International Development


YMCA of Greater Vancouver: International Development Section

The Power of Peace Awards

In recognition of International Peace Week in November, YMCA Peace Medals are given to local individuals who are working to strengthen our communities by promoting peaceful solutions to violence, conflict, discrimination and justice. Through their actions, nominees have had significant impact on the lives of others, either locally or elsewhere in the world, without any special resources or recognition.

Power of Peace Awards

From left to right: Ginny Liu and Jill Xu (founders of CACTES), Eugenea Couture, Jimmy Crescenzo (from the Boys Club Network), Dr. Samantha Nutt (guest speaker) and Walter Mustapich (from the Boys Club Network) celebrate at the 2014 YMCA Power of Peace Awards November 20th at CBC Studio 700 in Vancouver.

Congratulations to our 2015 Power of Peace award winners! On November 20th, the YMCA was pleased to award Peace Medals to:

CACTES Association (Youth category)

CACTES Association was founded in July 2013 by two passionate teenagers, Jill Xu and Ginny Liu, with a vision to create change in the lives of not only children in developing countries, but also their families. CACTES stands for Caring About Communities Together to Eliminate Struggles, and works to fundraise and raise awareness for various global issues.

Eugenea Couture (Individual category)

Eugenea Couture is a human rights advocate for foster and adopted children. Fueled by her personal story of adversity as a child, Couture’s work focuses on raising awareness about the problems plaguing the foster system, the experiences of the children who fall through its cracks, and the hope and joy that comes from healing.

The Boy’s Club Network (Group category)

The Boy’s Club Network identifies and lifts lost boys up, and with a proven curricula of hope, opportunity, positive mentorship and education, restores their personal accountability and confidence in themselves, in adults and in society's collective future.​ ​The Boys Club Network provides support and help to ensure these boys find their way, find themselves and finish school.

We would also like to acknowledge and congratulate all nominees who are acting for peace and doing outstanding work in their communities:

Amanda Turner is a fourth year dietetic student at UBC who is passionate about helping low income populations obtain adequate nutrition and fighting general misconceptions that for certain populations nutrition is not a priority.

Danielle Sanders devotes her time to ensuring that youth, especially those at risk, receive the education that they deserve, both in traditional school subjects and also areas such as nutrition and physical activity.

Diana Ng has been facilitating community walks on World Labyrinth Day since 2012—a day designated to bring people from all over the world together to walk labyrinths as one. The idea is that peace begins with the state of mind of the individual, and to walk a labyrinth brings mindfulness and serenity.

Maureen Jack Lacroix co-founded Be The Change Earth Alliance in 2005, a citizen engagement program to support environmental, social and personal behaviour changes in community, the workplace, and in schools.

Aunt Leah’s Place helps prevent children in foster care from becoming homeless and mothers in need from losing custody of their children. To support them on their journey to self-sufficiency, Aunt Leah’s Place provides supported housing, job training and essential life skills coaching.

Spirit Dance Centre was formed in 2004 as a multi-faith charity to promote inter-faith understanding, respect for the planet, compassion for all beings, and ethical and spiritual values.

Save the Date!

The 2015 YMCA Power of Peace Awards ceremony will be held on November 20th.

Know a Peacemaker?

YMCA Peace Medal awards recognize the efforts dedicated to ending war, bullying, discrimination, racism and armed conflict; and promoting cross-cultural understanding, diversity, education, equality, human rights, mediation, social justice or prevention of violence and abuse and by building more green spaces in every town and city. Peace Medals will be awarded to: 

• Local/International Peacemaker: Open to individuals of any age and groups working in their own community or international community for equality, justice and peace (two awards will be given, one to an individual and one to a group). 

• Emerging Young Leader Peacemaker: Open to individuals and groups under 30 years of age working locally or globally for equality, justice and peace (one award will be given).

Nominations are now closed. Check back in September 2015 to nominate a peacemaker you know.

For more information, please contact 604-939-9622.

YMCA Endowment Fund