Montreal's senior monthly since 1986

Feb '10

Columns

Quake survivors get warm welcome in cold Quebec

Since Haiti was struck by a magnitude-7.0 earthquake, Montrealers have reached deep into their pockets to help the victims. In an instant, millions of people lost what had taken a life to build. Up to 200,000 people lost their lives in the disaster, while more than 250,000 were injured. The government has put measures into place to bring Canadians home.

It is estimated that 6,000 Canadians were in Haiti when the tragedy occurred. When these people started to return to Canada, many of them arrived in Montreal.

They were aided by the Quebec division of the Canadian Red Cross and by Quebec’s civil security upon their arrival. Sun Youth appealed for warm clothing to apparel companies. New coats, boots, hats and scarves were needed, as well as socks and underwear.

Sun Youth established temporary quarters at the Wyndham Airport Hotel in Dorval, where the organization’s volunteers meet with the earthquake survivors to evaluate their immediate needs. People were given water and food as soon as they disembarked the plane.

Some quake survivors will be staying with friends or relatives, and some are in transit. More than 40 companies have offered or pledged their support to Sun Youth. The needs are growing every day and we continue to do our best to meet them.

Clothing companies wishing to make a donation can contact Stéphanie Rocheleau at 514-842-6822 for more information.

The organization is not making an appeal for used clothing at this time. We will advise you if the needs change.

Sun Youth helps those on their way to a new life in this country.

Most of them will need to start from scratch and our organization will be there to support them in this process.

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Sikh congregations contribute to holiday campaign

December, 2009

Sun Youth launched its Annual Holiday Campaign October 28. This year, the goal will be to feed some 18,000 people for the holidays and to provide 10,000 new toys for children under 13. To accomplish this mission, Sun Youth is relying on the generosity of individuals, companies, and foundations.

For this Holiday season, Sun Youth received a generous boost from the Montreal Sikh community. Every year, this community supports various charities to underline the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, founder of the Sikh faith. This year marks the 540th anniversary of his birth. Guru Nanak taught that people should share with and help those in need. This is one of the three basic principles of Sikhism.

Two congregations decided to lend a hand to Sun Youth and offered us their support through various initiatives. On November 8, members of the Gurudwara Sahib Quebec congregation in Petite Patrie / Little Burgundy welcomed Sun Youth representatives to their celebration of Guru Nanak’s birthday. This marked the 23rd consecutive year that this congregation donated to Sun Youth. They presented Sun Youth with 200 $10 food vouchers that will be distributed to victims of fire assisted by the organization over the Holiday period. In December 2008, Sun Youth assisted 39 families that were victims of a fire.

The West-Island Sikh Community (Guruwara Sahib Greater Montreal) presenting their generous contribution to the Sun Youth Holiday Basket Campaign. Photo: Nicolas Carpentier

The following weekend, the Montreal West-Island Sikh community also commemorated the birth of Guru Nanak at a special in their temple: Gurudwara Sahib Greater Montreal in Dollard-Des-Ormeaux. On this occasion, the members of this temple donated 10,000 food items to Sun Youth as part of our annual campaign to help 18,000 people during this Holiday period.

This temple was founded in 1999 and counts a growing community of a few thousand members. We wish to thank the members of the Montreal Sikh Community for their renewed support this year. Together, we are confident that we will reach our goal in helping those who need it most.

There was also a lot of giving going on at Sun Youth on November 26. The CHOM and CJAD radio stations were doing the annual live broadcast of their shows from outside our St.Urbain headquarters. From 5:30 am to 8 pm, listeners were invited to drop by with a food or cash donation. Dr. Alain Leduc from Centre Dentaire Paris Loft, 83 Rachel St. E came by early to bring the annual contribution from the centre as part of their commitment to give a percentage of their profits to Sun Youth. The doctor came in with a $10,000 cheque to purchase milk and eggs for our emergency food bank.

The street collection was very successful and brought in $10,157 for a total of $20,157. We would like to thank Dr. Leduc, everyone at CHOM and CJAD, as well as their station’s listeners for their support this year. From all of us at Sun Youth, happy holidays to Senior Times readers.

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We’re gearing up for the holidays

November will be a busy month at Sun Youth. As each day gets us closer to the holidays, we are getting ready to assist thousands of people with food hampers and toys. Hopefully, they will have something to smile about at this time of year, despite the economy.

We would never be able to bring holiday cheer to so many people without the assistance of those who have been instrumental to Sun Youth’s ability to make a difference in the lives of many Montrealers. We recently had the chance to welcome the executive director of the J. Armand Bombardier Foundation, Lyne Lavoie, who generously presented our organization with a $20,000 cheque.

The weekend of November 7 will see the return of the annual Recyc-a-Bike (Recyc-Vélo) collection. For the third year, Sun Youth will collect used bicycles to be distributed to families in need next spring. This initiative is the brainchild of Michel Houle, general director of Houle Toyota. The bicycles collected during this weekend will be geared up by one of Houle Toyota’s mechanics.

