The 19th annual fundraising dinner held on May 2 by the Centre d’activités récréatives et éducatives (C.A.R.E.) was the first ever to be held by the group at the Hellenic Community Centre in Côte des Neiges, while also possibly the beginning of a great relationship between C.A.R.E. and Montreal’s Greek community.
Provides unique services
Located at 5785 Parkhaven Ave. in Côte St. Luc alongside the Wagar Adult Education Centre, the C.A.R.E. Centre provides programming for adults with severe physical disabilities ages 21 and up.
The C.A.R.E. Centre is considered unique as it is the only English-speaking service in Montreal that supports programming that is accessible to clients who are wheelchair users, require assistance with most activities of daily living, and who use augmentative communication, all while maintaining a low client to staff ratio.
C.A.R.E.’s main fundraiser
“This is our main fundraising dinner to celebrate our clients, their families, their guests and those in the community who support our cause,” C.A.R.E. Centre executive-director Olivia Quesnel said in an interview with Newsfirst Multimedia.
As Quesnel explained, the C.A.R.E. Centre first came into being nearly a quarter-century ago in response to the fact that most public services traditionally provided to adults with severe physical disabilities continue only to age 21, following which there are few if any programs left for them.
A good match
“The C.A.R.E. Centre was born to service this need so that there would be a meaningful place for individuals to attend,” she said. For the C.A.R.E. Centre’s users and directors, partnering up with the Montreal Greek community and the Hellenic Community Centre seemed like the perfect fit.
“The Hellenic community is known to be very supportive of charities,” said Joanne Charron-Yannakis, interim-president of the C.A.R.E Centre’s board of directors, whose son is a C.A.R.E. Centre client.
“We were looking for a venue that was central and was wheelchair-accessible,” she added. “Plus we really wanted to reach out to the Greek community. My son is Greek and I’m married to a Greek. We also have some clients who are Greek. So we thought it would be nice to do something together here.”
More than 180 attended
While C.A.R.E is supported by a number of foundations and individual donors, the annual dinner brings supporters together in one place, she added. Around 185 supporters came out for the evening.
MC for the event was CJAD Radio morning talk show host Elias Makos. The list of guests also included Westmount-St. Louis Liberal MNA Jennifer Maccarone, Saint-Laurent Liberal MP Emmanuella Lambropoulos and former Ahuntsic Liberal MP Eleni Bakopanos.
“They’re the only organization that offers services to the Anglophone community for adults who have severe handicaps,” Maccarone said in an interview. “So we need to do a lot to support C.A.R.E.”
EMSB supporters came out
There was also a good turnout by supporters from the English Montreal School Board, including Wagar Adult Education Principal Nick Katalifos, and representatives from the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal (HCGM.)
“They do an absolutely incredible job,” Katalifos said of the C.A.R.E. Centre. “And I’m proud to say that they’re housed at Wagar, so we work together very closely. They do an incredible job with their students. We’re all very happy to be here tonight to support the C.A.R.E. Centre and we hope to raise some funds for a very good cause.”