The YMCA of Niagara is celebrating individuals in our community who have made significant contributions toward peace-building by awarding three Peace Medals this year.
Congratulations to the 2020 Peace Medal recipients: Andrew Harwood (St. Catharines), My Linh (Julia) Do (Niagara Falls) and Audra Maloney (Fort Erie). The 2020 Peace Medal awards were given out earlier this week in individual ceremonies to ensure physical distancing protocols were followed.
“The recipients of the YMCA Peace Medals 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 Steve Boone, Interim CEO, YMCA of Niagara.
From November 14-21, during YMCA Peace Week, the YMCA of Niagara, together with YMCAs across Canada, are celebrating the presence of peace in our communities, and reflecting on the peace building work that happens all year both inside and outside the YMCA.
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’ve 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.
Our 2020 Peace Medal Recipients
It is Andrew’s determination and passion that stand out in our community. Andrew strives to offer youth opportunities to be involved no matter their socio-economic status and have them experience the benefits of sport and physical activity. Andrew has collaborated with organizations such as Niagara Regional Police Service, Niagara Region Housing and The RAFT to organize free community events. Andrew is also involved with a number of organizations as a volunteer. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Andrew created a motivation video series for youth in order to empower them and support their mental health. Andrew says, “whether it be community-based events, offering services to the community, providing new opportunities to children and families, or something else entirely, making a difference in the local community is what is important to me.”
My Linh (Julia) Do
My Linh is known for having strong leadership skills and commitment to youth in our community. She is involved in her school community at Saint Michael Catholic High School through the tutoring program, Social Justice Club, and Student Council to name a few of her extra-curricular activities. As an active member of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee in Niagara Falls, My Linh focuses on important issues concerning the City’s younger population. This past year, My Linh co-created and launched a project called InspireHER that creates online events to encourage and support girls and non-binary to ensure equity. My Linh is described as “extremely empathetic and has been inspired to empower others, especially females, to develop and grow and achieve to their potential!”
Audra has been an integral part of the Niagara and Fort Erie community for many years. Audra has helped to host ceremonies to assist families who have lost loved ones in Niagara and increase awareness for mental health. Audra performs simple acts that make an impact including supporting an older neighbour without a family, and larger acts such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds to establish an alternative high school program “Courage to Soar” with the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre. Audra supports Aboriginal youth with skill development and job training to allow them to experience success. Audra has been recognized by Brock University for qualities of leadership, courage, inspiration, and community involvement. Audra continues to perform healing work for our community.
Learn more about Peace Week
Visit our website or follow us on social media to learn more about peace week activities. • YmcaofNiagara.org • twitter.com/ymcaNiagara
The YMCA of Niagara is a powerful association of people joined together by a shared passion to foster a sense of belonging for all. In an age of complex social challenges, the YMCA 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.
Our focus on inclusiveness and accessibility means we serve people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities through all stages of life.