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Free day camps for children from low-income families thanks to philanthropy

The Space for Life Foundation provides access to nature for young people from poored neighborhoods.
Credit: Fondation Espace pour la vie (Cynthia Beaulieu)
La Fondation Espace pour la vie permet l’accès à la nature à des jeunes provenant de quartiers défavorisés.
  • La Fondation Espace pour la vie permet l’accès à la nature à des jeunes provenant de quartiers défavorisés.
  • La Fondation Espace pour la vie permet l’accès à la nature à des jeunes provenant de quartiers défavorisés.
Free day camps for children from low-income families thanks to philanthropy

A family’s economic situation shouldn’t be an obstacle to a child’s curiosity. Each year, the generous donors of the Space for Life Foundation commit themselves to enabling youngsters from low-income families to attend Montréal Space for Life day camps. Here’s a look at an inspiring and inclusive initiative made possible thanks to philanthropy.

Young people from poorer neighborhoods more affected by the pandemic

COVID-19 and lockdown had a major negative impact on the schooling of thousands of young people in Québec. Réseau Réussite Montréal reports that over 20 percent of youngsters are now experiencing difficulties in their school learning. And that rate is significantly higher in areas referred to as underprivileged.

For a number of years, the Space for Life Foundation has been raising funds in order to offer the Jérôme-Brisson-Curadeau Bursary, allowing young people from modest backgrounds to attend Space for Life day camps. Starting in 2021, Space for Life and its Foundation quickly made efforts to increase that offer substantially, the aim being to make a more inclusive program than ever.

The primary determinant of a person’s health, according to Dr. Claudel Desrosiers-Pétrin, president of the Association québécoise des médecins pour l’environnement, is the environment in which he or she lives. Access to nature is essential, all the more so for young people in deprived neighborhoods. Which is why Space for Life intensified its efforts and doubled the number of places offered to youngsters from disadvantaged neighborhoods in 2022 in its day camps. Over the years ahead, the goal is to develop and maintain an offer that meets the needs and aspirations of the Montréal community.

An enriched program hailed by educational and community circles

Young people become aware of the day camps via their schools and the Ministère de l’Éducation program “A Montréal School for All.” With the collaboration of the magazine Les Débrouillards and the advice of “Montréal Hooked on School,” elements of literacy are integrated, which contributes to halting the erosion of the young campers’ school-acquired knowledge during summer vacation.

Furthermore, experts in academic success Josée Landry, M.A., c.o., president of the OCCOQ; Catherine Légaré, president and founder of Academos; and Eve Cyr, executive director of CJE Hochelaga-Maisonneuve have explained that, unlike television series, natural-science museums feed young people’s aspirations by allowing them to test what is real and to discover actual occupations.

“I still remember the first morning when he turned up at the Coureurs d’insectes class. He hardly spoke, and he was self-conscious. But then, towards the end of the afternoon, I saw him playing with everyone. He was bursting with energy, and his smile was radiant.”

- Flash, Space for Life day camp counselor

Committed donors

This initiative unique in Montréal is made possible thanks to the incredible support of the community of Space for Life Foundation donors. The funds come from donations by visitors to Space for Life museums, the Fonds de charité des employé.e.s de la Ville de Montréal, and the following private partners: Fondation J.-A. Bombardier, Fondation J.-A DeSève, SCP Environnement and Walmart Canada.

Would you like to contribute to the inclusion of children from low-income families in Space for Life day camps? Make a donation today to the Space for Life Foundation when you buy a ticket for Space for Life, or directly through our online form. Every donation, whatever the amount, can make a difference!

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