Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What we do | Winnipeg Y International

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Peace Week 2012!

Peace Week 2012 is under way.  We hope you will JOIN THE PEACE MOVEMENT and join us for a Creative Compromise workshop or Yoga For Peace drop-in class!

Creative Compromise
Join us for this engaging workshop to help you manage everyday conflict, led by Breanna Sawatzky.

Creative Compromise will be offered on two different evenings as part of YMCA Peace Week.

North Y Youth Centre
363 McGregor Street
November 21st | 5:30 pm

South Branch
5 Fermor Avenue
November 22nd | 5:30

In this thought provoking workshop, participants:
- Identify stressful conflict situations,
- Explore four conflict prevention skills,
- Discover and practice constructive approaches for managing conflict

About Breanna Sawatzky
Breanna has a degree in Psychology from the University of Winnipeg and 7 years experience in counselling and workshop facilitation. She is currently the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg's Director of Mental Health Services and a voluntary member of their International Working Group. Breanna looks forward to YMCA Peace Week every year and strongly believes that peace begins at home.

Yoga for Peace
Yoga is an innately peaceful activity as the goal is to encompass the overall essence of peace. Yoga also fits well with the mission of the YMCA in Canada, as it incorporates spirit, mind and body into each class. Take part in one of these drop-in Yoga for Peace classes! 

EK Branch | November 18 | 6:45pm 

EK Branch | November 23 | 9:15 am 

West Portage Branch| November 22 | 10:00 am

Peace Medal
The call for Peace Medal nominees closes on December 3rd - make a nomination today!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Join the peace movement!

November is here and with it comes a busy month for the International Working Group! 

First up is our partnership day with Ten Thousand Villages on November 10th. Visit the location on Henderson Highway or Plaza Drive on Saturday and use this coupon - 15% of your purchase will be donated to our International Partnerships. We hope to see you there! 

Peace Week runs from November 17-24th. The 2012 theme is JOIN THE PEACE MOVEMENT! We hope you will like the YMCA Peace Week page on Facebook and follow the hashtag #YMCApeaceweek on Twitter to see what is taking place from coast to coast!

We have several special events planned here in Winnipeg – two Creative Compromise workshops and three Yoga for Peace sessions.


Join us for this engaging workshop to help you manage everyday conflict, led by Breanna Sawatzky.

Creative Compromise is a free workshop and will be offered on two different evenings as part of YMCA Peace Week.

North Y Youth Centre
363 McGregor Street
November 21st | 5:30 pm

South Branch
5 Fermor Avenue
November 22nd | 5:30

In this thought provoking workshop, participants:
- Identify stressful conflict situations,
- Explore four conflict prevention skills,
- Discover and practice constructive approaches for managing conflict

About Breanna Sawatzky
Breanna has a degree in Psychology from the University of Winnipeg and 7 years of experience in counselling and workshop facilitation. She is currently the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg's Director of Mental Health Services and a voluntary member of their International Working Group. Breanna looks forward to YMCA Peace Week every year and strongly believes that peace begins at home.


Yoga is an innately peaceful activity as the goal is to encompass the overall essence of peace. Yoga also fits well with the mission of the YMCA in Canada, as it incorporates spirit, mind and body into each class. Take part in one of these drop-in Yoga for Peace classes!

EK Branch | November 18 | 6:45pm

EK Branch | November 23 | 9:15 am

West Portage Branch| November 22 | 10:00 am

Finally, our call for Peace Medal nominations in heating up, with the deadline of December 3rd approaching quickly! 2012 is the 25th anniversary of the Peace Medallion in Canada. The YMCA Peace Medallion offers a reminder that it is possible to build a more peaceful world, one step at a time, and that everyone can be engaged in these efforts.

As a community, we all play a role in building peaceful communities. By celebrating people who share the Y’s values and are engaged in similar peace-building work, we shine a light on their very important efforts. Make a nomination for the Peace Medal today!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ten Thousand Villages Day!

