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By Shelagh Peden
While still in high school, Lynda Robitaille aspired to be a social worker. Most of us don’t end up doing what we wished to so long ago, but she hasn’t strayed far from the path.
As an undergraduate at Concordia, she was required to find some fieldwork to complete her degree, and the fieldwork led her to Catholic Community Services (CCS). It was through CCS that she offered an eight-week workshop to women on empowerment and self-esteem at a co-operative daycare.
Robitaille remembered during a phone interview, “mothers would come in exhausted” after a full day of looking after their active children, but “by the end, they were energized and excited. It made me feel so good, and let them feel good about themselves.”
For a year after the workshop, the participants organized a community kitchen. It was the workshop that provided the will and the strength to get the kitchen running.
CCS is an agency that benefits from Centraide funding – funds raised through campaigns like Concordia’s this month. Although CCS receives funding from various departments of provincial and federal governments, private donors and foundations, Centraide is their main financial benefactor, providing over $500 000 this year alone, which allows them to help an estimated 6 000 individuals.
Help comes in many forms, including the long-standing Camp Kinkora, the Good Shephard Community Centre, low-cost housing and transportation for seniors, food distribution, and youth groups such as Youth in Motion. Their mission is to foster self-reliance through empowerment.
These days, Robitaille works at the International Language School of Canada, which offers language instruction, and she’s a graduate student in Human Intervention Systems. But that hasn’t stopped her from giving her time and expertise. Because of the volume of requests received by CCS, she will be giving another workshop in January to divorced mothers.
“I do it for free – it always feels good to give back.”
Your contributions to Centraide are important and appreciated. See centraide.concordia.ca to find out how.