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YMCA Canada Statement on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

For release on September 30, 2021

KINGSTON & BROCKVILLE, ON – YMCA Canada stands with all Indigenous Peoples as we mark the very first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a new Federal holiday that recognizes and commemorates the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools. Orange Shirt Day, which is also recognized on September 30, coincides with this holiday.

“On this day in particular we reflect on the cruelty of a system that continues to echo through the generations. 2021 has been especially difficult with the discovery of thousands of unmarked graves at former residential schools, a painful reminder for those who knew the truth, and a horrifying wake-up call for those who didn’t,” said Rob Adams, CEO of the YMCA of Eastern Ontario.

As a charity committed to helping each person reach their potential, we know the residential school system robbed so many Indigenous children of theirs. At the YMCA, we are committed to continuing to learn the truth about the residential school system and recognizing how the impact still manifests itself in 2021. We also know learning the truth is the first step, but not the last. Everyone must take action for reconciliation to happen, including us.

Through our YMCA Statement of Reconciliation, educational sessions for staff, opportunities to hear from Indigenous leaders, and reporting on YMCAs reconciliation efforts, YMCA Canada is committed to continuing to raise awareness and supporting YMCA Member Associations as they take action in their local communities. We reaffirm our commitment to continuing this work and finding new ways to do so.

YMCA Canada is pleased to announce that we are donating $67,836.80 to the Orange Shirt Society on behalf of YMCAs in Canada. This donation comes from the proceeds of sales of YMCA Orange Shirt Day t-shirts across the Canadian YMCA Federation. At many YMCAs today, staff will be wearing these t-shirts to raise awareness of Orange Shirt Day and all the pain and hope it represents. We are proud to have had the support of Phyllis Webstad and the Orange Shirt Society for this initiative.

Adams said: “While today is a time for reflection, it is also a time to look forward and to consider where we are in our journey towards learning the truth. Like us, we hope you’re also thinking about what you can do next. Together, we can become the ‘Canada We Want’ – a country that acknowledges our past and present injustices, as well as our collective responsibility to persist in our commitment toward reconciliation.”

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About the YMCA of Eastern Ontario

The YMCA of Eastern Ontario is a charity that provides programs and services to improve health and health outcomes, develops leaders, helps build social connections and provide safe, inclusive spaces for people of all ages. The Y is Canada’s largest provider of childcare with trademarked curricula and offers fitness and other programs including SCUBA, Karate and Total Life Care – specialized programming for individuals with chronic conditions.

For information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Colleen Gareau
Director, Marketing and Communications
colleen.gareau@eo.ymca.ca
613-888-9298