Join us on November 10th at Ten Thousand Villages.  You can donate 15% of your purchase to our International Partnerships by using this coupon. We'll have volunteers at both the Plaza Drive and Henderson locations. For more information, please contact the International Working Group at or 204.831.2975.

Learn more about this event and invite your friends on Facebook!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Update on CASA

The YMCA of Mexico has hosted a Casa for migrant youth in Juarez since 1995, providing a safe and healthy shelter where migrant children receive food, clothing and access to telecommunications, and then reunite them with their families.  In 2011 a new Casa Canada building was opened with the support of the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg, YMCAs and YMCA-YWCAs across the prairies, and the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph - a true partnership effort!

Juarez is a city of 1.5 million people, located about mid-continent, on the banks of the Rio Grande, the border between Mexico and the United States.  There are also YMCA Casas in Tijuana, Piedras Negras, and Agua Prieta.

Casa Canada has played an important role in the community, assisting migrant youth, providing space for conferences, delivering adult education, providing recreational painting programs, programming for the elderly, hosting festivals and, that YMCA staple, summer camps.

Conferences have focused on Family workshops, youth participation in the community, prevention and identification of addictions, and Human & Children Rights training.  Ciudad Juarez has been the site of a high level of drug cartel violence in recent years, and the community is in need of support to rebuild and restore confidence and trust.

On weekends the Casa delivers a 4 month secondary school diploma to adults, in conjunction with the Chihuahuan Institute of Adult Education.  The Art School of Ciudad Juarez has provided volunteer-led Art programs for youth, an opportunity that is not readily available in local area.

The Casa has hosted Children’s Day and mother’s Day festivals, to engage and build trust in the community, and provides those very popular indoor summer camp opportunities for youth.

While political and economic changes have reduced the number of migrant youth, the Casa continues to provide community building and enrichment services, benefitting hundreds of youth, adults and seniors, who live and come to Ciudad Juarez.

Read more about the Casa programs on the YMCA of Mexico's website.

Would you like to support the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg's International Partnerships? Donate to the Strong Kids Campaign and designate your donation to Support the International Partnership Program! 

Post submitted by Don Fraser,
Member - International Working Group

Friday, October 12, 2012

Y-PASS VIDEO | World Challenge

Join us on Saturday for the YMCA World Challenge: Hoop Springs Eternal!
We'll be taking part at the Downtown branch from 11 am - 1 pm.

Check out the official event video (see if you can spot the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg!)

"The Y-PASS" - YMCA World CHALLENGE 2012 from YMCA on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

YMCA World Challenge: Hoop Springs Eternal!

The YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg will join Ys from 70 countries around the world on October 13th for the World Challenge: Hoop Springs Eternal.

The goal of Hoop Springs Eternal is to gather 5 million people worldwide to set a world record for number of people shooting a basketball in one day.  At the same time, the event will be used to share the YMCA story and how the organization works across the globe to strengthen communities and leadership in young people.

The Challenge officially begins at 8h00, local time, in New Zealand and ends in Hawaii at 17h00.  Photos and videos of activities around the world will be shared through social media. 

Why basketball?
Did you know basketball was invented by the YMCA in 1891? Now one of the most popular sports in the world, basketball is used to promote a healthy lifestyle as well as to empower youth.

The Winnipeg event will be hosted by the Y Leaders as part of their Leaders Jamboree at the Downtown Branch!

11:00 am – Noon
The gym will be split into two halves. One side will have a
pick-up game, while the other has a skills competition.

Noon – 1:00 pm
Join the Y Leaders for a full court game of King’s Court! 

Follow the World Alliance of YMCAs on Facebook and Twitter to see what is planned around the world!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Call for Peace Medal Nominees!

Do you know a person or group in your community who is helping to build a more peaceful world? Recognize their efforts and share their story by nominating them for the Peace Medal!

Each year the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg sends a call out to the community seeking nominations for this prestigious award. The Peace Medal is a reminder that it is possible to build a more peaceful world one step at a time and that everyone can be engaged in these efforts!

