peaceYMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce invites you to build community and act for peace.

From November 18 – 25, during YMCA Peace Week, the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce, together with YMCAs across Canada, celebrate the presence of peace in our communities, and reflect on the peace-building work that happens all year both inside and outside the YMCA.

In January, the UN Secretary-General called to make "2017 a year for peace". All around the world people and organizations have been celebrating what peace means to them. YMCA Peace Week offers activities that help children, youth and adults explore peace from personal, community and global perspectives. Collectively, YMCAs in Canada ask people to: Build community. Act for peace.

More than the absence of violence and conflict, peace is the ongoing work of building and maintaining conditions of fairness, inclusion, empathy, security, and respect for diversity. Peace-building is core to the YMCA's commitment to strengthening the foundation of healthy communities and part of the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce's year round programs.

According to the 1981 World Alliance of YMCAs Statement on Peace,

"...Peace has many dimensions. It is not only a state of relationships among nations.

We cannot expect to live in a world of peace if we are unable to live in peace with those close to us – even those who differ from us.... The responsibility for peace begins with each person, in relationship with family and friends, and extends to community life and national activities....."

This Statement is relevant today more than ever.

"In today's globalized world, we are all connected to each other more than we realize," says Ellen Alstein, Communications Lead, at the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce. "By sharing our message of peace we are able to inspire others to become engaged in peaceful actions," says Ellen.

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

"The idea of trying to attain world peace can feel overwhelming simply because it's such a large-scale goal," says Ellen Alstein, Communications Lead. "But if you look at ways to contribute to peace in your own home and community and gradually work up to bigger national and international issues, it becomes manageable and attainable. Our goal is to demonstrate that together we can make a difference in creating peaceful communities."

A special highlight of this week is the presentation of the YMCA Peace Medal to an individual or group who, without any special resources, demonstrates a commitment to peace through individual contributions made within their local, national or global community. This year's ceremony will be held on Thursday November 23 at 12 PM and will honour a group of local community members who have made significant contributions towards peace-building.

We will also have various "PEACE" activities throughout our programs and invite everyone to join the conversation on social media, #actforpeace, #ymcapeaceweek. Together we can make a difference in creating peaceful communities!

source: media release, YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce


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