The YMCA awarded Pictou County Safe Harbour with its Group Organization Peace Medal at an early morning ceremony on Monday, Nov. 19.
“There were probably 240 people there and they’re probably better morning people than I am,“ laughed Safe Harbour chairperson, Sarah MacIntosh Wiseman during an interview after the event.
“We know that there are a lot of local community coming together and building a truly diverse and inclusive community in a way that benefits everybody that’s here,” said MacIntosh Wiseman, who accepted the award on behalf of the group.
Monday’s award ceremony comes as part of the YMCA’s Peace Week, which continues nation-wide until Nov. 24. The three awards handed out were all in recognition of individuals, youth, and organizations working toward creating peaceful communities.
“We can’t take it for granted,” said MacIntosh Wiseman. “It needs to be something that we thoughtfully and deliberately build into our communities.”
Through the Trinity United Church, Pictou County Safe Harbour started as a local organization aimed at welcoming refugees, and has grown into a registered non-profit working for refugee resettlement and in creating a more formalized framework that it hopes will soon support large numbers of newcomers and locals alike.
“Keep the openness, and keep the momentum of bringing people to our small and rural areas,” said Peace By Chocolate CEO and keynote speaker at Monday’s event, Tareq Hadhad. “I know that Halifax is growing, so now we should take and focus in on our more rural societies, whether it’s in New Glasgow or Antigonish, on the newcomers.”
“They’re coming, they’re starting businesses, they’re raising their kids, they’ve contributing to the societies that they’re now in.”
The other award recipients on Monday were Beth McNeil who won the YMCA’s youth award for her work in pushing back against bullying as Co-Premier of the Nova Scotia Student’s Association. Henry Green also won the individual award for his dedicated volunteer work with Junior B Midgets, and Weeks Major Midgets teams.
“Seeing all these people coming in the early morning is so inspiring,” said Hadhad. “I have never been more optimistic as I am today, and the greatest days for our province are still ahead of us.”