Since 1992, Carrefour 6-12 has been a community organization in Pierrefonds that specializes in youth academic perseverance. With schools closed since mid-March due to COVID-19, they have implemented a new summer program that integrates targeted learning modules to help children catch up on otherwise missed school work.

Subsidized mostly by the government, Carrefour 6-12’s main focus is to help children from ages 6-12 recognize their potential strengths and thus boost self-esteem so that they can lead towards a successful academic future. Families that can’t afford to send their child to expensive schools or city camps often benefit most through this organization.

Open during the school year and the summer, they support the child in many different aspects of education. During the school year, Monday to Thursday they offer a one-hour after-school program that helps them with academic matters, where Friday and Saturday the children are given the option of theatre, art, music, basketball or soccer. Their summer camp usually acts as a typical day camp with all the fun games and extra-curricular activities. This summer, however, they’ve decided to develop an initiative to support the children on missed schoolwork, amongst other changes.

We spoke to Carole Legault from Carrefour 6-12 on the implementation of this new program.

“It’s one hour a day, they are in groups where we have book exercises with every level from grade one to five. The demand from the schools are mostly for reading, most of our students aren’t from here originally, so we focus the hour on reading comprehension and work solely with the French school boards.” She notes. “The parents love it, we work with the computer a lot, and you know there’s some fun educational games on there, it’s animated and it’s fun, so the kids really don’t seem to mind.”

Carole also mentions the financial struggle involved with this program since usually the ratio for teachers and kids is eight kids per teacher, but with COVID-19 regulations this ratio diminished to three kids for one teacher.

“We need money because this year it will be a hard one. Because of social distancing, and especially when you’re inside during the school year, we’re going to have to hire more people and this is what we are looking for in September. The money will be to pay people and teachers their proper salary.”

West Island resident and former student of Carrefour 6-12 Jean-Frederic Daho notes how this organization has been helping him reach his full potential. 

“If there’s something I can tell you about Carrefour, it’s that wherever you come from, whatever age you are, they will always be there for you, even now with my new business they are there to support me. They started us at a young age even if you didn’t have access to classic training outside of the classroom. With Carrefour always putting us with sports and activities growing up, it was easy to make that choice when I was in University.”

Jean-Frédéric is now halfway through his studies at the University of Providence in Montana, with a scholarship in basketball. He is helping the organization this summer by giving basketball classes to the children.

“I think within these 20 years we’ve touched over 10 thousand kids. I’m raising money and trying to spend it the most efficiently, anything that could give them a self-esteem boost. If those activities around the education could give them ideas of what to do in life, that’s our job, to make them realize their own capacity.” Stated Carole. “We just push them a little bit and help them do it, help them succeed. We are there for them and they are there for us.”

The charity organization Partage-Action (West Island Community Shares) recently set up the West Island Solidarity fund to help with fundraising to support our local community organizations in these difficult times. Carrefour 6-12 is one of 41 groups included within the West Island Solidarity Fund. 

If you’d like to donate to support The West Island Solidarity Fund, including the initiatives from Carrefour 6-12, click on this link.

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