On April 1st, West Island Community Shares announced that it had reached its fundraising goal of $1.2 million. Today, there was cause for celebration when the funds were distributed to 40 West Island community groups at the “Live Here, Give Here Celebration. More than 300 people including donors, partners, elected officials, volunteers and community group representatives attended the event held at the Salle Pauline-Julien.
Ms. Nada Nasreddine, President of West Island Community Shares, praised West Islanders for coming together to reach the goal of $1.2 million in a challenging economic situation. “West Islanders from all walks of life rallied to help their fellow citizens in need.”
“Two weeks before the end of the campaign, The Tenaquip Foundation generously matched donations to a cap of $20,000 to help us reach the goal. On the last day, an anonymous family foundation offered to triple donations to close the remaining gap. The response from West Islanders was overwhelming and, together, we did it,” added Caroline Tison, Executive Director.
1 in 5 West Islanders turns to a community group for help every year. More than 60% are children or youth. They are struggling with hunger, cancer, autism, bullying, substance abuse and more.
At the Celebration, four West Islanders shared their powerful stories. One young woman told of learning to cope with a diagnosis of aggressive ovarian cancer with the help of the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre; another shared how CALACS West Island helped her deal with the aftermath of sexual assault. A 17-year-old girl explained how Portage helped her to overcome substance abuse and a former student of the Harfang des Neiges School in Pierrefonds spoke of how, thanks to the Breakfast Club program at the school, he started his day on a full stomach.
“These stories shine a light on the needs in the West Island and the importance of the work of community groups,” said Chantal Carrier, President of the Fund Distribution Committee.
The first Shirley Miller Award was given to Natalie Chapman, Executive Director of WIAIH at the event. The award, named in honour of the former Executive Director of the Pierrefonds Community Project who passed away in 2015, recognizes a person for his or her outstanding contribution to improving the quality of life of West Islanders.
Lifetime achievement awards were given to Ms. Mary Clare Tanguay, the recently retired Executive Director of West Island Citizen Advocacy, Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay, recently retired from the West Island Assistance Fund and Mr. André Hupé for his contribution to Assistance Bénévole de l’Ouest-de-l’Île.
The event was also an opportunity to bid farewell to Ms. Tison who is leaving West Island Community Shares after 12 years as Executive Director and to welcome Leanne Bayer, who officially takes the helm on August 1st.
Finally, West Island Community Shares distributed the $1.2 million raised during its campaign to the following groups to support them in their missions of helping West Islanders with many different needs.
CANCER (9% of funds allocated)
Accompagnement Bénévole de l’Ouest-de-l’Île (ABO) – $34,000
Provides transportation and accompaniment to treatment for residents battling cancer or other critical illnesses who have no other means of transportation.
Venturing Out Beyond Our Cancer (VOBOC) – $39,000
VOBOC is dedicated to easing the cancer journey by granting special requests for adolescents and young adults undergoing cancer treatment.
West Island Cancer Wellness Centre (WICWC) – $30,000
Offers a whole-person approach to cancer care focusing on the physical, emotional, social, spiritual and educational needs of those experiencing cancer.
MENTAL HEALTH (21.5% of funds allocated)
ANEB Quebec – $53,000
ANEB Quebec helps people whose lives have been touched by an eating disorder and their families. Eating disorders affect up to 10,000 West Islanders between the ages of 15 and 40 and their families every year.
Centre Bienvenue – $61,000
Provides support and psychosocial services in the community, and work reintegration programs to improve acceptance of mental illness and contribute actively to society.
Family Resource Centre – $15,000
The Family Resource Center works to support youth (ages 5-25), their parents and professionals affected by mental health issues such as learning disabilities, social skills and behavioral struggles. Individualized and specialized services include: social & study skills programs, counseling, parent support groups, professional workshops and referrals.
Friends for Mental Health – $45,000
Friends for Mental Health provide crucial support, counseling and respite services to West Island families coping with the mental illness of a loved one.
L’Équipe Entreprise – $38,000
Provides work activities that assist West Islanders living with a mental illness.
Omega Community Resources – $23,000
This day centre is open Monday-Saturday to assist adults with mental health problems residing in the West Island. The Saturday program offers clients support and follow-up while encouraging improvement of their self-esteem and autonomy.
YOUTH AND FAMILIES (36.5% of funds allocated)
Action Jeunesse de l’Ouest-de-l’Île (AJOI) – $40,000
AJOI youth/street workers offer prevention and intervention on issues such as drugs, alcohol, violence, sexuality, and homelessness to youths 12 to 25 years old.
AMCAL Family Services – $67,000
AMCAL provides a residence for teens in crisis and counseling services to their family members. It also offers a full range of programs and services for families in difficulty.
Big Brothers Big Sisters West Island – $38,000
This organization provides responsible adult guidance to children through quality mentoring and in-school programs. Trained volunteers are matched with children and support them professionally in their search for a full and happy life.
Carrefour des 6-12 ans – $49,000
The Carrefour provides services for children living in areas of our community where low income families make up more than 70% of the population, and where 42% of students have learning difficulties and require specialized education support.
Cloverdale Multi-Resources Family Centre – $29,000
Encourages children and families from the Cloverdale area and its surroundings who often live in difficult conditions to get involved with each other, to improve and maintain their well-being through various services such as animation, prevention and education.