Learn more about previous recipients of the Peace Medal here. Do you know a person or group who you would like to honour with a nomination? Click here to download the nomination form!

Deadline for nominations is December 3, 2012.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pedro in Canada

Pedro has landed in Canada and has begun his adventure exploring the programs here at the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg and some sights around the city!

Pedro is currently out at Camp Stephens in Lake of the Woods. Before he left Pamela Wright, Chair of the International Working Group, and her husband Wes Peters, hosted a BBQ for Pedro at their home. Big thank you to Pam and Wes for their hospitality!

Below are some photos from his adventures thus far.

BBQ at Pam and Wes' with Senior Staff and International Working Group volunteers!

Pamela Wright, Pedro, David Young, President & CEO

Pedro and Ken Mason, Manager of the North Y Youth Centre

Pedro inside his first hockey rink! With Dave Vankoughnett

Pedro sets off on a tour of the Y Winnipeg Centres!

Lunch at the Qualico Family Centre in Assiniboine Park

In the Qualico Centre

Monday, July 9, 2012

Meet Pedro

This August the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg will welcome Pedro to Canada. Pedro is from Uruguay and is taking part in the latest exchange between our Y here in Winnipeg and the YMCA of Uruguay.

Below is a letter of introduction from Pedro in both English and Spanish. We look forward to meeting Pedro soon and sharing more about his experience with you.

Hi friends from Canda!

My name is Pedro Ithurralde, I am from Uruguay and in August I will visit you for a few weeks.

I have been asked to tell you some about me, to make you get me know, but before, I want to thank you in advance to allow me to make this trip.

Like I said before, I am from Uruguay, am 21 years old and was chosen for further strengthening the partnership between the YMCAs of our countries.
About myself, I am involved with the YMCA from my birth and I love the institution because is part of my family and my home. My father, Jesus Ithurralde, is the actual COO of YMCA Uruguay, but he began to work in his youth, before he and my mom got married. For this, my sisters and I have spent a huge part of our life inside the YMCA, we grew up with it and I am sure that I will grow old with it.
My childhood and adolescence was very funny inside the YMCA, I met a lot of friends, enjoyed camps and did much sport. 

At the age of 15 I started the course of Leadership with one of my sisters, and at the next year we graduated as Leaders. With this I began to enjoy the volunteer work, play and spend time with children. 

In 2008, when I was 18 years old, I finished a part of my life and started another. I commenced the university and at the same time I applied to work in the YMCA as a salaried person. I started in charge of a group of children at a YMCA that had just been opened. There was one more YMCA in Uruguay. 

A few months later, into this new place, decided to open a Leadership Course, and I was selected to be one of the people who taught the course. At present I am the referring of the fourth generation of Leadership in the YMCA of the “Ciudad de la Costa” which have just five years old. I am in charge of the program coordination with the group of Leaders, too. We plan activities with children from some schools, children from YMCA and we do plans with the local government. 

About my life in the YMCA, I am studying two careers. I am in my fourth year of accountant and in the last year of systems analyst. My idea with such us different careers, is try to do a mixture of them. For example, create accounting software or start a business selling computers.
Concerning my likes, I love reading, sports, mainly football soccer and volleyball, but I always wanted to try ice sports such as sky, hockey or snowboard. But here in Uruguay there is no snow.

Well, I am looking forward to seeing you and meeting lots of YMCA people from Canada as well as your working styles.

We keep in touch,
Pedro Ithurralde.

Hola amigos y amigas de Canada,

Mi nombre es Pedro Ithurralde soy de Uruguay y en Agosto voy a ir a visitarlos durante unas semanas.