People are invited to bring their used bicycles to one of the four collection points on November 7 and 8 between 9am and 4pm. Sun Youth will accept bikes at its headquarters (4251 St. Urbain); in the East End, bicycles can be taken to Houle Toyota (12305 Sherbrooke E.); North Shore residents can go to Collège Saint-Sacrement (901 Saint-Louis in Terrebonne); on the South Shore, bikes can be taken to Collège Jean de la Mennais (870 Saint Jean in La Prairie).

Lyne Lavoie, executive director of the J. Armand Bombardier Foundation, presents Tommy Kulczyk, Sun Youth’s assistant to the executive vice- president and director of emergency services, with a cheque for $20,000 Photo: Nicolas Carpentier

Sun Youth thanks everyone involved in this event. The end of November will mark the return of the annual live broadcast of CHOM and CJAD’s shows from the sidewalk in front of the Sun Youth building to launch our Christmas Basket Campaign. On Thursday, November 26, the morning shows of the two stations will air from 5:30 to 10am, the drive home show will be between 4 and 7pm.

People will be invited to give monetary donations or non-perishable foods for our holiday food hampers. Again this year, we will give baskets to about 18,000 people. In addition, more than 10,000 new toys will be handed out to the children whose parents are registered for baskets. As usual, these toys will be hand-wrapped by members of our Seniors Club.

There is still time to register for a Christmas or Chanukah basket. Come to Sun Youth from Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm with proof of address, proof of revenue and the medicare cards of everyone living at the address. The baskets will be handed out from December 18 to December 24. For more information, contact Sun Youth at 514-842-6822.

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New donation means seniors can get kosher food supplements

October, 2009

For a number of years, Sun Youth has offered food hampers to low-income seniors each month. This program allows them to concentrate their limited financial resources on concerns other than food.

The food is made available through donations from the public and private sector. Monetary donations are used to purchase essential items such as meat and dairy products.

Seniors can benefit from kosher food hampers because of the generous contribution of the Nussia and André Aisenstadt Foundation. The foundation’s president, Michael Vineberg, recently dropped by Sun Youth with a $25,000 cheque.

For those who cannot make it because of medical reasons, we offer a delivery service. It will be extended and allow us to visit isolated seniors. We will offer twice as many delivery days than before with staff dedicated to this sole purpose.

Tommy Kulczyk (left) and Sid Stevens (right) accept a $25,000 cheque from Michael Vineberg. Photo: Nicolas Carpentier

André Aisenstadt played a key role in establishing the Montreal Jewish General Hospital Foundation, acted as governor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and as president of the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal. He sat on the executive of the Université de Montréal, where he helped to create the centre de recherches mathématiques. For these accomplishments and many more, he was made Grand Officier de l’Ordre national du Québec in 1991. Born in Russia in 1912, Aisenstadt moved to Switzerland for his studies. There, he befriended Albert Einstein. He immigrated to Canada in 1939 because of rising political tensions in Europe.

Sun Youth wishes to thank the Nussia & André Aisenstadt Foundation and its president, Michael Vineberg, for their outstanding generosity. For more information on the Senior Food Supplement Program (regular and kosher), contact Sun Youth at 514-842-6822.

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He's more than our longest-standing volunteer: He's family

We would like to introduce Senior Times readers to Lyle McGuigan, who, with 28 years of loyal service, is Sun Youth’s longest-standing volunteer. On December 20, Lyle is going to be 78 years old.

Lyle McGuigan is flanked by Sid Stevens (left) and Helio Galego, who says Lyle is “like a living GPS!”

He first came to Sun Youth in July 1981. His brother was part of the Seniors Club and suggested he also become a member. After four months, Sun Youth executive vice-president Sid Stevens suggested that Lyle become part of the team and do some volunteer work with the organization. Lyle became responsible for making coffee for Sun Youth’s many volunteers and he worked in the administration department counting monetary donations and helping with administrative work.

Before coming to Sun Youth, Lyle McGuigan had been a taxi driver for many years, but a series of events led him to end up on welfare. He was also struggling with alcoholism. When Lyle first came to Sun Youth, his life was a mess, but Sid and the rest of the crew saw the good in him and decided to give him a chance. They have no regrets about integrating him into the Sun Youth family, of which he’s now a full-fledged member.

With the help of Sun Youth and support groups, Lyle put the bottle down for good, ending the unhealthy relationship he had started with alcohol many years before. Lyle took his last drink on February 9, 1989. Everyone at Sun Youth is proud of Lyle for his 20 years of sobriety.

“The Sun Youth staff was always behind me and gave me a lot of moral support when I needed it the most,” Lyle says. “Still today, they are always there for me. They’re like family!”

Just as we are there for Lyle, he, in turn, is dedicated to our organization. If you ever come to Sun Youth, whether to give or to receive, you will be greeted by Lyle and our information officers. If you are a senior who benefits from the food supplement home deliver y program, you probably see him every month bringing you a food hamper. It’s great to have Lyle around you when you go on the road, because, as a former cab driver, he knows the cit y like the back of his hand. Helio Galego, director of crime prevention and victim services, attributes his knowledge of the city’s streets to Lyle. “He showed me everything I know on how to get around in Montreal,” Helio says. “Lyle is like a living GPS!”

Sid Stevens also has nice things to say about Lyle: “Lyle is the type of individual that, if he didn’t exist at Sun Youth, we would have to invent him. He’s an individual that has been so helpful to our organization since we moved to our actual location back in 1981. For us, he’s part of Sun Youth; part of the foundation and part of the landscape. Sun Youth would not be the same without Lyle.”