De-Zone Youth Centre – $16,000
De-Zone is a safe, substance-free space where youth between the ages of 12 and 17 can spend time to hang out, talk with youth workers, get homework help and meet new people.
La Maison de Jeunes de Pierrefonds – $34,000
La Maison de Jeunes de A-Ma-Baie – $34,000
Les Maisons de Jeunes are activity and resource centers for youths that offer a constructive alternative to the streets and shopping centers for teenagers looking for guidance and a healthy place to hang out. For many teens, this place offers them a level of stability they cannot find at home.
Leave Out ViolencE (LOVE) – $27,500
Offers youth the support and skills they need to reject negative behavior and to replace aggression with more constructive ways to be seen and heard. LOVE’s unique approach of youth reaching out to youth has impacted the lives of hundreds of young people across the West Island.
LGBTQ Youth Centre ($5,000)
Provides a welcoming environment where young people questioning their sexual identity can easily and safely go to meet, talk, ask questions, develop relationships, and understand themselves.
Pierrefonds Community Project – $65,000
Provides services and programs for low-income and immigrant families. They also offer a young mothers program that helps girls as young as 14 years old cope with the challenges of parenthood.
Portage (West Island program) – $8,000
Provides specialized drug addiction rehabilitation programs for young substance abusers. Helps residents acquire the self-awareness and the competencies they need to overcome drug addiction and go on to lead healthy, productive, drug-free lives.
Project Cumulus – $5,000
Offers a substance abuse prevention program in schools and in the community for 12-30 year olds.
The Ecomuseum Zoo – $12,000
Teaches children and adults the importance of protecting the local environment and wildlife. Visitors can discover more than 115 species of live animals from Quebec in a natural setting. Offers a large variety of activities on-site and off-site.
West Island Youth Symphony Orchestra – $18,000
Offers young musicians (aged 8-25) the opportunity to develop skills, discipline, a sense of teamwork and a deeper understanding of music.
SPECIAL NEEDS & OTHER HEALTH (14% of funds allocated)
Association québécoise de voile adaptée – Pointe-Claire – $13,000
Makes it possible for those suffering from severe physical or sensory handicaps to improve their quality of life and integration into the community by learning to sail autonomously.
AVATIL – Towards Independent Living – $16,000
Offers one-stop, community-based services, including support networks for those individuals with a mild intellectual handicap living on their own, and residential alternatives for those requiring a structured living situation.
Light a Dream – $14,000
Provides young adults with special needs the opportunity to experience and learn in a productive business environment while providing the community with quality products and services.
WIAIH & The Pat Roberts Centre – $55,000
This special family resource centre provides preschool, recreational, residential and respite services to people with intellectual handicaps and autism and support to their families.
AWISH (Arthritis West Island Self Help Association) – $38,000
Provides information, education and support and an exercise program to West Islanders affected by arthritis.
West Island CALACS – $27,000
Offers help to women who have been the victims of sexual assault, as well as programs for the prevention of sexual assault. CALACS is the only service in the West Island to offer these services to women 14 years and older.
SENIORS, VOLUNTEERISM AND OTHER RESOURCES (12% of funds allocated)
Literacy Unlimited – $19,000
In the West Island, 35,000 youth and adults are at risk for poor health, unemployment, poverty, substance abuse, problems with the law and becoming outcasts in our society due to a low level of literacy. Literacy Unlimited helps to remove this stigma by offering a one-to-one tutoring program, adult education classroom assistance and a high school literacy program.
Volunteer West Island – $37,000
Recruits volunteers for the West Island non-profit community. Also implements social programs reducing isolation and assisting seniors to remain autonomous.
West Island Citizens Advocacy – $30,500
Matches West Island residents who need help with volunteer advocates who provide emotional, practical or social support.
West Island Community Resource Centre – $47,000
Offers information and referral clinics for people in crisis as well as workshops, publications and telephone services. On average, 7,000 residents seek health and social services information for themselves, their family, friends and neighbors each year.
Concertation Ouest-de-l’Île – $5,000
Supports collective action by encouraging information exchange, mobilizing interested parties and introducing actions that support community development in the West Island. CODI facilitates the involvement of all key stakeholders in addressing the community’s cross-regional issues (ex. transportation and housing).
FOOD SECURITY (7% OF FUNDS ALLOCATED)
Bread Basket Lac St-Louis – $20,000
Bread Basket Lac-St-Louis’ priority initiatives are to address food security with programs that provide access to healthy, fresh foods, social development issues such as environmental concerns and social housing, and to encourage and support a resident’s committee.
Breakfast Club of Canada (West Island) – $5,000
Does its utmost to ensure that every child receives two elements required for learning: a nutritious breakfast and a nourishing environment. The funding from Community Shares is used to run the club at Harfang-des-Neiges school in Pierrefonds
On Rock Community Services – $8,500
Offers a food bank, a school lunch service and a community diner to families in need.
West Island Assistance Fund – $37,000
Helps West Island families who need food or any other type of support resulting from a poor social condition. Also offers free summer camp experience for under-privileged children living in the West Island.
West Island Mission – $8,500
Provides food assistance and a popular Back to School Backpack program for the less fortunate living in the West Island of Montreal.