Niagara Falls, ON: Representatives from the YMCA of Niagara, Niagara Public Health and Settlement Workers in Schools celebrated the 30th anniversary of Peace Week at the YMCA of Canada this past Saturday, November 18th. The YMCA of Niagara hosted a Youth Peace Symposium at the Niagara Falls YMCA in recognition of this anniversary and explored peace from three perspectives: inner peace, peaceful communities and global peace.


At the event, the YMCA of Niagara presented the 2017 Peace Award to Greg Wierzcholski. Wierzcholski, the owner of the Niagara Conservatory of Music, created the program, Music Gives Movement in 2015 to help low-income families across Niagara keep their children in music that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford music lessons.


Trisha Tisi from Niagara Region Public Health explored the topic of inner peace and SWIS Workers (Settlement Workers in Schools) focused on being a global citizen and a youth member spoke on their experiences escaping violence in their home country and relocating to Canada.


Lauri Brady, Manager of Development and Community Programs at the YMCA of Niagara, stated, “The Youth Symposium was a great opportunity to engage youth and educate them on inner peace, stress management and being mindful. This event was a great way to kick off the 30th anniversary of Peace Week and the youth left with a challenge by acting for peace and sharing YMCA Peace Coins to pay it forward.”


Two of YMCA of Niagara members were also recognized and received YMCA Peace Medals outside of this event for YMCA Peace Week, including:


  • Mendelt Hoekstra, for his work with the Momentum Choir, which consists entirely of talented adult musicians living with disabilities.


  • Ted Vanderzalm, for his work with Wells of Hope providing water to villages in East Africa.