President’s Letter Autumn 2021

The Houses of Hope are three residences where youth at risk from the Monteregie and Estrie receive temporary accommodation, supervision  and aid to return to and cope with their milieu. The teenagers range in age from 12 to 17 years in both French and English and are located in Cowansville.

“ Children from difficult circumstances need someone to throw them a lifeline since it is very difficult to pull oneself up by the boot strings. We talk about youth with problems as if they are statistics but they are not statistics. Perhaps we should ask, what would you do if it was your child?”   Archbishop Desmond Tutu

The three Houses of Hope are helping roughly 65 at risk adolescents each year and more than 1000 since the begining. None of this would be possible without the support of Foundations, Community Groups and individuals. We would like to thank the Contat Trust who has supported us over the years. The Trust decided to distribute its funds to local organizations in the region who are helping teenagers .The Brome Missisquoi Youth Foundation was a major recepient of their generosity for which we are truly grateful. Other Foundations that have supported us are The Eric T. Webster, The Soutar Family, Hyclan, Zeller’s Family, Raschkowan and Chawkers. Thank you all so much.

Community support is important and we have been very fortunate to have received funds from The Knowlton Lions Club, Ladies Guild of the Church of the Ascension, St James the Apostle and St Paul’s Womens’ Commitee. Even with the difficulty of holding fund raising events, letters announcing the cancellation of both the Bridge Luncheon by Toni Marion and the Valentine dinner by Marni McCullough and Anna Beth Doyle brought combined donations of  over $9,000. Thank you for caring.

We were able to hold our Christmas Wreath Sale chaired by Jane Hayes, our Treasurer. We sold 204 wreathes and raised $6,479, Sally Webster lent the team her heated barn for the decoraters use and everyone was very grateful. We appreciate it.

The newsletter last Fall generated $15,685, a welcome contribution towards our ongoing expenses. Our Houses required alot of maitenance this year which kept Serge Laflamme, Vice President very busy. We were asked by the Quebec Government to increase the number of teenage residents in our care. To this end, we are building an additional bedroom in Tremplin, our French speaking group home,  at an expected cost of $6,000. We are updating an extra room at BMAYS, our English speaking residence as well. Additional projects include siding repairs, replacing a deck at Tremplin, shower and swimming pool pump changes and removal of  two trees. Total expenditure for this year is $14,198.

We continue to pay for Drivers’ Education certificates for all who are eligible. Driving is a skill they will need to find employment and it is a necessity in a rural environment. The Foundation gives each House $3500 to pay for summer activities for the teenagers, The funds are used for camping, cycling, theme park visits, the gym and other programs.

This year, we decided to initiate an award to any of the residents who graduate from high school. We hope more of our residents will see this as an incentive to continue their studies.

The staff at the residences have done a magnificent job dealing with the pandemic. All the teenagers have remained healthy as well as the staff. Tremplin is working on a program, Autonomie, to help the youths transfer from the Home to independent living. This will be important as they reach 17 years and have to leave the residence.

We have recently welcomed Mary Moore to the Board of Directors. She has offered to tutor the students on a regular basis once the regulations permit it.

Francine Maurice would like to thank everyone for purchasing tickets to our Brome Missisquoi Youth Foundation benefit concert which was held on September 25th, 2021 at Salle Alec and Gerard Pelletier in Sutton. The Foundation was honoured to host the internationally renowned cellist Karen Kaderavek and violist Scott Woodweaver. The concert was sold out. We are grateful for the ongoing financial support we have received, and it is our goal to continue to aid and provide a better future for the teenagers living in our House of Hope.

“To meet the needs of youth at risk, one must be clear about both the nature of alienation and its locus in the life space of the child”

Urie Bronfenbrenner

Sincerely,

Sonia Raikes Smith, President

 

 

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Testimonies from of the residents:

Being here at BMAYS benefits me in ways the outside world would never imagine. The staff & kids here have helped & supported me a lot since i got here. BMAYS has a home-like feeling whcih makes me feel safe and loved. Being here makes me happy & I am pleased to be here, With their help and support I feel like I’m getting better, getting the help I didn’t know I needed. From the friendly smiles on everyone’s face, to the home cooked meals. I feell supported & loved for once….

Delina

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Hello. My name is Kianna. I am 17 years old teen mother who has been at BMAYS group home since January 2020. I was sent here from Elizabeth Home due to my behavior and attitude. Every day I regret what I have done because that was a place I got to have my son. I currently have a job a Tim Hortons, and I have a psychologist and support workers, addictiion work and I do parenting class every single Monday.

BMAYS has helped me so much since my stay. They always make time for me when I need someone to talk to. The staff members of BMAYS are always pushing me to do better and they are amazing people who make us feel at home but at the same time we also have times to have to reflect on ourselves. The BMAYS group home is honestly the best place for me because they really do care for us, and they really want us to get back home to our families.

The place is not somewhere people come to party and have fun. The staff are here to push you to do better for yourself and they make sure we have everything we need like toothbrushes, toothpaste. etc.

This is a place you want to be and stay if you’re really wanting the change and services and help you need.

Kianna

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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