One person really can make a difference. And eight can change the world.

Peace Medals were given to eight individuals and groups yesterday recognized for their work in bringing peace to local communities and even around the world during the 18th annual YMCA Calgary Peace Medal Luncheon.

The YMCA’s Jennifer Burgess said she was fortunate to have met the recipients and feels touched by their sacrifices.

“It’s just really inspiring see the perseverance and dedication of these people and it’s very touching. It makes you realize one person really can make a difference,” Burgess said.

This year’s recipients were chosen from 39 nominees.

“Calgary is known as a city where people make an extra effort to help those in need,” YMCA president Helene Weir said. “The recipients inspire us all to think about how we can contribute to a community that values peace at home and in the world around us.”

Jean Johnson, principal of Piitoayis Family School, was one of the individual award recipients, but feels her recognition belongs to the entire community.

“I feel very humbled and honoured, but I really should share this with the community because they are the people behind it,” she said. Johnson received the award for transforming the school from a place of bullying to a peaceful learning environment.