8 universities, 7 school boards, 30 businesses and institutions, the city of Montreal, the CRÉ de Montréal, 20 schools and 54 university students join forces to offer support to high school students
MONTREAL, Dec. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Speaking to an audience of 250 at Montreal's city hall, with the Mayor of Montreal on hand, Youth Fusion announced today a number of innovative initiatives as well as the launch of FIRST Robotics Quebec. All together, many partners have agreed to pool their resources and donate more than $1.1 million to help encourage student retention.
"Our society needs all of the talent that we see in our youth, too many of whom are currently not succeeding in carving out a path conducive to realizing their full potential," stressed L. Jacques Ménard, Chairman of BMO Nesbitt Burns and President of BMO Financial Group, Québec, who was present along with Gérald Tremblay, Mayor of Montreal, Laurent Beaudoin, Chairman of the Board, Bombardier Inc., Diane De Courcy, Chairperson, Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM), Pierre Dufour, General Director, Opéra de Montréal, and Gabriel Bran Lopez, Founding Executive Director, Youth Fusion.
Mayor Tremblay asserted, "By rallying together a wide range of partners in the economic and social spheres, as well as government, to work at keeping more teenagers in school, Youth Fusion is helping open up new horizons for thousands of young people who will be tomorrow's leaders. Congratulations to all Youth Fusion participants. My wish is to see your perseverance and dedication catch on, inspiring thousands of youth and instilling in them a will to succeed, so that they choose to follow your example."
Created in 2008, Youth Fusion, an organization chaired by Mr. L. Jacques Ménard, sends university students, working as project coordinators, into high schools to implement projects that motivate teenagers to stay in school, and strengthen their school spirit and sense of belonging. The program goes beyond mentoring. The university students work 15 hours per week in their designated high schools, for the entire 36-week-long school year, and develop activities in their own field of study.
Universities provide support
In September 2009, Youth Fusion announced that the seven universities in Montreal (Concordia, UdeM, UQÀM and McGill as well as the Polytechnique, ETS and HEC) were joining forces to encourage teenagers to stay in school. This year, 54 university students are working in some twenty schools, three of which are located within Cree Nations in Quebec's Northern region. Additionally, Université Laval recently confirmed its participation, working with the Carrefour Jeunesse-Emploi de la Capitale-Nationale to implement the Youth Fusion program in three Quebec City schools.
Total funds invested by these eight universities exceed $230,000.
A robotics initiative
As a result of its involvement and its awareness of the need for a commitment to countering dropout rates, the business community has helped create FIRST Robotics Quebec, an organization chaired by Laurent Beaudoin, which is dedicated to "Promote Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology". Several Quebec-based businesses and institutions (including the J. Armand Bombardier Foundation, CAE, Université de Sherbrooke, BMO Financial Group, Hydro-Québec, Future Electronics, Pratt & Whitney Canada, CSDM, Bombardier Inc., Bell Business Markets and Vigilant Futures) have invested more than $355,000 to enable participation by 13 Quebec schools in the FIRST robotics international competition.
In his address, Laurent Beaudoin took the opportunity to invite the 300 young participants, as well as the initiative's partners, to the launch of FIRST's new season, which will be held on January 8 next year at the Bombardier Aerospace St-Laurent facility, in the new hangars set up for manufacturing Series C equipment components.
Teenagers' creative commitment to counter high school dropout rates
Other innovative projects launched by Youth Fusion include collecting instruments - a joint initiative with Opéra de Montréal - in order to create music programs in two schools targeted by this community, as well as setting up a service cooperative to promote entrepreneurship in underprivileged schools.
"We expect to make a difference through initiatives such as this one and to improve academic success among Quebec youth," declared the partners.
Rallying society together
Youth Fusion and FIRST Robotics Quebec have, to date, secured financial contributions totaling $1,130,000, which will be used to fund activities in the following fields: journalism and radio, photography, film and video, IT and new communication technologies, entrepreneurship, environment and sustainable development, the creation of service cooperatives, interculturalism, music, sports and dance, responsible citizenship, science, technology and robotics.
The 20 selected schools have been targeted by the community: English Montreal School Board (EMSB), Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l'Île (CSPI), Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys (CSMB), Commission scolaire Marie-Victorin (CSMV), Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB), Cree School Board (CSB) and Montreal Hooked on School.
The partners for the current year are: Bell Business Markets, BMO Financial Group, Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, Bombardier Inc., CAE, Carrefour Jeunesse-Emploi de la Capitale-Nationale, Centre de recherche et d'intervention sur la réussite scolaire (CRIRES), City of Montréal, Commission scolaire de Montréal, Concordia , Concordia Student Union, Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal, Cree Human Ressources Development, CSC, CSMB, CSMV, CSPI, Educatours, EMSB, ÉTS, FAECUM, Forum Jeunesse de l'île de Montréal, Foundation of Greater Montreal, Future Electronics, GLOBO (ALDO Group), HEC, Hydro-Québec, J. Armand Bombardier Foundation, J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, Jeune Chambre de commerce de Montréal, Laval University, LBPSB, McGill, Montreal Hooked on School, Nussia & André Aisenstadt Foundation, Opéra de Montréal, Polytechnique, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Réunir Réussir (R2), Sherbrooke University, Simple Plan Foundation, Société de développement social de Ville-Marie, TD Canada Trust, UdeM, UQÀM, Vigilant Futures and Zone01.
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