The West Island of Montreal Chamber of Commerce (WIMCC) recently held their 32nd Accolades Gala. This highly anticipated annual event provided excellent visibility to its partners, celebrated the achievements of these community organizations, and recognized their contributions to the West Island. This year’s theme, Get on Board with the Chamber, highlighted the important role the WIMCC plays in representing the interests of its members.
Since its inception in 1978, the West Island of Montreal Chamber of Commerce has been the voice of the West Island business community, encouraging and promoting the development of this important aspect of West Island life. More than 300 members were on hand at the 2017 Accolades Gala to celebrate the recipients in 10 categories, chosen from amongst 127 nominees, as they received their awards.
Volunteer West Island, shortlisted among the three finalists in the category of community service, was selected as the recipient of the award by the three-member jury, earning the West Island Community Shares Community Service Award. Executive Director Lynda Barrett and Board President Anne Pertus were present at the ceremony to accept this honour. The West Island of Montreal Chamber of Commerce warmly congratulated all finalists and recipients of the 2017 Accolades Competition.
It’s the time when we take stock of the year that has passed, and our thoughts this year are immediately drawn to Pierrette Grégoire, who died in May. Pierrette was a devoted Meals on Wheels volunteer from 1981 until shortly before her death. She loved the fact that Meals on Wheels was a community service that, in addition to providing wholesome home cooked meals, also delivered contact and companionship to isolated and vulnerable Lachine residents.
• She had a list of all clients’ birthdays and sent each one of them a card. Even when very sick, she asked to be taken to the store to buy more cards and asked me to mail them.
• She became friendly with a good number of the clients and even when they moved, she continued to visit them in their homes.
• For Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and other special holidays, she would prepare individual packages with gifts she would pay for herself in order for each client to have special treats (calendars, hand cream, candy, etc.).
• She sometimes spent hours on the phone trying to help a client. locating contacts and resources to assist their family in getting the right kind of help for them, no matter what their problem was.
• She carried her phone everywhere in order not to miss a call from a client with special needs or asking for a suspension of delivery. No matter what she was doing, calls from or related to MOW clients had priority.
• She went to the kitchen on every delivery day to make sure cards were ready and the kitchens were up and running – rain, snow, sleet, whether she was in pain or not.
The void left by Pierrette’s passing is felt by the more than 60 volunteers who help at the Lachine West Meals on Wheels operation, in addition to the hundreds of clients and their families she has touched over her many years of service. In her 37 Meals on Wheels years she cooked, delivered, coordinated and even co-chaired the board of directors – always with an infectious joie de vivre that was so HER! She will be sorely missed, but leaves us inspired and smiling with happy memories.
Sylvie Grégoire and Andrea DeRome
Youth in Action 2017 – the Year of the FLOOD! Sadly, for this reason, Volunteer West Island had to cancel the end-of-year Gala. Notwithstanding, smaller celebrations were held in each school to mark another successful year of youth volunteering, which looks like this: 11 schools participated; 230 students registered and gave over 5700 volunteer-hours to community groups throughout the West Island; 82 students completed 40 or more hours of volunteering during the school year!
Youth in Action is a yearly challenge sent out by Volunteer West Island to all public high school students in the West Island; the challenge consists of doing 40 hours or more volunteer work in school or in the community. The students are helped by Volunteer West Island and their school Community Animator to find opportunities and complete their hours. All students who complete the challenge are invited to a Gala at the end of the school year to celebrate their wonderful accomplishment.
The eleven participating high schools in 2017 were Beaconsfield High School, École secondaire des Sources, École secondaire Jean XXlll, École secondaire Saint-Georges (Senneville), École secondaire Félix-Leclerc, John Rennie High School, St-Thomas High School, Lindsay Place High School, Lakeside Academy, Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School and Riverdale High School.
According to Youth Volunteer program coordinator, Andrea DeRome at Volunteer West Island, “Young people make a significant contribution to their community. This program inspires youth to go outside of their comfort zones, and to develop their leadership skills. They help our most vulnerable citizens by breaking their isolation.” The Youth in Action program receives generous funding from all West Island provincial riding offices. VWI National Assembly representatives sent an inspiring video to our students to let them know how important their volunteering actions are – check it out on the VWI website and Facebook page!