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The Marist Brothers in Canada support Vallée-Jeunessse, Québec

26/04/2008: Canada

Here are the logo and theme of a new apostolate which began in the Québec region of Canada during the month of April 2007. Following upon a study of the needs of the most at-risk youth, a team of lay people and Brothers suggested various ideas for the future use of the wonderful site called Valcartier. The Provincial Council decided to make an act of faith and to move ahead with the new plan: to help young people who are facing the reality of having been expelled from their schools.

The community, made up of six Brothers aged 60 to 80, agreed to make space available to a team of four lay people. In this way the team can welcome the young people in question, working with them to restore their confidence and self-respect by means of (a) quality presence and (b) various mean of support suitable to the needs of each one. Given the size of the space available, we have received ten young people. Our dream, however, is to be able to offer the service to more young people, by building a new place better adapted to the various needs to be served.

The youth come to the center five days a week, from Monday to Friday. They take classes on an individualized basis, in accord with the varying levels of each one’s past schooling. In fact, the goal of Vallée-Jeunesse is to enable the young person to get back into regular school after several months in the unique environment offered at Valcartier. Three Brothers offer their services freely, teaching French, English or mathematics. Another Brother is available to give guitar lessons. Two Brothers are working on upgrading the existing infrastructure or on the new construction. Another Brother takes care of specific needs which arise unexpectedly.


The head of Vallée-Jeunesse is a lay person. Our own role, as Brothers, is to offer the director our support, our assistance for specific tasks that arise, our encouragement. We hope to offer the same to the lay members of the team. With the young people, we hope to offer a quality presence when we deal with them, showing an interest in their lives, being with them in a simple manner, encouraging them and congratulating them when they succeed. And this is something that we can do every day as we witness the small steps which they accomplish, thanks to the excellent professional help of the laity team on site: one young teacher and two young social workers – a male and a female.

One thing is certain to both the Brothers and lay people: that we believe in the potential and gifts of each young person, that we accept the young people and love them as they are, and that we are convinced that they can make something of themselves and of their lives.

Jean-Denis Couture, fms.
Valcartier, Québec, CANADA.

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