The Peace Medal is a reminder that it is possible to build a more peaceful world, one step at a time, and that everyone can be engaged in these efforts.
Each year the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg’s International Working Group, along with YMCA’s across Canada, sends out a call for nominations for this prestigious award. Every year the nominees continue to impress, and it is never an easy decision for those who select the recipients. 2010 again proved to be a year of tough deliberations.
The groups below stood out for their efforts, both at home and abroad, and we are pleased to recognize their efforts and award them the 2010 Youth Peace Medal.
The students of Kildonan-East Collegiate’s Tanzania 2010 project were recognized d
ue to their “dedication to the construction of water holding tanks, drinking and hand washing stations, private pit latrines for girls, and a hygiene and water management education program.” The group has been together for four years to fundraise for the project in East Africa, working within the broader framework of the NGO Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief. Aside from fundraising they have learned about global issues such as food security, gender equality, and basic human rights and they have shared this knowledge with their community. As a direct result of their activities, children at Qaru Lambo and Gilala schools in Tanzania, whose students previously drank from sloughs and missed a lot of school as a result of sickness, now have year round access to fresh drinking water for the next thirty years.
GAY STRAIGHT ALLIANCE
The Gay Straight Alliance of Westwood Collegiate was chosen for “their dedication to creating a welcoming, safe and respectful school as ambassadors of acceptance for others.” Functioning for two years in Westwood Collegiate the GSA has proved popular amongst students due to its strong message of acceptance, human rights, safety, peace and harmony. They work tirelessly to fulfill their vision of “A school where everyone is welcome, safe and respected.” They hosted several events including a rainbow sticker drive for Gay Pride week, creating information pamphlets advocating for gay rights, created a teacher education package for “How to Teach Acceptance”, and they inspired 90% of the student body to wear purple on October 20, 2010 to send the message to bring an end to homophobic physical and emotional abuse, amongst many additional accomplishments. They have also helped other GSA groups form throughout the division and city. Their nominator stated that she has seen a change in the school since the group was formed – the atmosphere at the school is happier and more accepting and tolerant. In particular, the peace medal review committee appreciated the positive, inclusive approach taken by the group to build understanding and commitment among students and teachers.