“Working towards peace begins with broadening your own outlook towards life, the world and the individuals around you – this can mean something as simple as communicating responsibly and respectfully with others . . . or smiling at an unfamiliar face on the street. Peace begins with the belief that your own and others’ actions, however small, are worth it.”
Caitlin Ohama-Darcus spoke these words as she accepted a Y Peace Medal from the Vancouver YMCA a few years ago for her work promoting diversity and sustainability.
Every year, YMCAs across Canada award the Peace Medal to individuals or groups who, without any special resources, demonstrate a commitment to peace.
The Kamloops YMCA-YWCA encourages residents to nominate a person or organization whose commitment and dedication result in a healthier, safer, more equitable and sustainable world.
It’s easy to submit a nomination by going to www.kamloopsy.org/peace and downloading the simple nomination form. The deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Over the past seven years, the Kamloops YMCA-YWCA has recognized several diverse individuals and groups with a Y Peace Medal.
Youth groups, like Kids Helping Kids (Brock middle school) and Caring Kids (McGowan elementary), have been honoured with a Peace Medal for helping to raise money to support children overseas.
Kamloops citizens, such as Louise Richards of the Elizabeth Fry Society and Bob Hughes of ASK Wellness, have been honoured for helping to improve the quality of life for their fellow citizens.
What do Y Peace Medal recipients have in common?
Their actions motivate others to get involved; they work quietly without any special recognition or resources and they demonstrate positive ways to build healthier, safer and more peaceful communities.
We believe that everyone is healthier in a supportive and interconnected community. The Y is dedicated to strengthening the foundations of community by fostering social responsibility and nurturing young people. The Peace Medal is part of Y Peace Week (Nov. 16 to 23), an opportunity for everyone to engage in making a difference.
“The recipient of the Y Peace Medal is a tremendous inspiration,” says Colin Reid, CEO of the Kamloops YMCA-YWCA. “They show how any one of us can have a positive impact on the quality of life of people locally, nationally or internationally.”
Last year, the Y Peace Medal was awarded to the Rotary Clubs of Kamloops Youth Exchange Program. For more than 30 years, the clubs have supported the Youth Exchange Program as a powerful means of promoting international understanding and peace.
Eight to 10 young people go overseas or are hosted in Kamloops by the Kamloops Rotary Clubs each year. The participants gain an experience of new cultures and friends, planting the seeds for a lifetime of international understanding.
“Peace happens one person at a time,” says Tina Lange, a member of the Kamloops Daybreak Rotary Club.
“The love that flows between the exchange students and the Rotary Club members lasts forever, forming friendships around the world.”
There are many individuals and groups in Kamloops who make a valuable contribution.
Please take a few minutes to nominate them. All the information you need can be found at www.kamloopsy.org/peace or by calling 250-372-7725.
* * *
Darcy Harris is the funds development and communications director for Kamloops YMCA-YWCA.