YMCA of Greater Saint John to Honour Local Peacemakers

Saint John, New Brunswick – From November 14 to 21 during YMCA Peace Week, the YMCA of Greater Saint John celebrates the presence of peace in our communities and reflects on the peace-building work that happens all year, both inside and outside its facilities.

As we navigate through 2020 and the COVID-19 crisis, YMCA Peace Week takes on new meaning, illustrating how the ongoing work of building peace needs to continue now more than ever. COVID-19 and the urgent calls for action for diversity, social inclusion, and equity are challenging us, as individuals, as communities, and as a country, to reconsider where we have been and where we want to go. During YMCA Peace Week, we honour those at the forefront of these peace-building efforts and encourage Canadians to ask themselves how they can bring change to their communities.

“It’s important that we work together to create peaceful communities where everyone feels that they belong,” says Shilo Boucher, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Saint John. “By celebrating YMCA Peace Week together, we are taking a stand and creating the future we want for our community, country, and world.”

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

“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. By sharing our message of peace, we can inspire others to become engaged in peaceful actions,” says Boucher.

The presentation of the YMCA Peace Medals is the highlight of the week. They are given to individuals or groups who, without any special resources, demonstrate a commitment to peace through individual contributions made within their local community.

This year’s recipients of the YMCA Peace Medal have demonstrated that peace has many dimensions. They have shown us the importance of building inclusive communities where people feel that they belong. Their actions started small and grew into something bigger than themselves. Join us in congratulating Claudia Hughes and Wendy Lockett, both long-time volunteers with newcomers in our community.

The YMCA of Greater Saint John is a powerful association of people joined together by a shared passion for fostering a sense of belonging for all. In this age of complex social challenges, the Y is steadfastly dedicated to building healthy communities by inviting and encouraging Canadians to join in, to give back, and to gain the connections, skills, and confidence they need to thrive.

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

  • Free Online Cultural Intelligence Session – All are welcome to join our three 30-minute sessions starting Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM
    • Monday, November 16: Diversity – We examine the Diversity Wheel and how our place in diversity influences our biases. Sign up now.  
    • Wednesday, November 18: Ethnocentricity – We will examine how we don’t view others as they are but rather as we are. This a root problem when we look at different cultural values. Sign up now.
    • Friday, November 20: Journey to Discrimination – We examine the steps that lead to systemic discrimination and why challenging bias can reduce discrimination. Sign up now
  • Free Peace Week Yoga: Irving Oil Field House, Wednesday, November 18 at noon. Please bring your mat, government-issued photo ID, and wear your mask.
  • Peace Medals to be awarded to recipients virtually on Friday, November 20.

About the YMCA of Greater Saint John

The YMCA of Greater Saint John exists to build healthy communities. As a registered charitable organization, the Y relies on donations to ensure that no one in our community is turned away from partaking in life-enriching Y services due to financial limitations. Please consider supporting your community by donating today – because there is no Y without you!

About the Peace Medal Award Recipients: Claudia Hughes and Wendy Lockett

Over the past four years, Claudia Hughes has continuously demonstrated her love for our community and her commitment to welcoming newcomers and refugee families into it. Since the Syrian Response in 2016, Claudia has been a vital member of the Y’s First Friend volunteer program, in which she helps newcomers adjust to life in Canada. Claudia maintains close ties with many of her First Friend families and helps them integrate with daily activities: trips to local businesses, banking, medical appointments, and much more. Many newcomers and other First Friend volunteers are inspired by her patience, caring, and calming presence.

Wendy Lockett is an invaluable volunteer in arrival services with YMCA Newcomer Connections, where she puts aside her schedule and invests her whole heart in welcoming families. She and her husband are among the first friendly faces newcomers see when they arrive in Saint John — and then they are warmly welcomed into her own family. She has them over for meals, helps them with transportation, takes them for cultural experiences, and much more. Wendy’s warmth and compassion make her an exemplary example to inspire others to volunteer.

“Our new families bring joy in the most unexpected ways. We have always enjoyed our volunteer experiences with the new arrivals. Their optimism and eagerness give us hope for our city, our province, and our beautiful country,” says Wendy.

Media Contact

Kristen Wheaton Clayton
Chief Development Officer
+1-506-634-4927 | +1-506-343-1702