by Rhonda Massad
Montreal Mayor Coderre made a rare West Island visit last Friday, June 19, to the West Island Association for the Intellectually Handicapped (WIAIH) Kizmet Centre in Pierrefonds to lend his support to the family resource unit.
Eric Dugas, borough councillor from Ile-Bizard/Ste. Genevieve was proud of the turn out.
“A visit from the Mayor Coderre, Liberal MP for Lac-Saint-Louis, Francis Scarpaleggia as well as the Pierrefonds-Roxboro Mayor Jim Beis shows me that we have tremendous support,” Dugas told The Suburban in an interview.
“This was my neighbourhood when I was growing up,”Dugas said, “This was a family home 40 years ago, my house was just behind it and we played in this yard. It was a safe place then and it will be a safe place now.”
According to Dugas one out of four families in Ste. Geneviève lives below the poverty line.
“We tend to think everyone is well off on the West Island,” Dugas explained, “there are no other family resource centres on the West Island and there is a growing need.”
The Kizmet Centre will encourage healthy child development and positive parenting practices to all families with young children in Ste. Geneviève, Pierrefonds West and surrounding communities. Parents will be able to drop in for programming in family support, play based early learning and reading readiness.
As an extension of WIAIH’s preschool in Ste. Geneviève, parents will benefit from reduction of isolation of parents with infants, toddlers and preschoolers as well as have access to other community services.
The Kizmet Centre plans to start construction in March 2017 and open their doors in December of 2017. To date more than $270,000 has been raised towards a total goal of $2 million.
WIAIH showcased its commitment to the Kizmet Centre by committing $200,000 to the project. Since 1958, WIAIH has sought to enhance the lives of people with an intellectual disability or autism, to provide support to their families, and to maintain and develop innovative services and sensitize the community.
More information about he Kizmet Centre can be found at www.centrekizmet.ca