For information on how to contribute to Sun Youth, call 514-842-6822 or visit www.sunyouthorg.com .

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Businesses and athletes help us – so we can keep on helping

July 2009

For 55 years, Sun Youth has been helping Montrealers in need. Such longevity can be explained by the partnership that the organization has established with the corporate world over the years.

Top: The Des Sources fundraiser: (From left to right; back row) Sun Youth basketball co-ordinator Kara De La Perralle, sports and recreation director Ernest Rosa, crime prevention co-ordinator Sacha Anglarill, hockey star Vincent Lecavalier, Sun Youth bike patroller Duane Collins, Des Sources Dodge Chrysler Jeep owners Benny Bouganim, Sebastian Pitruzzello and Sylvain Loiselle, Yvon Lecavalier (Vincent’s father), Sun Youth director of crime prevention and victim services Helio Galego, (front row) Sun Youth bike patrollers Gabrielle Vachon, Daniel Brisebois and Joey Di Caprio, bike patrol West Island supervisor Troy Graggs III, bike patrollers Marc-Olivier Roy, David Testa, Paul Brisebois, Jeffrey Araujo and Yussef Sakhir. Click image to view larger version.

One of Sun Youth’s long-time corporate partners is Des Sources Dodge Chrysler Jeep. On June 15, the good people at Des Sources welcomed hockey star Vincent Lecavalier for an autograph signing fundraiser at the Dollard des Ormeaux dealership. Fans of Lecavalier were invited to bring sports memorabilia to have it autographed by the Montreal- born Tampa Bay Lightning player and were treated to a free barbecue.

The Sun Youth Bike Patrol West Island team was onsite to assist with the event. The funds collected went toward financing the Sun Youth Day Camp. Sun Youth would like to thank Vincent Lecavalier and everyone at Des Sources Dodge Chrysler Jeep, including owners Benny Bouganim, Sebastian Pitruzzello and Sylvain Loiselle.

Tidan Hospitality Group: (From left to right) Le Nouvel Hôtel & Spa general manager Carlos Solomon, Sun Youth basketball co-ordinator Kara De La Perralle, sports and recreation director Ernest Rosa, Le Nouvel Hôtel & Spa sales and marketing director Michelle Elfassy, Hôtel Maritime Plaza sale and marketing director Nicolas Billerot, general manager Andre Albano, Travelodge Montreal Centre sales and marketing director Danny Lioi, Le Meridie Versailles Montreal & Château Versailles sales and marketing director Sandie Moran and John Dore.

The Sun Youth Sports and Recreation Department established another partnership with the corporate world in December 2008 for its annual holiday basketball tournament. This event has been an institution for over 25 years. It brings together teams from Quebec and other Canadian provinces as well as young athletes from the United States.

In the current economic climate, it has become increasingly difficult to attract teams from outside Montreal because the costs of transportation and housing are too much for those at the amateur sports level.

Prior to the beginning of the tournament, director of sports and recreation Ernest Rosa approached the Tidan Hospitality Group to obtain complimentary hotel rooms for out-of-town athletes taking part in the Sun Youth tournament. The Tidan representative did not hesitate to grant the organization 70 complimentary rooms for the duration of the tournament. On June 8, Sun Youth paid a visit to the Tidan Hospitality Group to honour their involvement by awarding them with plaques.

The Sun Youth Emergency Services Department counts on the support of corporations as well. The Parisloft Dental Centre has been a partner of Sun Youth for three years and gives a percentage of its profits to support the organization. For 2008-2009, Parisloft and Dr. Alain Leduc donated more than 6,000 dental hygiene kits to give to fire victims assisted by Sun Youth’s emergency response team.

Helping fire victims get smiles back on their faces: Dr. Alain Leduc with dental assistants Debora Kim (left) and Venise Drolet (right).

Dr. Leduc also announced that for 2009-2010, the centre will donate $10,000 to the Sun Youth Food Bank to purchase milk and eggs. The Parisloft Dental Centre adheres to the organization’s values of altruism, mutual assistance and commitment to build a strong relationship of trust with its patients and the community.

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We’re making plans for the summer, too

June 2009

Now that the nice warm weather is upon us, people are making their plans for the summer. Whether planting flowers, working around the yard or taking a trip with the family, everyone wants to make the most of this season. Sun Youth is also planning ahead for the summer.

For the second year in a row, Sun Youth will embark on a summer food drive in order to cope with the increase in demand for the emergency food bank. In 2008, even before there were talks about recession and financial slowdown, our organization was making an urgent appeal to the public and to companies to receive non-perishable food donations to replenish our almost empty warehouse shelves. The increase in basic food prices and the high cost of gas have both augmented the number of people asking for our food bank services and decreased the quantity of food items received as donations. Thus, we saw a 13-per-cent increase in demand and a 30-per cent decrease in donations last summer.

