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Theresa Rowe and Veronica Merryfield receive YMCA Peace Medal

Photo: Theresa Rowe (left) & Veronica Merryfield (right) 

From November 19-25, during YMCA Peace Week, the YMCA of Cape Breton, along with YMCAs across Canada, celebrate the presence of peace in our communities and take time to reflect on the peace building work that happens all year both inside and outside the YMCA.

During YMCA Peace Week, we recognize those who make an impact by leading peace-building efforts that bring positive change to their community. 

A highlight of Peace Week is presenting YMCA Peace Medals to those who, without any special resources, demonstrate a commitment to peace through individual contributions made within their local, national, or global community. 

On Tuesday, November 21, Theresa Rowe and Veronica Merryfield were recognized for their community efforts with YMCA Peace Medals. 

Theresa is a community builder who was nominated by Emily Pelley for her work with many community organizations & groups including Dreams Take Flight, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Downtown Business Watch. She works at Subway on Charlotte Street, Sydney and after an increase in visible homelessness in the area this past summer, she launched a food pantry outside of the sandwich shop for those in need.  Theresa encouraged her coworkers, local businesses and community members support this initiative by donating what they could. The food pantry remains available with the addition of warm clothing items as the weather gets colder. 

Theresa acts with empathy as she works to make our community a better place for vulnerable youth and adults. Her nomination included a quote by Desmond Tutu that speaks to what she embodies: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”  

Veronica is an advocate for positive change who was nominated by the United Way of Cape Breton for her actions toward community inclusion. She before provincial legislature committees to promote gender-inclusive health-care delivery, making immediate impacts on public policy. She offers DEI training and speaks about the general perception of the LGBTQIA+ community and hopes that it will enable those experiencing discrimination and trauma to get the assistance they need right away, instead of simply hoping for improvements years – or even decades – down the road. 

Veronica leads with empowerment by creating a loving community where everyone is supported and welcomed as they are, she aims to educate and grow her community until everyone is accepting and welcoming to the queer community.

In addition to her advocacy work, Veronica is involved with board for multiple non-profit groups: Transition House, Every Woman’s Center, Cape Breton Center for Sexual Health, Conversion Therapy Survivors Connect and sits on the Advisory Council for the Status of Women.

Theresa and Veronica were both surprised by their Peace Medals on Tuesday, recipients were announced during a Peace Week reception at the YMCA event that directly followed the Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s Peace Week flag raising and proclamation.