Peter Gilgan Family YMCA
410 Rebecca Street, Oakville

Blog Posts

Because of you, our community is a better place


Thank you to all our wonderful participants, sponsors and volunteers at#YMCAMoveforKids. You raised $65,171 and beat our goal of $60,000! Because of you children right here in our community will get the benefit of safe, caring learning opportunities in YMCA Child Care, Day Camp, swim lessons, recreation and more.

You make it happen…and we are so grateful. Thank you.

Sign out a book at the Human Library

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, learn about others, challenge stereotypes, share stories and promote understanding

Human Library event – Sunday, July 7, 2019

On the heels of Pride month, the YMCA of Oakville’s Diversity and Inclusivity committee invite the community to the second Human Library event, Sunday, July 7, 2019 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., which will focus on the stories of 2SLGBTQ+ individuals.

Human Libraries are events held all around the world, where attendees can ‘sign out’ a human book for a time and have conversations they would not normally have access to. Readers can hear their story, engage in dialogue, and build connections. The intent of Human Libraries is to learn about others, challenge stereotypes and prejudices, and provide a platform for members of underserved and underrepresented communities to share their stories.

The YMCA of Oakville’s Human Library is being held following Pride month and highlights several youth voices and issues relevant to Halton youth and the 2SLGBTQ+ community. The event is open to all ages and identities and to Y members and non-members alike.

The YMCA of Oakville Human Library provides participants the opportunity to sign out human books for 30 minutes at a time, as individuals or in small groups. A sign-up sheet will be available in-person only, and will be put out 15-20 minutes before the event begins. A staff member will be present to give time warnings and let participants know when to switch to the next book.

Event Details

Human Library Event
Sunday, July 7, 2019
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Sign in at the membership desk
Peter Gilgan YMCA
410 Rebecca Street, Oakville, ON L6K 1K7


Human Library Books

Ari Para

Ari (pronouns: he/him or they/them) is an AFAB Queer, Trans, Hindu, Sri Lankan Performer and Community Organizer. While completing their degree at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ari became involved with social justice groups such as the Brock Student Justice Centre, OPIRG Brock, and The Faith & Life Centre. Using their Theatre Minor, Ari has co-created multiple theatre pieces revolving queer identity and intersections of identity. Currently, Ari is working as a fundraiser in Downtown Toronto while developing a theatre production called That Power. It is a co-written piece about the intersections of faith, race, gender and identity.




Eva Lasting

Eva Lasting is a drag queen who performs in all types of venues in Toronto and all over the GTA including lip syncing in bars, hosting events, galas or fundraisers, and even in public libraries for drag queen story hour. She enjoys being involved in the communities she works in. Eva has a YouTube channel where she curates news stories and tries to give a more entertaining delivery of real Canadian social issues. Outside of drag Eva has a life here in Oakville with their partner, two cats, and many plants! Eva is also a student of social work at the University of Waterloo as well as a yoga teacher. Eva looks forward to meeting you and hearing all of your different questions.






Kai (pronouns: she/her) is a fourteen year old autistic lesbian. Her real name is Alexis but she prefers to be called Kai. She’s very passionate about birding, photography and music! Kai loves nature in general. Having autism definitely makes her life harder and she does consider herself disabled, but she always tries to not let it stop her from doing what others can do. Along with being autistic, Kai is also a part of the 2SLGBT+ community. She has identified as lesbian for a year now. Before that she had identified as bisexual since grade 5. Coming out as lesbian after identifying as bisexual definitely was hard since as she felt as if people would invalidate her. But thankfully everyone was very accepting. She came out to her parents last year and they are accepting and she is extremely grateful for them. Being autistic and being lesbian does make it harder to fit in and make friends, and she says it really does suck sometimes! But thanks to the Positive Space Network she’s met a ton of amazing and accepting people. Currently Kai is a part of the Youth Action Committee!



Kat Dziedzic

Kat (pronouns: she/her) is the Manager of Camp and Youth Engagement at the YMCA of Oakville. Over 10 plus years at the Y, she has had the opportunity for a number of travel experiences, including planning and facilitating the first Youth Exchange to Prince George, BC and a week-long conference in Bogota, Columbia for the YMCA of Latin America as part of the Young Ambassadors program. In June 2017, she was the inaugural recipient of the Helene and George Coward Award, recognizing her excellence in engaging youth in the community. As a part of this award, she had a month-long immersive experience in Kenya with the YMCA African Alliance learning about youth engagement and sustainability. She has a Bachelors Degree in Kinesiology and a Bachelor’s of Education from York University. Prior to working full time at the YMCA, she was an Itinerant Music Teacher in the York Catholic District School Board. Kat identifies as a genderfluid lesbian and musical theatre lover.



