Know a hero making a difference? Nominate a hidden hero in your community

Dec 19 2017, 4:56 pm

Every day, thousands of selfless acts of kindness go unnoticed. Simple gestures like offering your seat to an elderly person or helping a stranger struggling with their hands full, are almost effortless, but what about others who go above and beyond and really try to create positive change?

Imagine waking up to find yourself living in a stranger’s house with people you’ve never met and everything you own is gone, again. This was the reality for former foster child, Eugenea Couture, author of Adoption Not An Option. Today, Eugenea is committed to sharing her story, raising awareness and advocating for the over 8,000 children and youth in foster care in BC.

After Jill Xu went on a community service trip to the Dominican Republic, her eyes were opened. Seeing firsthand the challenges faced in another part of the world gave her a new perspective and inspired her to start CACTES, a non-profit student-led organization committed to creating positive change and raising awareness on global issues.

Eugenea and Jill are just two examples of the many local community heroes who are committed to making our world a better place, but often go unrecognized.

Local heroes, social change leaders, peacemakers, secret agents of kindness—call them what you want—the YMCA wants to hear about them.

Every November the Y recognizes and honours these local ‘peace heroes’ through their annual Power of Peace awards event. Taking place November 19 at the Orpheum Annex in Vancouver, this annual event awards YMCA Peace Medallions to local peacemakers after they are nominated by members of the community.

Nominees (aka local trailblazers of social change) demonstrate a commitment to the values of peace through special contributions made within their community—locally, nationally or globally—without any special resources.

But here’s the catch: these folks tend to lay low and don’t seek recognition, so the Y is asking for your help to find them and remove the invisibility cloak from our community’s hidden gems.

Nominations are organized into three categories, youth (under 18), individuals and organizations/groups. One Peace Medallion is awarded per category. Nominations are being accepted now until September 4th. To nominate an individual or group, email a completed nomination form to [email protected], or visit’s the Y’s website to learn more.

The event will also feature special guest speaker, Dave Meslin, a Toronto-based artist and self-proclaimed ‘community choreographer’ (as noted on his business card), whose ideas around grassroots politics cut across traditional boundaries and evoke an inspirational dialogue. Meslin’s TED Talk titled, The antidote to apathy has had more than 1.4 million views.

To find out more, nominate a local peace hero or buy tickets for the event, visit the YMCA’s website.


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