Peace Medal

Each year, YMCAs across Canada celebrate acts of peace by recognizing individuals and/or groups who, without any special resources, status, wealth or position, have demonstrated a commitment to building peace within their community or communities elsewhere in the world. During YMCA Peace Week, which will take place from November 12-19, local peacemakers will receive special recognition and a medallion at Peace Medallion ceremonies across Canada.

Recipient biographies:

Ukrainian Club of Moncton

The Ukrainian Club of Moncton was established in 1975 as a social organization in an effort to keep the Ukrainian heritage alive in Moncton.

When the Russian invasion on Ukraine began, their focus took an immediate turn. Since the war started in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Club of Moncton has worked endlessly to provide aid to those still in their home country.

Since the war began, club members have been working day and night to help however they can. They have organized countless fundraising events, reached out to community organizations for aid, prepared traditional goods to sell, coordinated locations, and vendors. Through their incredible efforts, they have been able to provide countless humanitarian supplies, medical aid, and tactical gear to folks in Ukraine. Locally, they have acted as a safe haven for the Ukrainian community. They have provided a physical hub for Ukrainians to gather, have their needs met, and find connection. Especially for those that have been displaced from Ukraine as they arrive in Moncton.

The Ukrainian club of Moncton have built a community where everyone feels safe. They have acted for PEACE and welcomed everyone as they fled their home country. They have inspired countless people through their efforts. With every event, every call for help, more and more community members have answered. The Ukrainian Club of Moncton have shown that even a small group of people can come together to make a huge impact. They have inspired the Greater Moncton Community with their ability to do so much good from afar and proven that nothing is impossible.

To learn more about the Ukrainian Club of Moncton, visit their website at Ukrainian Club of Moncton (ukrclubmoncton.ca).

Ashley MacDonald, YWCA

Ashley MacDonald currently works for the YWCA as their Youth Services Manager, she has been working in her field for many years and always has the youth at heart. Ashley is constantly advocating for youth. Her advocacy and mentorship for youth at risk of sexual exploitation and human trafficking is incredibly powerful.

Throughout her career, Ashley has proven time and time again that she truly has the youth and community at the centre of what she does. She not only works one on one with youth, but she also works hard to build community capacity around issues youth face – with a human trafficking lens. She strives to better educate community partners on the sexual exploitation and human trafficking of our youth and regularly delivers trainings to those in need.

Through her advocacy work, Ashley continues to build a stronger community. She maintains connections with different agencies, organizations, government officials, and the RCMP to ensure strong collaboration. Ashley has made it her personal mission to connect and build community for the youth she works with. She has greatly contributed to our community’s ability to keep our youth safe and recognize the signs of youth sexual exploitation and human trafficking. She is an active member of the YOU Turns Committee and the New Brunswick Working Group on Human Trafficking. She also sits on working groups with RCMP, Victim Services, and other providers to address this essential issue in our community.

Ashley inspires everyone around her to be better. She is empowering, caring, and always working to create PEACE within her community.

To learn more about YWCA Moncton, visit their website at Home (ywcamoncton.com).

Sistema NB

Sistema NB, a program of the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, was launched in 2009. It began right here in Greater Moncton, in the basement of Beaverbrook school. At that time, it consisted of 50 children and one teacher. Since 2009, Sistema NB has expanded and currently serves 1,100 children in 9 communities across the province. Sistema NB continues to inspire children and youth to reach their full potential through learning and performing 35 orchestral music.

Sistema New Brunswick (Sistema NB) is a free daily after-school program that uses music and the orchestra as a catalyst to create social change. Sistema NB’s distinct contribution comes through intensive, personal engagement with hundreds of children every day after school. That immersion, along with dedicated Teaching Artist mentors and role models, introduce students to life-altering experiences of accomplishment, collaboration, and personal excellence.

Sistema NB works hard to ensure all children are included in their programming. They prioritize access for newcomer children and their families. They help give them a sense of belonging in the Greater Moncton Community and offer them opportunities to create relationships built on friendship and sharing. They intentionally share their resources with similar organizations in an effort to help build positive experiences for other across the country and the world.

The means by which Sistema NB acts for PEACE is apparent when you look at the success of some of the program’s earliest graduates – studying astrophysics at St. Mary’s University; two studying medical science at Dalhousie University; linguistics at Memorial; and, social work at U de M – not to mention the countless amount of young people that have gone on to study music at some of the best schools in the country.

To learn more about Sistema NB, visit their website at Sistema | Making a difference through music. (sistemanb.ca).

YMCA Peace Medal