YMCA of Greater Toronto honours individuals including first-ever President’s Peace Medal recipient at annual awards

November 28, 2018

Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri among honourees

TORONTO, November 28, 2018 – This morning, the YMCA of Greater Toronto recognizes a select group of community members at its annual Peace Medal Awards. These individuals have demonstrated continued dedication to building peace within their communities. Additionally, the YMCA of Greater Toronto will award the first-ever President’s Peace Medal to Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri for his continued dedication to empowering youth and women in Toronto and abroad.

Violence has long plagued Canadian communities but in our city, it’s getting worse. YMCA programs and services play an important role in creating the conditions for peace and addressing the early warning signs that can lead to violence. The YMCA of Greater Toronto believes it is more important than ever to celebrate individuals who are striving to further peace.

“In times like these, we need strong leaders to help us build peace,” said Mayor John Tory. “I’m proud to be here today to celebrate these Torontonians who are standing up for fairness, equality, empathy, and inclusion, and making our city a better place to live for everyone.”

This year’s YMCA Peace Medal recipients are Dale Swift, an officer with the Toronto Police Service who volunteers with youth, and Loizza Aquino, a student and mental health advocate who founded Peace of Mind Canada. YMCA Peace Medals celebrate grassroots efforts to build peace. This year, the President’s Peace Medal was introduced to focus on those who may already be in the public eye for a wide variety of reasons, but are using their stature to advance the cause of peace.

“We all know the saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ At the Y, we also believe it takes a peaceful village to raise a peaceful child. As a community, we need to come together to uphold the building blocks of peace,” said Medhat Mahdy, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Toronto. “We need people, like Dale, Loizza and Masai, who are committed to building peace, and inspiring others to do their part.” Each year, the YMCA of Greater Toronto joins YMCAs across Canada to celebrate acts of peace by awarding the YMCA Peace Medal. For more information, please visit: ymcagta.org/peacemedal.

For more information contact:

Alexa Ciufo, Veritas Communications/YMCA of Greater Toronto
E: ciufo@veritasinc.com | T: 416-955-4573

About the Peace Medal

For the past 30 years, the YMCA of Greater Toronto has celebrated acts of peace by recognizing individuals and groups who have demonstrated a commitment to building peace within their community or communities elsewhere in the world. Alongside YMCA Peace Week, local peacemakers receive special recognition at a Peace Medal Awards ceremony hosted within the Greater Toronto Area. The theme for 2018 is Act for Peace. The Peace Medal recognizes the achievements of individuals or groups who demonstrate in their lives and activities the values of participation, empathy, advocacy, community, and empowerment. In 2018, President’s Peace Medal Awards were introduced to recognize select individuals.

About the YMCA of Greater Toronto

For well over a century, we’ve provided leadership and worked with partners solving complex social problems to create real, measurable outcomes that have strengthened the social health and fabric of communities. As a charity, the Y offers a variety of programs responding to the needs of the community, including education and training, employment and immigrant services, family and youth services, health and fitness programs, child care and camps. Serving the population of the Toronto, Durham, Peel, York and Halton regions and Dufferin County, last year the YMCA made more than 580,000 connections across 440 locations.