For some Quebec youngsters, the holiday season is marked by loneliness, family problems and emotional stress. That's no way to celebrate Christmas!



    Kids Help Phone appeals to the generosity of Quebecers with a reminder of
    the tax benefits of donating to charity

    MONTREAL, Dec. 18 /CNW/ - At a time of the year when children generally
get busy writing to Santa, some of them - alone, abandoned or struggling with
a new family dynamic they find hard to accept - see the holiday season as a
fearful prospect. To help children and youth aged 5 to 20 cope with their
anxieties and problems, the professional counsellors at Kids Help Phone
(Canada's only toll-free, national and bilingual counselling, referral and
information service for children and youth) offer up a sympathetic ear and
individual guidance, even on Christmas Day. To ensure the continuity of this
invaluable source of support in the face of growing needs, Santa Claus wants
to share an idea with Quebec's Christmas shoppers: make a donation to Kids
Help Phone in honour of a friend or family member. Now that's an original
gift!
    Last year, in December alone, Kids Help Phone responded to more than
17,000 calls and 2,000 online posts from young people across Canada. Christmas
Day was no exception: counsellors responded to 463 calls and 43 messages
online.
    "Last year, as I worked on Christmas Day, one of the youngsters I talked
to was a boy of 12," says Nadine, a Kids Help Phone counsellor. "His parents
had separated and it was his first time being away from his father for the
entire holiday season. I've also talked to plenty of young people who were
bereft or who felt completely alone and abandoned."
    In the lead-up to the holiday season, young people are bombarded with ads
exhorting excessive consumption. Those who live under financial strain can
feel isolated in the face of such social pressure. The holiday season can also
be laced with painful reminiscence. Coping with the first Christmas after a
parent's death or parental separation, dealing with being alone and away from
family or friends, or suffering from abuse or family violence: the problems
affecting youngsters in Quebec, which often intensify as the year draws to a
close, are manifold, and can have disastrous consequences.

    Distressed and lonely, young people don't know where to turn

    This is why Kids Help Phone was created in 1989. Kids Help Phone provides
Quebec's children and youth with a phone number and Web site where,
anonymously and free of charge, they can air their questions and receive
professional advice on their problems and concerns, 24 hours a day, 365 days a
year. In reaching out to kids in need, the professional counsellors at Kids
Help Phone have access to a wide range of tools and resources.

    Donating is easy - and highly rewarding

    Since the holiday season is synonymous with gifts and giving, Kids Help
Phone encourages Quebecers to give generously so that children and youth can
continue to have someone to talk to.
    Besides supporting a good cause, your donation to Kids Help Phone has
worthwhile tax benefits: the organization is a registered charity with the
Canada Revenue Agency. Now's the time to act, too, since individuals have
until December 31 to make a donation that is eligible for a federal and
provincial tax credit and can be declared against the current year's income.
    Donations can take the form of cash, recurring monthly or yearly gifts,
or publically traded securities. You can even make a special tribute gift to
honour a friend or family member, or a gift in memory of someone who has
passed away. For more information on charitable donations, you can visit the
Canada Revenue Agency website at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/menu-e.html or the
Ministère du revenue de Québec at
www.revenu.gouv.qc.ca/eng/ministere/index.aspNo..

    About Kids Help Phone

    Kids Help Phone is Canada's only national, bilingual, toll-free, 24-hour,
anonymous and confidential phone and web counselling, referral and information
service for children and youth. Every day, the professional counsellors at
Kids Help Phone answer calls and online questions from across the country,
listening to abused children, helping suicidal kids, counselling confused
teens. When Canadian kids reach out for help, we are there for them with the
immediate, caring support and information they need - all day and every day of
the year. For more information, please visit www.kidshelpphone.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Media contacts - Fleishman-Hillard: Isabelle
Troitzky, (514) 866-6776, ext. 244, Isabelle.troitzky@fleishman.ca; Chantal
Morin, (514) 866-6776, ext. 233, Chantal.morin@fleishman.ca; Contact - Kids
Help Phone: Myriam Huzel, myriam.huzel@jeunessejecoute.ca, (514) 273-7007,
poste 8230; Karine Bernier, (514) 273-7007, ext. 8212,
karine.bernier@jeunessejecoute.ca


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