OUR COMMUNITY SERVICES ARE OPEN TO ALL WOMEN AND GIRLS. THE GOAL IS DEVELOP WOMEN’S PERSONAL AND COLLECTIVE WELL-BEING, FOSTER COMMUNITY ACTION, AND ADDRESS NEEDS OF WOMEN AND FAMILIES IN OUR COMMUNITY.
The YWCA’s community services comprise a wide range of activities designed to help women and girls forge bonds, reduce isolation, take care of themselves, obtain counselling, respite, and information on many topics, inform themselves about their rights, and promote inclusion and social integration.
FAMILY CAREGIVERS SUPPORT PROGRAM
- This second year of operation was a period of consolidation and diversification of the services we provide to women who are caring for an elderly relative. Reiki, yoga and group therapy are now part of our support services.
- We set up a respite service to free up family caregivers so they could take part in the activities.
- Our network of partners is more familiar with our work and we have seen an increase in referrals from these groups.
CENTRE MULTI AND RELATED SERVICES
- One of the Centre Multi’s priorities this year was to develop activities in response to the needs of downtown families.
- We introduced the 2 X 2 program (homework help and sports and arts activities) and the Club de samedi (recreational activities) for children aged 6 to 12, the first day camp for spring break week, and a respite service for mothers of babies 18 months and younger. These were welcome additions to the services we were already offering to parents and children aged 2 to 5.
- We also set up a parents committee to support the centre’s operations and ensure that the needs of community families were being adequately met.
- In the area of literacy, 16 tutors worked with 16 participants on an individual basis to help them meet their learning goals. Over 40 women attended conversation workshops to acquire basic French and English language skills.
- Although less numerous than last year, volunteers nevertheless contributed 15% more hours because their mandates covered a longer time period.
- Some 51% of volunteers were students or job seekers, and the Volunteer Centre was a great way for them to acquire skills.
- Two companies chose the YWCA for their corporate volunteer program: Vidéotron and Keurig. Their participation was much appreciated as it made the winter holiday season a great success for our residents.
- Our partnership with Forward House to promote the social and economic integration of volunteers who live with a mental illness, allowed one volunteer to join the Fringues & Cie. program.
LEGAL INFORMATION CLINIC
- 82% of the consultations concerned the following areas of law: family, civil, labour, immigration and criminal, with a marked emphasis on family law.
- Because of our partnership with Pro Bono Students Canada, we were able to welcome 8 law students who provided personalized services in response to a variety of requests and led workshops on labour law and family mediation.
- Ms. Ewa Gerus, a lawyer who has volunteered at the legal information clinic since 2004, received the Saint-Yves medal in recognition of her exceptional contribution to pro bono legal services in Québec. The legal information clinic nominated Ms. Gerus to receive this honour.
WHO ARE THEY?
Ranging from a few months old to 86 years of age, 61.7% of the children, girls and women who benefited from our community services are of immigrant origins. 47.6% of them live in the borough of Ville-Marie and neighbouring areas. A total of 55% of the women who used the services of the Legal Information Clinic had an annual income of under $15,000.
Over 75% of the parents who used our family services said the activities allowed them to meet new people and construct a social network.
Demographic growth in downtown Montreal is proceeding at a lightning pace; among the groups that are experiencing rapid growth are families with children aged 4 or younger and seniors aged 65 and older. The population mostly comprises people living alone, and 47% of the residents are members of ethnocultural communities. Isolation, the need to forge ties, and lack of community resources were identified as major issues.1
#SUPPORTING A FAMILY MEMBER
More than one in three women in Québec (36%) aged 45 to 65 is a family caregiver. Some 30% of caregivers devote 10 hours and more every week to support caregiving activities. And, 63% of women caregivers aged 45 to 64 perform this work in addition to holding down a job, raising the critical issue of work/family balance.2
Over 2.4 million people aged 15 and older volunteer their time every year in Québec. The reasons for volunteer commitment are connected with a personal need to form ties, put their skills and experience to use, and acquire a social identity. Immigrants emphasize that their volunteer engagement facilitates social and employment integration and improves their language skills.3 For enterprises it is a means to give back to the community while serving as team bonding.
1 Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, Rapport final pour la ville de Montréal sur l’étude de besoins dans le quartier Peter-McGill, nov. 2013.
2 Institut de la statistique du Québec, Coup d’œil sociodémographique, Juin 2013, no.27. Portrait des personnes proches aidantes âgées de 45 ans et plus, par Charles Fleury. http://www.bdso.gouv.qc.ca/docs-ken/multimedia/PB01600FR_coup_doeil_45ans2013M06F00.pdf
3 Réseau de l’action bénévole du Québec, www.rabq.ca