YMCA at Project Ploughshares Peace Fair: Acting as Global Citizens

Last weekend, YMCA Global Initiatives held an information booth at Project Ploughshares’ Annual Peace Fair. Thank you to Deborah Wong, a volunteer with YMCA Global Initiatives, for writing the following blog:

As I walked in the door of the Project Ploughshares Holiday Peace Fair, my eyes were caught by the vibrant posters all around the Fair, however I didn’t really have time to look over them until later. I was on my way to take my shift at the YMCA booth, where we would be spreading awareness about YMCA Global Initiatives and fundraising for our partners in YMCA Ukraine.

When people asked why we were fundraising for YMCA Ukraine, they were surprised to learn that YMCA Calgary has a partnership with Ukraine. In addition to participating in several international exchanges, as partners we often communicate and try to learn from each other’s strengths and challenges as YMCA Associations in different parts of the world. YMCA in Volyn (Western Ukraine) needed financial support in renovating their facilities, YMCA Calgary decided to collaborate with Ukraine in a fundraiser where all donations would go directly back to this project. YMCA Volyn created and led a workshop where participants learned how to make the crafts, such as earrings and greeting cards, which were then sold at the Peace Fair in Calgary. Before I volunteered with YMCA, I thought YMCA was only a place where I would go work out and swimming. I now want the community to know that YMCA is an international community development organization, which is why we participated in the Peace Fair- the most meaningful fair I have ever been to.

In addition to YMCA, different organizations also attended this fair to help people all around the world. You would have no idea how people are volunteering their time to help the people on the other side of the planet. After this fair, I realized how one person’s life can change the world. A volunteer once told me in the fair “In this world, we are all brothers and sisters. We are the global citizens of this world and that’s the reason why we have to help people who are in need.” As a global citizen, we can do way more than this, for example supporting local industries, getting involved in eco-challenge, or simply just send a letter to a child who is struggling in a less developed country. As a global citizen, we cannot simply enjoy our privileges, but must also give back to our communities as an obligation.

YMCA Ukraine Participants making crafts to fundraise for their facilities

YMCA Ukraine Participants