Hamilton Good to Know: YMCA peace medal nominees

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The 2015 Peace Medal nominees have been announced (CBC)

The names of this year's nomineees for the YMCA Peace medals have been released.

The medals are given out to residents who foster a culture of peace and tolerance. There are three categories, Adult, Youth and Youth group. The presentations to the winners will take place at the YMCA Peace Medal Breakfast, Tue. Nov. 24 at the Hamilton Convention Centre by Carmen's.

Keynote speaker at the breakfast is Jacob Lief, Founder and CEO of Ubuntu Education Fund which supports raising orphaned and vulnerable children in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Here is the YMCA list and bio of nominees:


Stephanie Bye, Burlington: Bye volunteers with organizations including the Ontario Youth Advisory Committee and Community Development Halton, an organization dedicated to social development for all. Fueled by personal experiences with poverty, bulling and abuse, Bye believes that if she can inspire people to love themselves, she can make the world a better place.

Cindy Carey, Waterdown District High School teacher: Teacher Cindy Carey facilitates and trains students to become compassionate leaders. She creates a fair and welcoming community for all through initiatives including restorative justice practices in her classes and the JUMP (Justice-Inspired, Understanding, Motivated People) Club.

Mary Craig, former coordinator of the St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School food and nutrition program in Hamilton: Teacher Mary Craig developed and coordinated successful nutrition program for St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School. While Craig is now teaching at a different school and no longer runs the program, she was instrumental in its creation, development and success.

Ray Cunnington, founding member of Culture of Peace Hamilton and longtime treasurer: Ray Cunnington's many contributions to peace included a donation to the Hamilton Community Foundation, through which a Culture of Peace Fund was created to provide sustainable funding for peace activities in the city. He has been a member of Project Ploughshares, The Gandhi Peace Festival Committee, the Peace Think Tank, The Hiroshima Day Program Committee, the United Nations Hamilton Branch Board and the Quaker Society of Friends, and was a founder of the Peace Garden at Hamilton City Hall.

Alison Witt, volunteer with Micah House Refugee Reception Services in Hamilton
Alison Witt belonged to a group of local residents who would see the Micah House Refugee Reception Services in Hamilton begin in 2006. She was on staff, following up with clients transitioning from Micah House into the city, providing a sense of community and friendship. Witt is no longer an employee, but continues to support former clients as they make adjustments within the city.


Catharine Bowman, St. Mary's Catholic Secondary School, Hamilton: Catharine Bowman has dedicated thousands of hours to promising scientific research into a cure for chronic lymphedema, a condition her mother suffers from. Bowman juggles her scientific research with a full Grade 12 curriculum while also being a member of student council, an honour roll student, leader of the school choir, basketball coach , chief organizer of `We Scare Hunger' food drive, and songwriter and lead singer in The Number Station band.

Martin Buenaventura, St. John's College, Brantford: Martin Buenaventura has been a role model for newcomer youth at his Brantford high school since he arrived in Canada from the Philippines. He's involved with YMCA Youth Fusion, a peer mentorship group that brings together newcomer teens with youth raised in Canada for activities including volunteering, diversity training and workshops on topics such as self-esteem and problem solving. Participants have many opportunities to make new friends, share their cultures and find out about Canada through their peers' eyes. Buenaventura encourages other newcomer youth from his school to also become involved.

Alexandria Montague, St. Thomas More Catholic School, Hamilton: Montague is an honour roll student and prefect who has been a member of her school's social justice club since Grade 9. She holds a leadership position with school activities focusing on social justice issues. She's a busy school and community volunteer who together with her sister founded Sisters4Sisters, an organization that builds awareness and raises funds for female-focused Hamilton community organizations.

Muneeb Muzaffar, Orchard Park Secondary School, Hamilton: Muzaffar leads a number of student groups. Outside of school, he recognized a need for youth opportunities and organized a program for at-risk youth focusing on building character and leadership skills.


Best Buddies, Orchard Park Secondary School, Hamilton 
The Best Buddies leadership team works to eliminate discrimination around special education while teaching the student body about peers with exceptionalities. Best Buddies leaders pair students from special education classes with volunteers from mainstream classes for such things as visits and games over the lunch hour, school-wide events and school trips.

Celtic Circle Student Leaders, Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School, Hannon
Celtic Circle members are dedicated to promoting social justice by increasing awareness of teen mental health, dispelling the myths and stereotypes that surround mental illness, preventing the violence and discrimination that face these individuals and their families, and promoting positive mental health for everyone.

Gael Guides, Cathedral High School, Hamilton
The Gael Guides create a welcoming, non-threatening school community for students new to Cathedral High. This includes visiting all Grade 8 classes of feeder schools for Cathedral High to let students know what to expect from high school. These student leaders also host a Grade 9 orientation day scavenger hunt to help orient new students to the school.