Now that our country is officially in a recession, more and more people are knocking at our doors for emergency assistance. At this moment, Sun Youth provides emergency food assistance to over 2,500 families a month. This represents an increase of 24 per cent over last year. Despite the amazing generosity that the public and companies showed during the last holiday period, these resources won’t be sufficient to assist all of the underprivileged families requesting our services this summer. In that spirit, we urge Senior Times readers to contribute to our emergency summer food drive. Donations can be dropped off directly at Sun Youth headquarters at 4251 St. Urbain. Pickups can also be done for large donations collected at organized food drives. Companies such as food distributors are also encouraged to donate to our food bank, and pickups can be arranged.

Although this latest emergency food drive has just been launched, some companies and foundations have already answered our cry for help. On May 28, Sun Youth received a very generous donation from the RBC Foundation. Tommy Kulczyk, Assistant to the Executive Vice-President and Director of Emergency Services at Sun Youth received a cheque of $10,000 from Richard Légaré, vice-president for the Montreal-centre region at RBC Royal Bank. This amount will be used to purchase perishable food to include in the food hampers given to our clientele.

Bell employees also contributed over $5,000 to this summer’s food drive by giving funds to purchase milk and eggs.

Sun Youth would like to thank everyone who has already contributed as well as those who will support us this summer. For more information on how to contribute to Sun Youth, call us at 514-842-6822 or visit us online at www.sunyouthorg.com

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Time to shine the spotlight on some of Sun Youth’s stars

Sun Youth’s team of regular volunteers. Click image for larger version. Photo: Nicolas Carpentier

May, 2009

From its beginnings in 1954, Sun Youth Organization has been shaped by its volunteers, eventually evolving into what it is today. From the young boys who created the Clark Street Sun, the handwritten newspaper that started it all, to the hundreds of people who offer their invaluable support through Sun Youth’s many assistance programs, volunteers have been making things happen for over 50 years.

To commemorate National Volunteer Week (April 19 to 25) Sun Youth held a casino themed volunteer recognition ceremony on April 24. The red carpet was rolled out for the Sun Youth stars – all those volunteers who give of themselves on a regular basis. There are so many that we couldn’t possibly mention all of them, but here are a few of the stars who make Sun Youth what it is:

Freda Kopyto has been volunteering at Sun Youth four to five days a week for 13 years. She is on the front lines, greeting people as they come in to get emergency food assistance. She takes care of seniors, children, single parents and families, treating them all with the dignity they deserve.

Sister Suzanne Lachapelle has volunteered for Sun Youth for nearly four years. She works two days a week, greeting clients who come in for food assistance, entering data in the computer system and doing other office work. At 79 years old she is a tough act to follow!

Tom Stewart

Tom Stewart has been a volunteer for Sun Youth’s football program since 1985. He is a manager of the midget team and he takes pictures at various other Sun Youth sports events. Stewart also devotes a lot of his time to the Quebec Midget Football League. He really takes the youth to heart.

Jeanne Fournier has donated her time to Sun Youth for 15 years. She, along with other volunteers, receives donations of used clothing and sorts them out for people seeking clothing assistance. She is a full-time volunteer who always has a smile for those in need.

Léonce Simard volunteers at the Sun Youth warehouse 20 hours a week. He has been with the organization for 10 years. He and other essential volunteers are responsible for sorting through food donations and preparing the food hampers Sun Youth distributes. He is proud to say he is about to start his 11th year.

Marie Cayer is the president of the Sun Youth Seniors Club, a position she has held for three years. She takes care of the members, organizing outings and activities for them. The club is self-funded and gets its financing from such events as dinners, bingo games and bazaars. Marie reminds us that the next Seniors Club Bazaar will be held at Sun Youth (4251 St. Urbain) on Friday, May 8. Bargain hunters are welcome from 10 am to 3:30 pm.

Sun Youth would like to thank all of its volunteers for the great work they do. If you wish to become a volunteer at Sun Youth, contact Lyne Chartier at 514-842-6822.

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Tragedy inspires generosity at Sun Youth

We all heard about the tragic death of Olivier Turcotte, 5, and Anne-Sophie Turcotte, 6, on February 21 at their home in Piedmont. Their father has been charged with first degree murder. In the children’s obituary, the mother, Isabelle Gaston, asked people to reach out and to help those in need instead of sending flowers.

This message greatly touched a Montreal business man, himself the grandfather of two children about the same age as Olivier and Anne-Sophie. He contacted Sun Youth Organization and decided to anonymously give $10,000 towards purchasing milk and eggs for children under the age of 12.

“The timing for this donation is perfect,” said Eric Kingsley, coordinator of client services. “On a daily Tragedy inspires generosity at Sun Youth basis, we have seen the number of families requesting the services of our emergency food bank jump from 80 to 125 in just a few months. Many of these families have children under the age of 12. This $10,000 will help us cope with the increased demand.”

“Since this donation has been announced, a few other donors came forward and offered to support us in our efforts to feed the children, said Sid Stevens, executive vice-president of Sun Youth. “One particular donor is looking into purchasing honey to include in all of the food hampers given to expecting mothers.”

Stevens says that the donor responsible for the $10,000 wants to inspire other donors to do something similar and give to food banks across the province of Quebec to help feed children. “There are 132,000 people using food banks in Montreal on a monthly basis; 82,000 of them are children. The Piedmont tragedy sparked something positive among our donors, but there is still a lot of work to be done to help children in need,” Stevens said.

