving a priceless gift to families of the interned at Potter’s Field in Greenwood Cemetery in the form of a monument which reflects on the historic connections of the Underground Railroad (UGRR) to Owen Sound.

Watch a video of the medal ceremony here: https://youtu.be/K2xFyFW48iA

The 2020 YMCA Peace Medal was awarded to Jillian Lyman, organizer of the Owen Sound Solidarity March for the Black Lives Matter movement. Congratulations Jillian! 

Watch a video of her medal ceremony here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=354voZTt7hw

For inspiring transformative learning and change through interactive theatre, while bringing awareness of social issues to allow disenfranchised children and adults to be “heard” and “feel included” in society.

“We will walk in prayer for those murdered women.”

A grassroots Indigenous-led action and response to the murders and disappearances of Indigenous women, girls and future generations. The Prayer walkers have been led by E Naad Maa Get (Branden Emmerson), Niibin Kegadonce (Tianna Fillo) (Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation) and Jacqueline Hines (Pennsylvania) while Carlene Keeshig provides strategic support in Neyaashiinigmiing.

For their devotion and commitment to advocating mental health with a mission to raise awareness, reduce stigma and be welcoming to all.

For her life’s work fostering healing, forgiveness and inclusion in our communities, brining together people of all nations to promote peace. 

For her dedication to raising awareness of critical issues such as violence against women, and taking on a leadership role in building a stronger community.

Joan Beercroft: For her support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer (known as LGBTQ) community across Grey and Bruce counties.

Dr. Donald Willmott: For his lifelong commitment to, and involvement in, the practice of peace.

For his unfailing commitment and dedication towards ending violence against women.

For his tireless efforts to build a peaceful and just community, free from gender-based violence, discrimination and social justice.

For her exceptional ability to create peace and harmony in the lives of all she’s involved with through her volunteer work, role modelling and leadership.

For providing a safe place to explore diversity, inclusion and ways to end discrimination, and for exemplifying respect, care, peace and inclusivity.

For her personal commitment to achieving peace, equal opportunity and the best for her community and students.

For her educational involvement of students in peace related activities, as well as being involved in Grey-Bruce Coalition for Peace and Justice.

For his lifelong dedication to furthering the cause of peace.

For his commitment to brining the message of peace to the community of Kincardine.

(Marg Capel, Wendy Woodhouse, Kerry Lee, Julie Rice)

For their efforts in building a Labyrinth, designed as a multi-faith tool and permanent place for individuals to find personal peace, as well as providing a place where bridges of understanding can be built.

For raising awareness and delivering special activities that promote peace and understanding among students in OSCVI and West Hill High School.

For her leadership and work on school-based Restorative Justice Measures for the Bluewater District School Board.

For their work in support of women and children in crisis from domestic violence.

For their work in making school communities more accepting, more just and more peaceful.

For his efforts on behalf of the Youth Justice Circle Program in Grey and Bruce counties. A program that recognizes that alternatives to youth court provide an opportunity for young persons to become accountable for their behaviour and for the healing of their victims and of community relationships. 

(Doris Arnold, Cathy Hird, Joachim Ostertag, Colleen Purdon, Ann Schneider, Charlotte Lehmann, Michael McLuhan)

For their work in promoting peace rather than war as a resolution to problems in Iraq.

For his work with the Men’s Program (Grey Bruce) to end domestic violence in families and violence against women.

For their efforts in creating a peaceful learning environment through the implementation of the Virtues Program, that encourages us to live by our virtues, remembering that we are people of kindness, justice and courage.

For his work as a peacemaker within the school system through the implementation of a program that encourages peaceful co-existence and creates a learning environment that is safe and supportive for all.

For her work in mediation and public education on peaceful means of conflict resolution.

For their work in developing international understanding and promoting peace in the community.

For their work on nuclear disarmament.

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