Keileigh Lowe

Keileigh is a queer non-binary person (pronouns: they/them) who works as a peer support worker at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital where they work with the early psychosis intervention team as well as the mental health day program. They have a lot of experience with mental illness both through their own personal struggles as well as their deep passion for psychology and mental health practices. Keileigh has a long list of diagnoses and has gone through their own recovery process including inpatient stays, groups, programs, trauma work, addictions work, and therapy. Through all of this Keileigh has become dedicated to mental health advocacy- facilitating groups online and in person, working on projects aimed at education, they are currently working on developing a podcast to reach a wider community, and they now work as a mental health support. Keileigh is an open book when it comes to their struggle, recovery, and success, and looks forward to discussing this further at the Human Library.



Sarina Sarraf

Sarina (pronouns: she/her) is a member of the Positive Space Network affiliated with R.O.C.K, serving 2SLGBT+ youth in Halton. The PSN team provides positive spaces for youth, facilitates peer support groups, provides access to transitional gear and engages community members with capacity building presentations. Sarina attempts to be a social maven, bringing wit and humour when connecting and networking within the community. Sarina is a Sheridan Alumni with a background in Social Work. She has had over five years of experience working in the Mental Health and Developmental sector. As a proud Halton native and member of the 2SLGBT+ community, she hopes to bring her intersectional knowledge to light when connecting with her peers.





Sydney Sziraky

Sydney (pronouns: she/her) is a queer woman. Her journey of coming out and accepting who she is has taken up most of her life. Between a heteronormative religious upbringing, and limited exposure to the 2SLGBT+ community, Sydney lived a sheltered life. It has been, and still is, her goal to unravel all of those teachings to show herself that there is nothing wrong with who she identifies as. Coming out is a hard process that unfortunately will never stop happening for her, especially with members of her own family. Though she is lucky enough to say her close family is accepting.




The YMCA, Raptors & Kawhi – Basketball Is Thriving in Canada

From Humble Beginnings at the YMCA, Basketball Has Taken Canada By Storm

In 1891, while working at the YMCA, Canadian-born James Naismith set out to create a new recreational activity to keep YMCA members active during the winter months. Naismith secured two peach baskets on opposing sides of the gym’s balcony, grabbed a seasoned soccer ball and rallied 18 young men to play his new sport, basketball.

Fast forward to 2019 and the Canadian basketball scene has reached unprecedented levels of popularity, largely thanks to the Toronto Raptors outstanding NBA playoff run which led them to win the NBA Championships over the Golden State Warriors. For the first time in history the Raptors brought the championship home to Canada, and to say Canadians are proud would be an understatement. Raptors fever has ignited the country, and while basketball is not our national sport, it sure feels like it right now.

We spotted Kawhi Leonard in Niagara Falls and, based on the over 1100 interactions with our tweet, fans can’t get enough of him! Check out the TSN Bar Down Article here. 


On any given night, drop into any YMCA across Canada and you’re bound to find aspiring young basketball players rallying a game of pick-up while donning their favourite player’s jersey; Leonard, Lowry, VanVleet, Siakam, Ibaka, Gasol, Green & many more. Many basketball stars have started their journey at YMCAs in Canada, consider Toronto Raptors Chris Boucher who played ball at the YMCA in Montreal while he was a dishwasher or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from the LA Clippers who regularly graced the YMCA in Hamilton.

Basketball will always hold a special place in our hearts at the YMCA and we are committed to helping youth develop basketball skills so they may one day pursue their dreams of being in the NBA. Whether you’re looking for some pick-up court time or development programs your local YMCA has got you covered. The YMCA of Oakville offers a variety of basketball programming for all ages. By signing your child up for basketball lessons with the YMCA, you’re giving them the opportunity to get involved in their communities, develop their team-building skills, strengthen their basketball game, all while making new friends in a safe environment.

To learn more about the basketball programs at your local YMCA please visit the links below.

YMCA of Oakville – JR NBA Program 

YMCA of Oakville Drop-in Basketball Program

Check out the NBA Commissioner paying homage to James Naismith from the YMCA for inventing basketball!

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Because of you, our community is a better place

  Thank you to all our wonderful participants, sponsors and volunteers at#YMCAMoveforKids. You raised $65,171 and beat our goal of [...]

Sign out a book at the Human Library

Don't judge a book by it's cover, learn about others, challenge stereotypes, share stories and promote understanding Human Library event [...]

The YMCA, Raptors & Kawhi – Basketball Is Thriving in Canada

From Humble Beginnings at the YMCA, Basketball Has Taken Canada By Storm In 1891, while working at the [...]