President’s Letter 2020

The Houses of Hope provide a welcoming, supervised, and structured environment for teenagers who are experiencing difficult, personal, family, school, and social situations. So with this newsletter, I hope to bring you up to date on the activities of the Brome Missisquoi Youth Foundation.

We were very fortunate to have completed our fundraising activities before Covid-19 shut everything down. Toni Marion and her committee hosted our sold-out bridge luncheon in October and raised $5,731. I am afraid it will not be possible to hold this event in 2020 due to the pandemic. We will continue to keep you informed of future plans.

The Christmas wreath project chaired by Jane Hayes had the benefit of Jane Morey’s past efforts and succeeded in raising $9,230. The use of Sally Webster’s barn made decorating a pleasant experience in spite of the weather. Anyone who is interested in assisting with decorations or deliveries please contact Jane Hayes

The newsletter raised $10,767. A big thank you to Nancy Page as well as to Serge Laflamme and Francine Maurice for the translation. Ron Frizzle and Robert McMaster tackled the mailing effort. Thank you both.

The Valentine Dinner broke all records. Anna Beth Doyle and Marnie McCullough chaired the event with their team of Francine Maurice and Jane Hayes. The event raised $25,448. This coming February,  we are not sure whether we can plan for another dinner. Anna Beth and Marnie plan to step back after many years of success so we will probably plan a simpler event by only having a live auction and forgoing the silent one. Only time will tell as to whether we can share a valentine wish in 2021. We would like to thank Cam Brown, who ably handled the live auction and Josh Bleser for organizing the reservations. The Auberge West Brome donated toward the cost of the wine which was gratefully appreciated.

For many years, The Foundation has thanked the Contat Trust for the support it has given the Houses of Hope and their residents. The Contat Trust Trustees made the decision to close the Trust and distribute the funds following the mission statement of Mme Yvonne Contat to benefit the aged and youth in the area. The Brome Missisquoi Youth Foundation was one of the beneficiaries. Mme Contat died November 25th, 1995 at her farm in Brigham, QC. In 1997, a meeting was held to inquire how the Contat Trust could help BMAYS. Attending the meeting was Robert McMaster, Chairman of BMAYS and Pasquale Delfino Director and Administrator. Robert McMaster sits on the present day Board of Directors of BMYF. The Directors had recently bought the house they had been renting and now had a mortgage. The Contat Trustees agreed to pay off the mortgage and started the discussion on building a larger building. The following year, the charter for the Brome Missisquoi Youth Foundation was acquired. The new group home, BMAYS, was completed in 1999. It has 8 private bedrooms and 4 bathrooms and is located on Bell St, Cowansville. It caters to Anglophone residents. Two other houses were built by the Foundation and paid for by the Contat Trust, Parallel, now Tremplin, on Ontario St, Cowansville in 2004 for francophone youths, and a bilingual house, The Living Room (Espace Vivant) in 2007 on Hanson, Cowansville, The Trustees have continued to support the Houses with funds for summer programs and large house maintenance issues. The Contat Trust has been a wonderful partner over the years and we are so grateful for their support and the generous donation.

“Life is not something you can take for granted. Go make the best of it.”  Mike B. (1998)

We would not be able to provide the youth we serve without the ongoing support of Foundations, Community organizations and individuals. We are grateful for the donations from The Eric Webster Foundation. The Raschkowan Foundation, The Chawker Foundation, The Knowlton Lions Club, The Church of the Ascension Ladies Guild, St. Paul’s Anglican Church Women, The Soutar Family, Francis Soucy,  Raymond James, 3 Macs, Rick Hart, Sally MacDougall, Leslie Jonas, Roger Rouleau, Sally Webster, Betty Ferrier, Dr. Stuart McLeod, Isabelle Charest and all other donors. With these funds, the teenagers have a chance at a better future.

With the residents being restricted to their Houses due to the pandemic, the Board decided to provide additional funds to each house to help provide indoor activities. Each House received $1000, which enabled them to buy what they needed. They purchased a BBQ and patio furniture to be able to be outside on the balcony, board games, computer, and a sewing machine. These were some of the sought after items. Distant learning may present the need for the Board to provide more technology in the future. So far, all the staff and residents are healthy, for which we are thankful.

Maintaining the three Houses is the Foundation’s largest expense and this is due to the age of the Houses and their teenage residents. Serge Laflamme, Vice President and Brian St Pierre have established a maintenance program which has helped to reduce possible surprises. This year $11,833 was spent on windows and doors, with a further $11,000 expense expected for the installation of a heat pump at the Living Room.

Together with our generous supporters, we will continue to provide at-risk youth the chance at a bright future in a safe environment.

Sincerely,

Sonia Raikes Smith, President

 

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Testimonies from of the residents:

BMAYS is a really good group home. The staff are caring and the food is good.  I don’t have any trouble with the other BMAYS residents.  The staff can teach new skills.  We normally do activities so we’re not bored.  I also get to learn how to cook.

-Damion MS

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My life at BMAYS was interesting, let’s say.  But most of all BMAYS helped me with my emotional needs and taught me how to react, stop and calm down during any situation.  Even though I still struggle with my Reactive Attachment Disorder, my primary worker Isabelle, has given me ways to help to help myself.  Being at BMAYS has boosted my self-esteem and has helped me to try new things.  As for the people at BMAYS, it was not bad.  I had my times at BMAYS that were not so positive but I feel that I have evolved here.  I would recommend BMAYS to anyone.  It just takes time when you are here.  You won’t feel a change right away or believe that BMAYS can help you or that you want to stay at BMAYS or even want to listen to what they’re saying, but trust me, in the end it was worth going to BMAYS.  They will help you.  They helped me.  A LOT of THANK YOUS BMAYS!  BMAYS also taught me to like the color pink.