Me han pedido que les cuente un poco de mi, para que me vayan conociendo, pero antes quería agradecerles por adelantado el que me reciban.
Bueno como ya dije soy de Uruguay, tengo 21 años y fui elegido para seguir estrechando los lazos que hay entre las ACJs de nuestros paises.
Les comento que estoy involucrado con la ACJ desde que naci y amo a la institución pues es parte de mi familia y mi hogar. Mi padre, Jesus Ithurralde, es el actual COO de la ACJ Uruguay, pero comenzó trabajando desde muy joven, desde antes de que mi padre y mi madre se casaran. Por esto mis hermanas y yo, hemos pasado gran parte de nuestras vidas dentro de la institución, crecimos con ella y yo estoy seguro que envejeceré con ella.
Mi niñez y adolescencia fue muy divertida dentro de la ACJ, la pasé con muchos amigos, disfrutando de varios campamentos y dormilonas, y haciendo mucho deporte.
A mis 15 años comencé a hacer el curso de Lideres junto con una de mis hermanas, me gradue como Lider al año siguiente y comence a disfrutar del trabajo voluntario con niños, realizar juegos con ellos y convivir con ellos.
A mis 18 años, en el 2008 terminé una etapa de mi vida e inicié otra. Comencé mi carrera universitaria y al mismo tiempo entre a trabajar en la ACJ como una persona asalariada. Inicié a cargo de un grupo de niños en una ACJ que recien nacía, se sumaba una ACJ mas a todas las que ya había en el Uruguay. Este trabajo era diferente que siendo voluntario, porque ahora yo tenía mas responsabilidad. A los pocos meses en esta nueva ACJ se decidió abrir un Curso de Lideres y me seleccionaron para ser una de las personas que diera el curso.
Y esto ultimo es lo que estoy haciendo hoy en dia. Hoy les estoy dando el curso de lideres a la cuarta generación de liderato de la ACJ de la Ciudad de la Costa la cual tiene solo 5 años de vida. Tambien estoy encargado de la coordinación de programa junto con el grupo de lideres. Planificamos actividades con niños de las escuelas, con los niños de la ACJ y hacemos programa en conjunto con la Intendencia Municipal de Canelones.
Sobre mi vida fuera de la ACJ, estoy estudiando dos carreras, estoy en mi cuarto año de la carrera de contador y en el ultimo año de Analista en Sistemas.

Mi idea con estas dos carreras tan diferentes, es intentar mezclarlas de alguna forma, por ejemplo dedicarme a crear software contable o tener un negocio de computadoras.

Con respecto a mis gustos, me encanta la lectura, me gusta practicar deportes, principalmente futbol soccer y voleyball, aunque siempre quise probar por ejemplo deportes sobre hielo como Sky, hockey o snowboard pero aquí en Uruguay no hay nieve.

Bueno estoy deseando estar con ustedes, y conocer muchas ACJ de Canada, asi como los estilos de trabajo que tienen alli tanto en programa y como en gestión administrativa, alta dirección y toma de decisiones.
Nos mantenemos en contacto,
Pedro Ithurralde.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fair Trade Day a Success!

Thank you to all of our members, staff and the community for supporting the International Working Group's first Fair Trade Day on June 21st! Over $1500 of Fair Trade goods from Ten Thousand Villages were sold in our branches that day. 

Thank you especially to Ten Thousand Villages for helping us to raise awareness around Fair Trade in our branches!

The International Working Group is looking forward to August 2012 when we will welcome Pedro, a youth from the Uruguay YMCA (ACJ) to Winnipeg.  More details on Pedro will be featured on our blog in the coming weeks!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

FAIR TRADE DAY | June 12th

Please join us on June 12th for Fair Trade Day at the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Spring Updates!

Greetings from the International Working Group!

Uruguay Exchange Presentation
Kirsten Schmidt, who participated in the International Exchange this past February in Uruguay, presented at our April meeting. Our International Working Group was excited to hear about her experiences. Below is the slideshow presentation prepared by Kristen. If you have any questions about her exchange, please let us know - simply leave a comment below!

Thank you Westland Construction!
Peter Grose presents a $1000 cheque to Dave Vankoughnett
to support the Casa program in Mexico.

On April 13th Mel Marginet from the International Working Group and Dave Vankoughnett, General Manager of Fund Development, presented to employees of Westland Construction. Westland has joined us as a supporter of the Casa Program in Mexico. Thank you to Peter Grose who invited us out to share information about our programs, and to all of the staff of Westland Construction for supporting the important work being done at Casa.

