YMCA Honours Local Peacemakers

(Saint John, New Brunswick) – From November 18 – 25, during YMCA Peace Week, the YMCA of Greater Saint John, together with YMCAs across Canada, celebrate the presence of peace in our communities, and reflect on the peace-building work that happens all year both inside and outside the YMCA.

A special highlight of this week is the presentation of YMCA Peace Medals to individuals or groups who, without any special resources, demonstrate a commitment to the values of PEACE through contributions made within their local, national or global community. Peacemakers are recognized for promoting and inspiring Participation, Empathy, Advocacy, Community and Empowerment.

2017 marks the 30th Anniversary of the YMCA Peace Medal. It was developed in 1987 by the International Committee at the YMCA of Fredericton. That year, this committee of volunteers and staff was tasked with developing Peace Week support materials for YMCAs across the country.

Inspired by efforts of Jim and Kay Bedell in raising awareness of the 1982 United Nations Disarmament Conference by walking from New Brunswick to New York City to attend, the Committee decided to institute an award, a peace medal, to be given by YMCAs across the country each year to people like Jim and Kay.

Since 1987, more than 1,900 individuals and groups across Canada have been recognized with YMCA Peace Medals.

Reham Abazid and Li Song will both be receiving the 2017 Peace Medallion in Saint John for their individual peacemaking efforts.

“Reham empowers others to go after what they believe and is beyond willing to help in whatever way, ensuring they succeed,” Kendra Gautreau, who nominated Reham said. “Everything she does has an impact and shows she is a peacemaker. From hosting a fundraising market to support women in Jordan to providing meals for Outflow Men’s Shelter, she is giving her time to bridge gaps in her community, while advocating for peace.”

Li Song will also receive a YMCA Peace Medallion. “Li works to ensure everyone in the community feels included. She is an ambassador for peace through her volunteer work at the Saint John Library and brings newcomers and locals together and inspires them to learn from each other,” explains Jiaojiao Meng, who nominated Li for the award.

This year’s ceremony will be a Peace Breakfast held on November 24th at Grand Hall, UNBSJ from 7:30 am to 9:00 am. Tickets are available online: ymcapeacebreakfast.eventbrite.ca or by calling 634-4852.

“The recipients of the YMCA Peace Medal demonstrate that peace has many dimensions. They show us the importance of building communities, locally, nationally or internationally, where people feel that they belong and are included. Most often their actions started small and grew into something bigger than themselves. That is the power of peace,” says Shilo Boucher, President and CEO at the YMCA of Greater Saint John.

YMCA Peace Week activities at the YMCA of Greater Saint John include:

  • Pickleball for Peace Tournament, Sunday November 19th at 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Saint John Regional Y
  • Peace Yoga, Wednesday November 22nd  at 12:10 pm, Saint John Regional Y
  • Peace Medallion Ceremony, November 24th at 7:30 am, Grand Hall, UNBSJ
  • Youth Coffee House, November 25th at 6:30 pm, Saint John Regional Y

Additional information available online at saintjohny.com.

The YMCA of Greater Saint John is a charity dedicated to building healthy communities.  We are committed to nurturing the potential of children, youth and families, promoting healthy living and fostering social responsibility within our community.

– 30 –

For further information, please contact:

Nicole Vair
Communications Coordinator
YMCA of Greater Saint John