Monday, January 23, 2012

Meet our Peace Medal recipient!

An advocate and activist for human rights and social justice, Bre Woligroski has changed lives.  She was selected as this year’s Peace Medal recipient for her many acts focusing “on long term, sustainable impact on individuals and communities.”

Just 31 years old, Bre has been involved in numerous justice initiatives: she was chosen as the official Canadian representative for the World Student Christian Federation’s Identity Diversity Dialogue Program in Thailand, speaking on issues of gender justice; she currently serves on several Boards including the Feminist Alliance for International Action and the World Student Christian Federation Global Board; she founded the Menno Simons College Social Justice Fair (now an annual event); she helped coordinate Take Back the Night in 2009 and 2011, marching to end violence against women in Winnipeg; she facilitates workshops and speaks publicly on gender equality. And as a volunteer delegate to the United Nations 52nd Commission on the Status of Women, she offered wording suggestions to the Agreed Conclusions that now influence gender equality worldwide.

These are just a few of her many, many initiatives.

Her nominator writes “Bre demonstrates the values and qualities of peace in that she works for justice and understanding in ways which are culturally sensitive and relevant.  She is gentle and responsive to the people around her, yet is firm in her commitment to social justice and equality.”  

Because of her works - both individual and collaborative - and her drive to create a world that is more compassionate and just, Bre Woligroski is the 2011 Peace Medal recipient.   

Monday, January 16, 2012

International Update

This past November, the International Working Group (IWG) was given the opportunity to partner with Ten Thousand Villages on Plaza Drive, as part of a national initiative that saw YMCAs and YMCA-YWCAs across Canada work with local Ten Thousand Villages stores in order to unite our similar missions to increase awareness of global issues.

Here in Winnipeg, volunteers from our working group spent the day in Ten Thousand Villages where we greeted the many customers in the store  and drew their attention to a slide-show outlining the work that we do here in Winnipeg through our international partnerships and events such as Peace Week. Those making purchases that day could use a coupon to direct 15% of their purchase to YMCA International Partnerships.

By allying our two similar missions, November 12th was very successful day for both Ten Thousand Villages and our IWG.  We were able to promote the day throughout our branches and draw new customers to the store.  We were able to speak to the regular customers in the store about how the Y supports international development across the globe.  As an extra bonus, we fundraised over $1,100!

With the holidays behind us, we’re now looking forward to our exchange with YMCA Camp Artigas in Uruguay. Kristen Schmidt, the Aquatics Coordinator in our Downtown Branch, will join Tara Molson from Regina and Marjan Mogharrabi from YMCA Guelph on a four week adventure that will see them integrate new programming into Camp Artigas, and learn about this successful Y Camp, with a view to bringing home a greater understanding of our partner.  

Submitted by Mel Marginet
Member, IWG

Stay tuned for our announcement of the Peace Medal recipient!