We remind you that the Sun Youth food bank will once again embark on a spring-summer food drive. Bring non-perishable items to Sun Youth, 4251 St. Urbain, Montreal, H2W1V6. Collect food at your workplace and call us to pick it up. Contact 514-842-6822.

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Calling all bike award recipients for 25th anniversary

March 2009

In the weeks preceding the holidays, food stocks at our warehouse fell to an alarmingly low level. In an explosion of generosity unseen since the ice storm of 1998, donors came through for the 18,000 who were promised a holiday hamper. Sun Youth is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its annual bike giveaway program. These bikes will be awarded to youth whose actions have had a positive impact on their communities or who have shown extraordinary courage when facing exceptional circumstances.

Do you know of a young Montrealer who deserves a new bike, a safety helmet and a bike lock? Send the person’s name and age and what he or she did to merit a new bike. Please include your name and telephone number.

Send submissions to Sun Youth – Bicycle Committee, 4251 St.Urbain, Montreal, QC, H2W1V6 fax 514-842-5241 or email bicyclettebike@ sunyouthorg.com no later than March 27.

Fifty deserving candidates will be honoured in May on the birthday of the anonymous donor responsible for this distribution. For 24 years, this donor has allowed Sun Youth to distribute over 1,000 new bicycles to deserving youth. For this 25th anniversary, former recipients of this award are asked to contact Eric Kingsley at 514-842-6822.

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Holiday efforts keep Sun Youth busy

Many volunteers, including the Coutu family, helped Sun Youth during its annual Holiday Hamper distribution this season, which saw 18,000 people receive non-perishable food baskets and new toys.

While most staff and volunteers got some well deserved time off, the Sun Youth Emergency Services first responders (along with the Red Cross) were called to fire scenes 18 times over the holidays to provide food, medication, and other assistance to victims, a vast majority of whom lose everything they own with no insurance.

In other seasonal efforts, Sun Youth has been working in collaboration with the Quebec Heating Oil Association (AQCM) for the past 17 years to provide free heating oil to families who can’t afford to fill up their tanks. After a financial evaluation, Sun Youth contacts one of the participating oil distributors to send a delivery truck to fill half of the family’s oil tank, free of charge. In the first week after the launch of the program, six families had received heating oil and thousands of litres had been donated by the various oil companies.

On a different note, the Sun Youth Food Bank will be kicking off its Senior Food Supplement programs starting in February. Senior Food Giveaways will take place February 2, March 2, April 6, May 4, June 1, September 7 and October 5. Senior Kosher Food Giveaways will be on February 5, March 5, April 2, May 7, June 4, September 3 and October 1. In December, we will hand out Christmas and Chanukah hampers.

From everyone at Sun Youth, thanks to all for your support and all the best for 2009!

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Sun Youth Seniors gear up for the holidays

Volunteers from the Sun Youth Seniors Club wrapping toys for 12,000 young ones: (from left to right) Réjeanne Cronier, Roger Lemieux and Fernande Plante

On November 27th, CHOM and CJAD were broadcasting live on the sidewalk in front of the Sun Youth building for our Annual Holiday Collect.

Once again, Montrealers were very generous. From 5:30 am to 7:00 pm, volunteers from the two radio stations and from Sun Youth were collecting funds and non-perishable food items in preparation for the Sun Youth Holiday Basket Campaign which will be helping 20,000 Montrealers again this year.

Sun Youth will also be distributing 12,000 new toys to children whose parents are registered for Christmas baskets. These toys are individually wrapped by members of the Sun Youth Seniors Club.

Sun Youth has been registering people for Christmas baskets since September. Those who wish to apply are requested to bring a proof of income, a proof of address and the Medicare cards of everyone in their family, including the children. The information is then entered in a database and sent to the Montreal Central Index to avoid duplications and to make sure everyone registered gets a food hamper.

From all of us at Sun Youth, Happy Holidays and the best for the New Year and beyond!

Info: 514-842-6822

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Paul Newman’s legacy lives on

On September 26, 2008, actor Paul Newman died after a long battle with lung cancer. Sun Youth’s Sid Stevens thought highly of Newman, not only because of his very successful movie career but mainly because of his community involvement, here and all over the world.

In 1982, Paul Newman founded Newman’s Own, a company that produces a line of all-natural food products. Since its foundation, Newman’s Own has given away more than $250 million to charities around the world.

In 1986, Sun Youth’s Executive VP received a surprise visit from two gentlemen who said they were representing a well-known American actor. They told him that Sun Youth was being considered for a grant.

Nine months passed and Sid Stevens almost forgot about it until he received a phone call from Newman’s Own informing him that Sun Youth had been selected as the sole recipient of the profits in Quebec from their line of foods.

For seven consecutive years, Sun Youth received the support of the Newman’s Own Foundation to assist people in need. Between 1987 and 1995 Sun Youth was granted $150,000 and the equivalent of $100,000 in food products to be included in the baskets distributed through the organization’s senior monthly food supplement program.

Sid Stevens never had the chance to meet the screen legend to thank him for his generosity but he did receive a personal note from him: “A lot of people have ideas but never do anything about it. Other people have dreams but never do anything about it. Other people have ideas and dreams and do something about it. Your organization is doing something and is committed to it.”