May 12th is World Fair Trade Day! 

Be sure share information on Fair Trade with your family and friends.

The International Working Group is planning a special Fair Trade Day for our Winnipeg Branches on June 12th – be sure subscribe to our blog to receive all of the information, coming soon! 

Are you interested in volunteering for this event? Contact Mel Marginet at

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Final post from Uruguay!

Hello everyone,

We´re coming to the end of our trip now, which we´re all very upset about! Especially since we hear that it´s still very much winter and cold back home in Canada!

Campers perform in Carnival costumes for their parents.
Kristen & Marjan with youth from San Jose at Camp Artigas.
We just came back from Camp Artigas, where we stayed for 2 weeks. In the time that we were there, several different groups attended the camp, including groups from YMCAs and some school groups. Over the past week, they had their Family Camp, where families from all over Uruguay come to the camp to participate in both adult and children´s activities.

It was interesting to see how a lot of the families have been involved with the Y and the camp for generations, where they were once children at the camp, and then camp counsellors, and now adults and coming to the camp with children of their own. The theme for this year´s Family Camp was ¨Carnival¨ and all the programs and preparation for the camp was done by the leaders and counsellors. We were amazed to see how many different activities they had for the kids during the day, and how closely each of their activities followed the theme. In Uruguay, there is a lot of history and tradition associated with ¨Carnival¨. We were surprised to see the activities not only followed the themes, but they were educational as well in explaining some of the history behind this event.

At the end of the week, the children performed in a mini ´carnival´ with help from their counsellors. Each age group paraded through the main camp area with songs and dances, and of course, their Carnival costumes and face paint! It was very impressive to see how much effort they had put into the parade, in terms of costumes and decorations.

Right now, we have just arrived back in Montevideo, staying with our host families for the last few days before we come home. Over the course of this month, we have become very close with our host families and have been very appreciative of everything they´ve done for us! It will definitely be a sad good bye when it´s time to go!

Tara, Marjan & Kristen

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Update from Uruguay - We're at camp!

Playing volleyball in San Jose


Tara, Marjan and I have access to a computer and internet right now so we thought we´d update you on our trip to San Jose, and how life at Camp Artigas is going so far.

On Friday, Feb 11, 2012 we arrived in San Jose. We got to visit ¨La Casita¨ where a lot of their social programs for kids and youth are run. We got to sit in on a First Aid class happening there (not run to certify the youth, simply just to give them knowledge). We learned that La Casita is a second home to about 120 youth, who use the facility to do homework, study, have something to eat, brush their teeth, plant an organic garden and play games. As of now, the Casita consists of 4 classrooms, a kitchen, an office and a bathroom. They have an outside area to play in, but it doesn´t belong to them (they are hoping to purchase it), as well as they have an outdoor organic garden which they grow food that they use to cook. We were happy to find out that the Casita was made possible because of the strong partnership with the Winnipeg Y, growing over the past 40 years. 

"What time is it Mr. Shark?" on the beach!
We visited the other branch of the Y in San Jose which was the gym, workout area and pool. Carla, the CEO, hosted a BBQ with all the leaders and employees of the Y there to welcome us. 

During our stay in San Jose we stayed with Fernando Ramos, the vice-president of the board of the San Jose Y. Fernando and his family were very hospitable and welcoming to us.

After the weekend in San Jose, we came to camp on a school bus with a group of campers and leaders. The bus ride began at 8am, and was nothing short of 2 drums, a tambourine, singing and laughter. Oh, and there was also a megaphone in the mix. About half way through the trip, a herd of cows started to run towards the bus! We slowed down and waited for the cows to separate to the sides of the road. We started to speed up again, only to see they were quick to turn around and herd with the bus. 