Credits to:  Steph, Scott, Danielle, Isabelle, Synders, Colin, Hallie, Devon, Craig, Big Dan, Linda and Daphnee.

P.S I will miss BMAYS staff.

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Here at the group home the staff is always friendly and sometimes helpful. Some do have the same interests as me, but it’s still nice to have someone to talk to. Although it seems rare, the staff at BMAYS takes us out on group outings. And most of the time they are fun. On those days, the staff sometimes let us chooses what we want to do. At times, you do get tired of doing the same things over and over again, but every time I argue, they always have something to counter what I say.

In short, the group home here is great, even the residents are fun to be with.

D.M.S.

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The group home was a very great experience. They helped me even through the hardest times like for example my drug addiction; they helped me through that.

They gave me shelter, food, heat, clothes, a TV, an x-box and school.

M.R.

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I am very happy and proud of being a BMAYS resident because thanks to them I can learn how to face my problems and fix them.

The staff takes us on outings that are filled of fun and help us connect with one another and forget the reasons why we are here.

Thanks to all of the staff members (Steph, Dan, Julie S. Julie B. Isabelle, Scott, Synders and Devon) we can better ourselves and reintegrate society as new people.  T.D.C.

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Thank you for all the opportunities that I got to do at the group home and also for the opportunity for me to learn how to drive.

Thank you for all the wonderful activities we do during the summer.

Even though living in the group home hasn’t been the best everyday I’ve had good times have met new friends.

G.D.

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Dear Foundation,

How BMAYS changed my life. BMAYS has changed my life in so many different ways. It’s been hard to accept that I ma placed here but it was worth it in the end. When I first arrived nearly 9 months ago, I was not happy. I did not like a lot of the rules at first and that caused me a lot of anger. My reaction included a lot of outbursts, screaming and sometimes abusive language. I would always think I could never do this. I used to fight with other residents and sometimes I didn’t like them, but I had to live with them and that was hard to except. I actually became friends with some of the residence. I thought things would never get better, but staff said things will get better eventually and things didn’t get better as the months went by. I still have some anger moments but they have reduced quite a bit and they are not as strong as they used to be. When I would feel angry or any emotions, sometimes I would talk to staff about how I feel or how the situation was bothering me, or I would go to my room and look listen to music or the radio. As the months went by, I started to attend primary meetings. During those meetings I would talk with my primary worker about how it is going at the group home and how I feel and those meetings really help to change my life around. Thanks to staff, I now realize that anger won’t change anything, it just makes things worse. I learned that the hard way by getting room time and consequences. Now it is rare that I get consequences or room time because I have her learn to control my anger. Now I am in the final month at BMAYS and I have come along way since I arrived here nine months ago on October 25, 2017. Until I leave BMAYS, I know that staff will continue to encourage me each day and to keep helping me reach my goals in becoming a better person. BMAYS has changed my life so much that I want to thank the staff here for giving me the help I needed to change my behaviour and life around and becoming a better person to everyone. This is my story and I hope you liked it.      Emily A.

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Who am I ?

I am a teenager

Soon to be a man

I am not good in school

School here was so different

I am a good hunter

My grandfather taught me well

I like to solve puzzles

Sudoku stimulates my brain

I like music

Rap songs have something to say

I like camping

Being outside is being free

I am Inuktitut

Canada belongs to me

I am strong

I can throw a harpoon and kill a seal

I will return to the North

The North is my home.

Mark

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Dear Foundation members,

Living at BMAYS has changed how I act in general. When I first came to BMAYS I was going to school and doing drugs every day and skipping classes. So after I had a revision meeting and I was given the opportunity to quit school for the year and re focus on finding a job. Since that meeting I have found a job and I have not done drugs because I am trying to stay on the right track. So members of the foundation, this is how living at BMAYS has changed my life. They helped me stay on the right track.  By Kevin LC

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Hello. I’m Brianna. I’m 15 years of age this is my second time in BMAYS. Since I’ve been here I’ve got to do a bunch of activities because of your generosity like being able to go to the zoo, the gym and hopefully La Ronde. I want to thank you for giving the residents the opportunity to let us do all these activities.

Thank you.

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Dear Foundation Members

Thank you for helping me with my driving course. I appreciate your help and generosity because without your help I would of never been able to continue with my driving classes. Thanks you for your kindness.

Sincerely,

Jessica

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Hi. My name is Ryan. I’m a resident at BMAYS and I’d just like to say thank you for all the money and stuff you’ve given us and you guys have given a chance to experience stuff I wouldn’t be able to afford cause it’s really expensive like Park Safari, Bromont Water Slides, the Quebec trip and La Ronde. I just wanted to send you this letter cause I appreciate all the stuff you’ve done for us especially the snowboarding.

from Ryan

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Hi. My name is Keven. I’m 17 and I would like to thank you for giving us money. I was able to do fun things – most fun was snowboarding – and get my mind off trouble and Thank you again.

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Hi. I am Marie. I’m 14 and live at BMAYS. I would like to sincerely thank you for providing many fun and exciting activities you have generously helped provide to us. I especially appreciate the gym passes we are provided with which allows us to join classes such as Zumba. We also have gotten season passes to Bromont which is very fun and refreshing on a hot summer day. We also get to get ice caps at Tim Hortons. I appreciate hard work and generosity you have provided me and all the residents.

Sincerely, Marie