The YMCA of Saskatoon made a very special presentation to the entire École St. Matthew School community on January 19 during a school assembly.
Each year the YMCA celebrates peace by recognizing individuals or groups who, without any special resources, status, wealth or position, have demonstrated a commitment to building peace within our community or elsewhere.
The YMCA of Saskatoon is pleased to award its 2017 Peace Medal in both the adult and youth categories to the entire École St. Matthew School community in recognition of the two-year effort to sponsor a refugee family from Burundi.
The honour is very well deserved for the active leadership shown by the administration and the sponsorship volunteer committee, for the caring of the student body in working to raise the funds, and for the far-reaching implications of teaching young people about their ability to effect positive change in the world.
École St. Matthew School began planning to bring the family to Saskatoon back in 2015, when Canada’s decision to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees was dominating headlines.
Parents Danielle Schock and Krista Schreiter brought the idea to St. Matthew’s administration to have the school privately sponsor a refugee family as part of the 1,000 School Challenge.
From there, a refugee sponsorship committee was formed with Schreiter and Schock serving as co-chairs, joined by St. Matthew staff and parents.The committee linked up with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, and were connected with the family, who were living in a refugee camp in Rwanda, after fleeing a years-long civil war in their East African homeland of Burundi.
The family of seven included children aged 11, 9, 6 and one month at the time.
The St. Matthew sponsorship committee is made up of: Krista Schreiter (co-chair), Danielle Schock (co-chair), Bev Vandenhurk (parent), Loren MacLennan (parent), Kim Taylor (parent and current chair of parent council), Dianne Marsh (teacher), Sonia Gouin (teacher), Principal Marc Colleaux, and formerly included then-principal Francois Rivard.
*Story courtesy of YMCA Saskatoon