First aid class
Camp Artigas is very rustic and beautiful. There are an abundance of eucalyptus trees, a river and sandy beaches. There are four main zones with cabins and bathrooms. We are staying in the central zone. The main activities during the day are beach games, boating, canoeing, zip-lining, and games in the forest. There are also some arts and crafts. There are coordinators and camp employees here, but the leaders run the show. We have been able to incorporate our ideas, games, and songs from home with the groups. The heat during the afternoon is very trying. Tonight some of the groups will be sleeping in tents after cooking super on a bonfire (supper here is at the earliest 9pm). We´ve only been here for a few days (including our time last week), the camp in deep in tradition and so far we´ve barely scratched the surface. 

We´re not sure when we will have access to a computer again, however when we do we will be sure to send another update. Tara is also able to send pictures through her phone when she has a chance.

We hope all is well back at home!


Tara, Marjan and Kristen

Friday, February 3, 2012

Update from Uruguay!

L-R: Marjan, Kristen & Tara

Below is our first update from our Urugay exchange participants, Kristen, Tara and Marjan.

Hola de Uruguay!

We arrived Sunday morning at 11am, and were picked up from the airport by Adrian and Omar. Then we were taken to our home stays. I am staying with an elderly lady named Margarita, who is in many ways the Uruguyan version of my Grandma. The last two days we have spent acclimatizing to the hot, humid weather of Montevideo, while meeting everyone from the ACJ, the Asociacion Cristiana de Jovenes. We’ve been sharing information about our different facilities in Canada, and learning about the various Y facilities here in Uruguay.  It is refreshing to see that we are so far away from home, yet the Y is just as strong with its programs and values here in Uruguay. Of course things are run a little differently here, however most importantly our countries are both working towards the same goals.  It is enlightening to listen to people here talk about the Y, and see the belief and passion they have for the organization.  It seems as though the organizations are focused in the same areas, recreation and social programs. The most important thing to the people here is building relationships between members and practising the core values in action.

The Downtown branch, which I am currently staying right next to, is a centre focused on child and youth programs. There is a gym and a pool, and people have memberships; however, the majority of the programs running right now are day camps for children and youth ages 2-17. We’ve been helping run the day camps during the afternoons, and it’s been a blast! The kids are adorable of course, and eager to show us they can count to 10 in English and say various things.  Yesterday, we had the opportunity to see the new school in the process of being built. The school will be for pre-schoolers, and the people from the Y are very proud and excited about it. They will be opening in March of this year, and will start off with a small class of ten children, with hopes of growing in the near future.

This weekend Marjan, Tara and I are being sent to the beach to get to know each other better, and to see the resort town of Punta Del Este.   We will then be off to Campamento Artigas next Tuesday. The following weekend we are going to San Jose to see the facility there and learn about the social programs going on. This Thursday we are also going to get the chance to talk more in depth about the social programs going on in Montevideo.

Other than that, the food has been amazing, and the people have gone above and beyond to ensure we are comfortable and safe. Tara, Marjan and I are getting to know each other, and we are very happy to be here!

I hope all is well at home! Take care,

Kristen Schmidt
YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg

So far so good!

What a great opportunity! What a country! We have been welcomed with open arms. Everyone we meet is so kind and seems to be just as eager to learn English as we are to learn Spanish. It has really been a treat to see the similarities between the YMCA of Uruguay and Ys across Canada. They stress the importance of the YMCA core values and boast of all of their life-long Y members.

Though we have only been here a couple days we have already experienced so much and can´t wait to see what´s next.


Tara Molson 
YMCA Regina

Hi from Uruguay! 

Everything is going SO well and we love how beautiful it is here!  So far, we have spent the week visiting the different YMCAs in the capital city, and meeting some of the staff and the kids.  It's been really nice to build relationships with the staff and the kids at YMCA, because a lot of the same kids will be at Camp Artigas next week when we go.  It's also been so interesting to see how similar their YMCAs are to ours in Canada. We have had the chance to see a lot of their programs and how they run this week, and it's amazing how we do almost the exact same things in our children and youth programs as they do!  There's a bit of a language barrier because they predominantly speak Spanish (and my Spanish is pretty rustic!), but just by observing the programs, we can see the quality of their programs and we are able to point out the similarities. Yesterday, we helped with a program for 6 and 7 year old children. Their counsellor sat them all in a circle and started to explain a game.  Instantly, Kristen, Tara and myself were able to join the game because we had all played the same game with children in our programs back in Canada!  