“He was very impressed with Sun Youth’s various programs, from our emergency food bank to our summer camp in l’Annonciation,” Sid recalls fondly.

Paul Newman co-founded the Newman’s Own organization with the following mandate in mind: “The more profits we generate, the higher will be the amount given to charitable organizations.” Sun Youth was fortunate enough to receive donations from Newman’s Own until 1995, when their products stopped being distributed in Quebec. From all of us at Sun Youth, farewell Mr. Newman. You will be missed.

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Sun Youth seniors shine

Sun Youth seniors club on Bingo Day

It’s a well known fact that our country’s population is aging rapidly. In 2005, Statistics Canada indicated that senior citizens (65 and over) were representing 13.1% of the population. By 2036, they estimate that seniors will constitute 24.5% of the population.

For Sun Youth, senior citizens are esteemed members of our society. As a result, we work very hard each day to improve their quality of life. A multitude of services specifically catering to their needs are available to them. Emergency services such as our monthly food supplement programs and our medication program are aimed at assisting seniors in distress. Sun Youth also offers recreational acti­vities through its Seniors Club.

The Sun Youth Seniors Club has 136 members, all very active in the organization. People 55 years young and up are eligible to become members. Fees are $5 a calendar year (January to December). There are additional fees for organized outings but they are very moderate and vary between $15 and $25 depending on the event. The rest of the activities are free with the annual membership fees.

Every week, the Sun Youth Seniors Club offers a full schedule of activities with something for everyone to enjoy. Tai Chi classes are offered every Monday and Thursday afternoon and allow our seniors to stay in shape. On Tuesday mornings, a sewing and knitting group meets, where seniors share their techniques and work together on projects. On Wednesday afternoons, it’s bingo day, one of the most popular activities of the Seniors Club. On Fridays, outings are organized and bring our group to venues across Quebec, Ontario and the States. For a reasonable price, Sun Youth offers transportation and lunch.

Each year, the members get a chance to visit various locations such as Quebec City, Park Omega in Montebello (a wildlife park where animals roam free) and enjoy events such as the Tulip Festival in Ottawa and the Mondial des Cultures in Drummondville. They also go shopping in Vermont, apple-picking and sugaring-off in season and take cruises. Apart from these trips, theme-oriented parties are also organized throughout the year: Mothers’ and Fathers’ day, Hallowe’en, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and Easter.

The Seniors Club is self-funded by its members. In addition to membership fees, events are also organized to help finance the club’s activities. One of the events is the Seniors Club Annual Bazaar. Each year, volunteers of the club invite bargain hunters to take advantage of incredible offers on new and used goods. The very popular Bingo activity and the theme-oriented parties also help to finance the Seniors Club’s activities.

The members of the Seniors Club are also very much involved Sun Youth through volunteer work. They are responsible for individually wrapping the 12,000 brand new toys distributed to families in need through our Holiday Baskets Campaign.

For more information on the Sun Youth Seniors Club, please contact Mr. Tom Stewart, President of the Club at 514-842-6356. We hope you will become part of our big family!

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Every day a blast at Sun Youth summer camp

Sun Youth day campers enjoying a ride on the Garden Train at Exporail

What a summer it's been at Sun Youth, especially for the children at our day camp.

Despite the poor weather conditions, every day was a blast for the 80 kids. Throughout the summer, our friendly counselors organized many activities to put smiles on the faces of the young campers.

This year, day camp started June 23. As usual, parents registered their children months in advance to be sure to get a spot. Parents appreciate that for a very reasonable cost, their children are busy all summer long and fed breakfast and a hot lunch, plus a snack in the afternoon, enough for plenty of energy. Children are grouped by ages 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12, with 18 counselors supervising.

Day camp is a great place to make new friends. Kids come from very different backgrounds, both socially and culturally. Special financial arrangements are made with parents living on limited incomes. The maximum fee for the full 8 weeks is $500.

Outings included a day at the waterslides, fun in the sun at Sablon Beach and Parc Jean-Drapeau beach, a Jungle Adventure trip at the Laval resort for the two younger groups, and bowling trips every other week. At Sun Youth, they took part in photo club activities and arts & crafts on alternating weeks. Big thanks go to Wayne Oliver (photo club) and Carlos Anglarill (arts & crafts) for organizing these activities.

One of the most popular activities this summer was the visit to Exporail at the Canadian Railway Museum in Saint-Constant. On July 25, eleven enthusiastic nine-to-ten-year-olds enjoyed a day of fun and activities, riding the streetcar and the Garden Train, driving miniature trains and climbing aboard locomotives. The visit was organized by Exporail and CIT Roussillon, the South Shore transit company that recently inaugurated regular daily service to the museum, to celebrate Exporail's new door-to-door accessibility from downtown Montreal, providing lunch and transportation and a conductor's hat for every camper.

Camp ended August 15 with the traditional talent show for parents. After a day at the waterslides, the children returned to Sun Youth for a dinner with their parents. There were prizes for campers, such as Best Smile and Most Helpful. For every group there was also a ÒSuper CamperÓ chosen. These four lucky kids won brand new bicycles.

Campers displayed their skills on stage, ending with a video montage showcasing the summer's highlights.

