YMCA Peace Week celebrates the presence of peace in our local and global communities. Throughout the Week, YMCAs across the country promote ways we can build peace, and highlight the peace-building work that happens all year round, both inside and outside the YMCA.
This year YMCA Peace Week will be celebrated November 16 to 23.
“…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…” — YMCA Statement of Peace, World Alliance of YMCAs, 1981
About YMCA Peace Week
For 30 years, YMCA Peace Week has offered activities to help children, youth and adults explore peace from a personal, local and global perspective. During YMCA Peace Week, we encourage people to build community and act for peace. When we act for peace, we come together to help build a stronger and healthier community by promoting a sense of belonging, fostering empathy, embracing pluralism and addressing the social determinants of health.
The YMCA Peace Medallion, introduced in 1987, offers a reminder that it is possible to build a more peaceful world, community by community, and that everyone can be engaged in these efforts. By highlighting peace concerns and celebrating others who share these values and are engaged in similar work, we remind the wider community that these concerns are a core part of the YMCA’s work. As part of Peace Week, the YMCA awards Peace Medallions to remarkable individuals or groups who, without any special resources, status, wealth or position, have demonstrated a commitment to building peace within their community or in communities elsewhere in the world. Peace Medallion recipients can be parents, students, community groups, people who have given freely of their time and talent to make local and global communities more peaceful places to live.
Past Peace Medal Recipients
2018 – Marty Mako: Recipient of the 2018 Peace Award for his work with a variety of community organizations including YMCA Strong Kids, The United Way, Big Brothers / Big Sisters, Out of the Cold, the City of St. Catharines Heritage Committee and the Lincoln County Humane Society.
2017 – Greg Wierzcholski: Recipient of the 2017 Peace Award for his work with Niagara Conservatory of Music. Greg launched the Music Gives Movement program in 2015 to help low-income families across Niagara keep their children in music that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford music lessons.
2016 – Mendelt Hoekstra: Recipient of the 2016 Peace Award for his work with Momentum Choir. As a music therapist, he gets people involved in music who otherwise may not have access to a traditional choir experience. As an advocate for members of the community with intellectual disabilities, he gives everyone the opportunity to showcase their talents. Momentum Choir has been trying to do that for ten years, blazing a trail for musicians who live with a disability to give back to the community, to share our music, and make our community a more peaceful place to be.
2015 – Rebekah Lumsden & Reverend Scott McLeod