by Rhonda Massad
In the last six months Action jeunesse de l’Ouest-de-l’Île (AJOI) has reached more than 5,500 youth on the West Island with their 424 organized activities designed to provide kids between the ages of 10 and 25 years of age a safe haven.
According to AJOI’s CEO, Ben Langevin, they can do more. The government grants they receive fund the part time park animators but do not fund gym or park space. That has to be donated by the municipalities, churches or school boards.
“We have 11 part time students ready to work more than 120 hours per week,” Langevin told The Suburban in an interview, ”but we only have gym time for 90 of those hours. We need more gym time.”
Langevin said “The government simply will not pay to rent a room that belongs to the government. To have free access to a high school it has to be rented by the city and the city rents a bundle of hours to share amongst community groups.”
“We have an amazing turnout which is great but we operate at two thirds of our potential.”
AJOI would like to make an official call out to all municipalities, churches and school boards that should they have vacant space to let them know.
AJOI aims to improve the quality of life of young people and break the denial of poverty of the West Island. According to Statistics Canada in 2011on the West Island there more than 50,500 youth aged 10 to 25. According to the Planification Communautaire 2008 18% of our youth between 0 to 34 years of age live in a sector below the poverty line.