Everyone here from the YMCA has been so hospitable to us!  The host family I am staying with this week has been taking very good care of me as well!  

We will continue to take pictures and keep you updated on everything that's happening here!  Talk to you soon!

Marjan Mogharrabi

We look forward to future updates from the exchange!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Peace Medal and Prezi

On January 30, 2012 at the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg's Annual General Meeting, Bre Woligroski was presented the Peace Medal.

An advocate and activist for human rights and social justice, Bre Woligroski has changed lives.  She was selected as this year’s Peace Medal recipient for her many acts focusing “on long term, sustainable impact on individuals and communities.” Click here to learn more about Bre!

Bre Woligroski receives the Peace Medal,
presented by Pamela Wright, Chair of the International Working Group,
and Dal McCloy, Chair of the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg's Board of Directors.

The International Working Group was given the opportunity to have a presentation available before the AGM in order to inform the many staff, volunteers and community members about the work that we do. Click here to view our Prezi!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Meet our Peace Medal recipient!

An advocate and activist for human rights and social justice, Bre Woligroski has changed lives.  She was selected as this year’s Peace Medal recipient for her many acts focusing “on long term, sustainable impact on individuals and communities.”

Just 31 years old, Bre has been involved in numerous justice initiatives: she was chosen as the official Canadian representative for the World Student Christian Federation’s Identity Diversity Dialogue Program in Thailand, speaking on issues of gender justice; she currently serves on several Boards including the Feminist Alliance for International Action and the World Student Christian Federation Global Board; she founded the Menno Simons College Social Justice Fair (now an annual event); she helped coordinate Take Back the Night in 2009 and 2011, marching to end violence against women in Winnipeg; she facilitates workshops and speaks publicly on gender equality. And as a volunteer delegate to the United Nations 52nd Commission on the Status of Women, she offered wording suggestions to the Agreed Conclusions that now influence gender equality worldwide.

These are just a few of her many, many initiatives.

Her nominator writes “Bre demonstrates the values and qualities of peace in that she works for justice and understanding in ways which are culturally sensitive and relevant.  She is gentle and responsive to the people around her, yet is firm in her commitment to social justice and equality.”  

Because of her works - both individual and collaborative - and her drive to create a world that is more compassionate and just, Bre Woligroski is the 2011 Peace Medal recipient.   

Monday, January 16, 2012

International Update

This past November, the International Working Group (IWG) was given the opportunity to partner with Ten Thousand Villages on Plaza Drive, as part of a national initiative that saw YMCAs and YMCA-YWCAs across Canada work with local Ten Thousand Villages stores in order to unite our similar missions to increase awareness of global issues.

Here in Winnipeg, volunteers from our working group spent the day in Ten Thousand Villages where we greeted the many customers in the store  and drew their attention to a slide-show outlining the work that we do here in Winnipeg through our international partnerships and events such as Peace Week. Those making purchases that day could use a coupon to direct 15% of their purchase to YMCA International Partnerships.

By allying our two similar missions, November 12th was very successful day for both Ten Thousand Villages and our IWG.  We were able to promote the day throughout our branches and draw new customers to the store.  We were able to speak to the regular customers in the store about how the Y supports international development across the globe.  As an extra bonus, we fundraised over $1,100!

With the holidays behind us, we’re now looking forward to our exchange with YMCA Camp Artigas in Uruguay. Kristen Schmidt, the Aquatics Coordinator in our Downtown Branch, will join Tara Molson from Regina and Marjan Mogharrabi from YMCA Guelph on a four week adventure that will see them integrate new programming into Camp Artigas, and learn about this successful Y Camp, with a view to bringing home a greater understanding of our partner.  

Submitted by Mel Marginet
Member, IWG

Stay tuned for our announcement of the Peace Medal recipient!