As the YMCA Peace Week ends, the YMCA's are celebrating the presence of peace in our communities and reflecting on the peace-building work that happens all year.
"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," says a news release.
“The recipients of this year’s PEACE Medal, collectively demonstrate how their volunteer work which embodies Participation, Empathy, Advocacy, Community and Empowerment makes northeastern Ontario a great place to live," said Helen Francis, President, YMCA of Northeastern Ontario. "The YMCA hopes that by celebrating their work, we can encourage more people to volunteer and make our local, national and global community more resilient, healthier, and stronger.”
Local winners are:
OutLoud North Bay (Group)
Founded in 2019 by Seth Compton, OutLoud North Bay is a hub and charity for 2SLGTBQA+ youth to feel safe and learn together. OutLoud is fully run by volunteers.
By offering programming such as fitness classes, arts and crafts, movie nights, life skill workshops and more, OutLoud has created a space for youth in North Bay to connect with others where they feel welcomed. They also make informational posts on their social media accounts so that others within the community can learn about issues and events that impact 2SLGBTQA+ people (such as Transgender Awareness Week).
Geoff Richardson (Adult)
Co-Owner and Operator of Good Riddance Pest Control, Geoff is a dedicated member of the North Bay community. One of his first volunteer experiences was when he helped deliver baskets for the Santa Fund. It’s now come full circle, as Geoff is now Co-Chair for the Santa Fund! Through his involvement with the Santa Fund, the local theatre community, or helping a local charity find a new home, Geoff is having a positive impact on those who live in North Bay.
Matthew Robertson (Youth)
Born in Thailand, Matthew Robertson grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and moved to Canada in November 2020. With a degree in engineering and as he searches for full-time employment, Matthew spends each week giving back to local organizations by volunteering his time. A dedicated volunteer for Clean Green Beautiful North Bay, he takes part in weekly street cleanups, volunteers at the North Bay Food Bank and with the NB Heritage Gardeners.
Mark Caldwell (Adult)
Mark is an inspiring individual who dedicates his free time and energy to raising awareness and funds for local mental health services in North Bay.
Mark started out by creating For The Love Of Woody, a local group dedicated to breaking down the stigma that surrounds mental health. Over the last 4 years, Mark has raised over $100,000 for various mental health services in North Bay, and volunteers a significant amount of his time for North Bay Defeat Depression in group fundraising projects.