Peace Medal

2023 YMCA Peace Medal Recipients

Three local peace makers were honoured at the YMCA Peace it Forward Luncheon on November 9, 2023 for their efforts to build peace.

“This event is a highlight of our year at the YMCA.   It is our honor to celebrate people in the community who promote inclusion, champion diversity, inspire others and work to make our community a better place. When we act for peace, we build stronger and healthier communities; we hope that sharing these stories will inspire others to act.”- Jaime MacLellan, YMCA staff

Lina Maria Grajales Moreno, YMCA Risaralda Board Chair, was the keynote speaker for the event.  Lina shared a message of paying it forward; that when you are provided opportunities to grow and achieve you can then do the same for others.  In doing so, you ensure your community is a stronger, more vibrant and resilient place.

Created in 1987, the YMCA Peace Medals have been granted annually to individuals or groups, who – without any special resources, status, wealth or position – demonstrate a commitment to the values of P-E-A-C-E (participation, empathy, advocacy, community, empowerment) through contributions within their local, national or global community.

The 2023 YMCA of Greater Moncton Peace Medals were presented to:

Julie Doucette and Denys LeBlanc:

Julie Doucette and Denys LeBlanc’s son, Olivier, always dreamed of playing hockey, but as someone with autism, he and his family found it hard to find a program that supported his needs. Motivated by a belief in inclusion and equality, Julie contacted Hockey New Brunswick to work on a solution.  In collaboration with the Autism Resource Centre and Special Olympics, Julie, Denys and Hockey New Brunswick developed a neurodivergent hockey program that would provide Olivier and many others the opportunity to play the sport they love.

The program, which provides a safe and supportive environment to neurodiverse youth between the ages of 5 and 17, is offered free of charge and no previous skating or hockey experience is required.  As you can imagine, the response to this was overwhelming.  As soon as the program launched, the 30 available spots were filled up and in October 2022, the players hit the ice.

Julie and Denys didn’t stop there though, they were both still eager to add more to the program and so reached out to local high school hockey teams to take part.  Several players were happy to volunteer their time in service of the program and began taking turns coaching the other youth; providing guidance and support where needed. There is no doubt that the program will only continue to grow.  Julie and Denys have made sure that Canada’s favorite sport is accessible to all in here in Greater Moncton and beyond.

Barbara Elias:

Barb Elias was born in England and grew up during the world war era.  Through these experiences, she and her family became very resourceful and Barb has been putting those skills to use to support her community ever since!

Barb has contributed to numerous causes in a variety of ways over the years, both locally and abroad. She has travelled to many countries seeing first hand what a beautiful and diverse world we have.  These experiences have made her a strong advocate for a world without discrimination and she handles local issues with the same passion as she would if she were advocating globally. Recently, in 2017 she launched the Moncton Auctions for Charity Facebook page where donated items are sold to the highest bidder and funds are given to local charities.  Barb has been a huge supporter of The Humanity Project and her donations have housed, medicated, clothed, and fed hundreds of people.  She was also instrumental in purchasing and renovating their home base, where they can safely support 200 or more people a day.  When The Humanity Project started a new initiative,  JOSH (Just Organization Serving Humanity) Barb didn’t hesitate to get involved and has been a proud supporter of this project as well.  Since starting Moncton Auctions for Charity, Barb has managed to raise over $100,000 and has created a more inclusive community and world.

Café Inclusio:

Cafe Inclusio is a heart felt project of proud parents, Suzanne Boudreau, Pierre Arsenault and Nathalie Perron, to offer employment for their sons, Samuel and Joel, and others who have intellectual and developmental challenges.  In 2017, these three determined parents turned a dream into a reality and created something unique for their sons and the broader community.  At Café Inclusio, they have created a safe workspace where all individuals, regardless of their abilities, feel valued and respected.  In the supportive environment offered by the café, employees are able to offer fresh perspectives that inspire and uplift everyone around them.

Café Inclusio’s purpose is rooted in personal experience and driven by a deep commitment to creating places where individuals with unique abilities can thrive and find a meaningful sense of acceptance and belonging.  Over the last six years, Café Inclusio has grown from a “pop up” mobile café with two employees to a team of 6 support staff and 10 employees that serve their loyal clients from a bricks and mortar location at the Historic Maison Doiron in Dieppe.

At Café Inclusio, each sip supports your commitment to inclusivity and ensures a more vibrant and inclusive world.

Photo, from the left:
Top row – Lauren Trueman (of Wilbur and Trueman Law), Nathalie Perron, Suzanne Boudreau (of Café Inclusio), Denys LeBlanc
Bottom row: Barbara Elias, Samuel DeGarie (of Café Inclusio), Julie Doucette, Zane Korytko

Proceeds from this year’s “Peace it Forward” Luncheon support the YMCA of Greater Moncton’s partnership with the YMCA of Risaralda, Colombia.   To donate, please click here: Donation page

This event was proudly sponsored by Wilbur & Trueman Law Offices.

YMCA Peace Medal