Registration for next year's Sun Youth Day Camp begins March 2009.

Info: 514-842-6822

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Coming through in a big way

Tommy Kulczyk, Sun Youth Assistant to the Executive VP and Director of Emergency Services, with Lyne Lavoie, the J. Armand Bombardier Foundation's Director of Administration and Grants

In July’s column we related how the Sun Youth Food Bank was having tough times because of greater demand and increasing food and gas prices. We are pleased to announce that our cry for help was well heard among the public, companies and community groups.

In response to our appeal, many organizations arranged food drives throughout Montreal. Individuals assisted us with shopping spree purchases brought to Sun Youth, and important cash donations were also made by the public, including many Senior Times readers.

So many people helped out that it would be impossible to name them all. Notable gifts include $20,000 for food purchases from the J. Armand Bombardier Foundation , and thirty Montreal Scotiabank branches and Concordia University have been collecting non-perishable goods since our appeal was made. Senior citizens have also done their part. The Côte St-Luc Senior Men’s Club responded with an ongoing drive for non-perishable items. Major supporters have included Heinz Canada, St-Viateur Bagel and countless others.

Radio and TV coverage also helped, and special thanks go to Corus Québec for broadcasting a public service announcement on its 6 local radio stations.

So far donations have filled over 70 bins, or over 24,000 non-perishable food items! Though impressive, we encourage the public to continue helping as the toughest weeks are still ahead of us. From all of us, thanks for your immense generosity.

The Running Room/Walking Room is once again organizing a 3 & 5 mile race on Mount Royal with all profits going to Sun Youth, to be held Saturday, August 9 at 9 am. There’s still time to register – fees are $30. For info call Race Director Caroline Kronlov at 514-730-7804.

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Shortage of food, abundance of spirit

Sun Youth volunteers gather around former Seniors Club president Mary Murphy at a recognition ceremony

Summer is a season of firsts: the first time you ride a bicycle, the first time away from your parents at summer camp or the first time you move into your own apartment.

At Sun Youth, this summer brings something new. Our food bank is short of food. For the first time in 54 years, Sun Youth has embarked on a summer non-perishable food drive to replenish its almost empty warehouse shelves.

A number of factors are responsible for the shortage. An increase in food prices is affecting our purchasing capacity and that of our donors. We purchase less food with the same amount of money. Soaring gas prices aren’t helping either, adding to the financial burden of our clientele, mainly low-income workers who need their vehicles. This means more people come to Sun Youth for assistance.

Food donations are less of a priority in summer. With an increase in demand fuelled by these realities, we are forced to contemplate reducing quantities of food given to our clients.

With 2,500 families assisted every month, Sun Youth desperately needs donations of non-perishable food. They can be dropped off at Sun Youth, 4251 Saint-Urbain. Call 514-842-6822 or visit sunyouthorg.com to make a monetary donation specifying that the donation is intended to buy food.

On a more positive note, Sun Youth recently honoured its volunteers, many of whom are members of the Seniors Club. We paid tribute to the former President of the Sun Youth Seniors Club, Mary Murphy with the unveiling of a painting.

From all of us at Sun Youth, pleasant summer wishes. Enjoy the pleasant weather but keep us in your hearts.

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Sun Youth teams up with the Montreal Police

Sun Youth’s new partner in crime… prevention! The Montreal Police’s new mascot Flik! surrounded by Inspector Sylvain Lemay, Nina McGregor, Director of Sun Youth’s Crime Prevention Helio Galego and Polinours, the former SPVM mascot.

Since its inception in 1954, Sun Youth has always worked hand in hand with the Montreal Police to make our community safer for everyone, young and old alike. In 1984 our organization started its Bike Patrol Unit, comprised of 6 patrollers working with the officers of one single station, the old Montreal Police Station 17 (which has since then become the Firefighters museum).

Now 24 years later, 30 patrollers will once again act as the eyes and ears of the Montreal Police in the city’s parks and playgrounds, on bike paths and on main streets. Throughout Montreal Island, patrollers will work in teams of two, with each team assigned to a different neighbourhood police station in a total of 11 districts. For 6 of the patrollers, whose ages range from 14 to 17, this will be their first working experience. Hired as part of the “Teens on Patrol” unit, each will be paired with a senior patroller in a mentor-to-tutor relationship.

The entire crew will be introduced to the public on June 4th at the official swearing in ceremony. Distinguished guests will be in attendance, including Inspector Marco Carriera and Commander Alain Larivière, as well as govern­ment representatives and city officials. Prior to the ceremony, patrollers will receive CPR training and a bicycle safety course from a longtime partner of Sun Youth, Sergeant Pascal Richard.

The Sun Youth patrollers will be supporting the 100 members of the Montreal Police Bicycle Patrol. In this photo: our patrollers surrounded by Agent Cédric Lafrenière (left) and Sergeant Pascal Richard (right).

For the second summer in a row, the Sun Youth bike patrol will work in partnership with the CN Police to evaluate the number of people crossing over the CN railway outside of designated areas, a dangerous behavior that CN Police officers are trying to eliminate. Bike patrollers will also have a mandate to keep a close watch for people using their wireless phones without hands-free devices while driving. As of July 1 this will carry a $115 fine plus a penalty of three license demerit points.

