Even though we have all had to face the restrictions caused by COVID-19, it has challenged us all differently and we are all experiencing this pandemic in our own way. For many families the closing of schools and recreational centres has caused a lot of extra work, anxiety, and stress and for some families offering kids the resources and support they would need for their schoolwork is just not possible. That is why we are proud to announce that this time our St. Michael’s COV-AID donation will go to helping these families through The Loyola Centre!
The Loyola Centre works with the vulnerable children and adolescents in the Fielding-Walkley sector of Western NDG in Montreal. Through educational, cultural, social-recreational and community programs such as sports and afterschool tutoring, The Loyola Centre aims to create a safe, positive environment for growth and to promote respectful treatment of others and a strong sense of belonging. This way their work benefits, not only the kids who are participating in these programs, but also their parents and the community as a whole.
Like so many others during this crisis, many of the families participating in the programs at The Loyola Centre are facing loss of wages and economic uncertainty as well as the challenges of homeschooling. Many of them were already struggling to make ends meet and their challenges have been amplified exponentially due to this pandemic. The Loyola Centre has members from cultural communities from all over the world and as many of them are newly arrived immigrants or refugees, the closing of schools and recreational centres has meant that these families have lost their whole support system. Not only do many of the children The Loyola Centre works with rely on school and Loyola for weekday meals and snacks, many families don’t own computers and some don’t have access to internet - both of which are now necessary for schoolwork. In addition to all this, language barriers and not knowing where or how to access services are making the lives of these families difficult.
Due to the pandemic, The Loyola Centre, just like other groups and organizations offering recreational activities, has had to close their physical spaces. But COVID-19 has not stopped them from being there for the families who need them! When the pandemic started, the centre shifted their main focus to front-line relief efforts and launched a campaign through which they are distributing grocery store gift cards to families in need. Our St. Michael’s COV-AID donation of 1000 dollars, for example, guarantees a grocery store gift card for 10 families! The Loyola Centre has also provided computers, games, toys, and books to over 30 families and taken its afterschool tutoring program online so that the kids can still get 1-on-1 help. The centre also continues to support the families by accompanying them through the various challenges they face and referring them to other organizations and government resources where they can find the help they need.
When we asked Christine Richardson from The Loyola Centre what she would like to say to the people of St. Michaels, her message was clear:
- A crisis situation like the one we are currently facing can bring out the best in a community. We are fortunate to be witnessing that firsthand. We are so very grateful for everyone who has jumped up to help us support our community. Thank you.
We are truly inspired by what The Loyola Centre does and it’s our privilege to support this wonderful organization and their amazing work!
Want to make a difference and help vulnerable families in NDG? Donate to The Loyola Centre at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/association-pour-le-developpement-jeunesse-de-loyola/campaign/covid-19-family-relief-fund/
No amount is too small, it all adds up!
We would appreciate it if you mentioned St. Michael’s COV-AID when making your donation - it helps us in building lasting relationships with these amazing organizations.
Need more information? Go to http://www.ndg.ca/en/loyola-community-centre OR http://www.jeunesseloyola.org/
St. Michael’s COV-AID encourages you to support this cause and share the info on social media.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and love your neighbour!