Thanks to a generous donation of $750,000 by Standard Life, thousands of youths will be able to continue transforming their free time into a positive experience by frequenting The YMCAs of Québec’s Youth Zones, which provide a viable alternative to the street and complement the support received at school and at home. The YMCAs of Québec created the Youth Zones in the mids-80s to promote healthy lifestyle habits at an early age, nurture the development of young people and foster their sense of belonging and engagement with their communities. The YMCA currently operates six Youth Zones on the island of Montréal and reached more than 2,500 youths last year. Accompanied by Stéphane Vaillancourt, President and CEO of The YMCAs of Québec, David Nish, Chief Executive, made the official announcement earlier today on behalf of Standard Life plc and the Standard Life Canadian Foundation.
“Montréal has been a home to our business and our people for 170 years and our presence in Canada goes back even further. Following the sale of Standard Life’s Canadian companies earlier this year, we have entered a new chapter in our history with Canada. We’re keen to celebrate our long-standing connection and to continue to contribute to the society we have been part of for so long. Because of its long history, expertise and presence in the heart of communities, as well as its lasting personal and social impact, The YMCAs of Québec emerged as a partner of choice,” said David Nish. “The Youth Zones are an important and innovative initiative. They provide young people with a healthy and safe environment where positive adult role models play an important role in preventing isolation, physical inactivity, risky behavior and dropping out of school. We believe we have a role in helping to build a more prosperous world and the funds we are donating will bring benefit to young people for generations to come.”
When young people go to the YMCA, they have the opportunity to get active, learn and connect with others. Keegan, an 18-year-old prospective student for Dawson College’s Diagnostic Imaging program, experienced this first-hand: “Going to the Youth Zone opened doors for me and helped me stay out of trouble.” “I am extremely pleased to see such an important international organization place their trust in our ability to capitalize on their donation and help even more young people in more communities to thrive and reach their full potential,” said Stéphane Vaillancourt, President and CEO of The YMCAs of Québec.
A model of social intervention and front-line services, the YMCA’s Youth Zones foster the personal development and autonomy of young people in a welcoming and inclusive environment, under the supervision of positive adult role models who are attentive to their needs and interests. Standard Life’s donation will be placed in the “Standard Life Youth Fund", an endowment fund that will support the long-term growth and stability of The YMCAs of Québec’s youth services intended for 12- to 24-year-olds, notably the implementation of Youth Zones (12- to 17-year-olds) and Young Adult Zones (16- to 24-year-olds) in several communities across Québec. A Young Adult Zone pilot project has been established in Saint-Léonard to address the lack of activities and services for this age group.
Long-standing partners, The YMCAs of Québec and Standard Life share a common history that is closely linked with the Montréal community. In recognition of its contribution to the economic and social development of Montréal over the last 180 years, Standard Life archives will be on display in the foyer of the Downtown YMCA.
It is also important to highlight the continued financial support of our partner, Centraide.