Throughout summer the patrol will represent Sun Youth at many public events. Génie Vélo, a series of bike safety workshops for children, will be presented in association with the Montreal Police, with Sun Youth patrollers taking part in different crime prevention projects.

Patrollers Vanessa Di Tullio (left) and Rubens Ernest (right) pose alongside Montreal Police Chief Yvan Delorme at an event highlighting National Police Week.

As in past years, the Bike Patrol will pay special attention to senior citizens. Visits will be made to residential and long term care centers, bringing company and conversation to residents. During heat waves, the patrollers will give advice to seniors on how to stay cool. Patrollers will also be dispensing home safety tips.

Sun Youth and the Montreal Police recently introduced a new member of the Force. His name is Flik! and he is the new mascot of the SPVM. He is replacing the former mascot, his father Polinours, who is retiring after 30 years of loyal service. The name of this new furry friend was chosen in a contest won by 9-year-old Nina McGregor, a student from the Gerald McShane School in Montreal-North. She has been rewarded by Sun Youth with a brand new fully-equipped mountain bike, in addition to being named Police Officer for a Day. As for our patrollers, they will once again be using Schwinn bicycles donated by Dorel Industries. All patrollers are equipped with a first aid kit, blanket and Sun Youth teddy bears. Each team is also equipped with walkie-talkies to communicate with the Sun Youth headquarters and with one another. The Sun Youth Bike Patrol will be active until August 15.

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Bike giveaway at Sun Youth

After a winter that seemed to last forever, spring is finally upon us. Here at Sun Youth, this means one thing: it’s the beginning of Bicycle Month. Throughout May, various events will underscore this yearly tradition. Brand new bicycles will be distributed to deserving children on May 2 and on May 17, refurbished bikes will be handed out to underprivileged families as part of the “Recyc-a-Bike” promotion.

For the 25th consecutive year, an anonymous donor known to the public only as “Bikeman” will allow Sun Youth the distribution of about 60 new bicycles to youths whose actions have had a positive impact on their community or to young people who will have shown extraordinary courage when facing exceptional circumstances. Since last February, Sun Youth’s Bicycle Committee has received over 120 applications from which it will select the best candidates to be honored at the May 2nd ceremony. These exceptional children will also receive a protective helmet and bicycle lock.

Then on May 17, from 10am to 4pm, partners Houle Toyota and Sun Youth will team up with Musiqueplus/Musimax and Radio-Énergie to distribute some 450 refurbished bicycles that were donated by Montrealers last November and geared-up by Houle Toyota’s mechanics in their spare time throughout last winter. In May of 2007, this activity was a huge success and every single bicycle collected and refurbished by the Toyota dealership found its way into the hands of underprivileged Montreal families.

Bicycles of all sizes (children to adult) will be distributed on a first-come first-served basis to families pre-registered for the event. Volunteers from Musiqueplus/Musimax and Radio-Énergie will be helping out with this effort, and with a barbecue for everyone to enjoy. It’s all happening at Houle Toyota (12305 Sherbrooke East). There may still be spots available for families who wish to receive these free bicycles so people are encouraged to contact Sun Youth (514-842-6822) for further information.

From everyone here at Sun Youth, happy Bicycle Month and be safe on the roads and bike paths!

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Model train show to benefit Sun Youth

Model train enthusiasts will want to mark the weekend of April 19 in their agenda because one of the biggest model train shows in Quebec is back at Sun Youth for the third year in a row. The show was originally started in 1990 and held at various locations including Marché Bonsecours and the Montreal (Blue Bonnets) Hippodrome. Since 2006, the event has been back in the Sun Youth gymnasium where it all started 18 years ago.

I recently had the chance to speak to the person responsible for creating this event. His name is Ivan Dow and he has been an enthusiast for many years. For Mr. Dow, model railroading is a great hobby because it involves multiple aspects, such as electronics, architecture, landscaping and design. It also involves some history since layouts are often created with a specific era in mind. Mr. Dow will once again be present at the model train show exhibiting his “Thomas the Tank” layout.

The show's organizer, the British Model Railway Club of Montreal, will exhibit a four-square-meter modular layout created by its team of nearly 30 Canadian and British expatriate enthusiasts. Sun Youth has worked closely with BMRCM's David Tozer over the past several months to set up this event. He notes that it offers collectors a chance to discover hard-to-find items and competitive prices by bringing together multiple vendors under one roof. There will also be activities organized for children, teens, adults and seniors. Guests will be able to operate some of the layouts presented and learn about the technical aspects of model railroading with the many clinics and demonstrations offered.

It’s all happening at Sun Youth Organization (4251 St-Urbain, between Rachel and Marie-Anne) on Saturday, April 19 from 10 to 5 and Sunday, April 20 from 10 to 3. Admission $8 adults, $6 seniors, $4 children under 18, free for children under 6. Since parking around Sun Youth can be problematic, free parking will be available at Home Depot (on Beaubien, between Park Avenue and St-Laurent Boulevard) with a free shuttle service to Sun Youth.

For more information about this fundraiser please contact Mr. David Tozer at 514-245-7691 or at tozerdd@sympatico.ca.

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