Socially responsible enterprises help to reduce one of Québec's major challenges

A line-up of Québec performers will join host Judi Richards for the Spectacle pour la persévérance scolaire on April 20, 2011

MONTREAL, Feb. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - In a concrete move to support school retention in Québec, members of Montréal's business community agreed to finance an art and music program that will close with a fundraising show featuring renowned Québec performers such as Judi Richards, Daniel Lemire, Paul Piché, Laurence Jalbert and Mélissa Lavergne.

Coordinated by Toujours ensemble, this new artistic initiative is part of the Pathways to Education program that provides academic, social and financial support to ensure that larger members of troubled youth complete high school.

"School dropout statistics are very alarming," says Judi Richards, spokesperson for the Spectacle pour la persévérance scolaire. "As a mother and grandmother, I'm touched when I see troubled young people who want to turn their lives around. That's why I got involved in this cause and agreed to take on the role of spokesperson."

Since October 2010, students in Verdun have been working diligently in a positive, stimulating environment under the guidance of professionals from the cultural community. Their challenge - to appear on stage at Salle Pierre-Mercure on April 20, 2011 alongside well-known performers.

Ms. Richards explains, "This show gives young people an excellent reason to stay in school! The visual arts, music and singing courses enable them to develop self-esteem, work as a team towards a common goal and stay off the streets at night. In the long term, this program will make a difference to Québec."

"We firmly believe that the community as a whole must come together and support those who need our help the most.  Québec companies have a duty to stand behind the next generation and help them reach their full potential in the labour market," explains Pierre Karl Péladeau, President and CEO of Québécor Inc., and Honorary Patron of the Spectacle pour la persévérance scolaire. When we support staying in school, we invest in the future and the prosperity of Québec society."

This first edition of the Spectacle pour la persévérance scolaire was made-to-measure and will be presented on one evening only. For more details on the event or to buy tickets, please contact the organizing committee by phone at 514 874 4600 or email at perseverance.scolaire@hotmail.com.

The Spectacle pour la persévérance scolaire is presented by Quebecor Inc. in collaboration with Helios, the Rona Foundation and Desjardins Group. The event is also sponsored by Archambault, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montréal, the Québec Youth Foundation, Segal Family Foundation, Simple Plan Foundation, HEC Montréal, Omer DeSerres, Rio Tinto Alcan and Stikeman Elliott. This initiative would not have been possible without the commitment of the team at Ernst & Young.

About Toujours ensemble

Founded in 1979 and established in Verdun since 1986, Toujours ensemble is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support young people with academic, family or social difficulties by offering them educational and recreational activities that contribute to their development. Every year, Toujours ensemble welcomes over 300 young people to participate in activities. Toujours ensemble intervenes in three areas: education, recreation and the fight against poverty. For example, in the past ten years, Toujours ensemble has served more than 150,000 meals to children from two elementary schools in Verdun.

About Pathways to Education Canada

Pathways to Education Canada is a charitable organization created to reduce poverty and its effects by lowering the high school dropout rate and increasing access to post-secondary education among disadvantaged youth in Canada. The Pathways to Education Program is a proven effective model, first created and implemented in 2001 in Regent Park by the Regent Park Community Health Centre. As a result of its ground-breaking achievements, Pathways is now expanding with local partners to five locations in Canada. The Pathways to Education Program provides four key supports to ensure that young people will successfully complete high school, continue on to post-secondary programs and become actively engaged in their career development.

SOURCE Pathways to Education Canada

For further information:

Julie Fournier Marie-Ève Graniero
julie.fournier@ca.ey.com    marie-eve.graniero@ca.ey.com
514 874 4308 514 879 6375


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