YMCA of Greater Toronto 2017 Peace Medal recipient Wali Shah is a spoken word poet and public speaker. Wali uses storytelling and art to raise awareness on social issues and empower audiences, and inspires them to empower others. He is currently studying at the University of Toronto, and advocates for social change through his work.
He has shared poetry, conducted writing workshops for young at-risk men, and featured as a keynote speaker at hundreds of schools, corporate events, and educational conferences across Canada. Wali shares his personal story and experience growing up in the Peel region and illustrates the need to help others through spoken word poetry. In his speeches, Wali tackles key issues, including mental health, positive life choices, and anti-bullying.
Wali has volunteered for the betterment of the community on a local and national scale through Bell Let’s Talk, CrimeStoppers, and the United Way, and served as an ambassador for their work. Over the past five years, Wali has helped raise over $1 million for the United Way via speaking engagements and involvement in corporate campaigns. He partnered with CrimeStoppers both locally and internationally as a youth voice, and has spoken at CrimeStoppers events offering a youth perspective on crime through personal narrative to both students and influencers such as politicians and government officials. He was selected as one of Canada’s Faces of Mental Illness, and shared poetry and narrative regarding his experiences as a youth with mental illness via the Bell Let’s Talk Campaign.
Wali will be honoured at our Peace Medal Ceremony during YMCA Peace Week, November 18–25, 2017. Visit our website to learn more about how you can get involved.