The Centre Emmaüs des Bois-Francs was founded in 1999 at the initiative of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart after the closing of the Collège d’Arthabaska, which was administered by the order. Today, the Brothers are still involved in the Centre, along with a team of lay people, and continue to be active in the community. The Centre has a fourfold mission:
1. Be present and active
- Meeting needs: Our motto is “Ta jeunesse, tes passions, notre mission” (Our mission: young people and their interests)
- Programs involving the arts, music, recreation, new immigrants, couples and families
- Being involved with youth by fostering leadership
2. Offer appropriate assistance
- Coming alongside individuals and groups
- Relationships of help
3. Be with people
- Accept and walk with people struggling with questions of meaning
- Human and spiritual growth activities
4. Unconditional acceptance
- Unconditional acceptance
- A presence in downtown Victoriaville
- A friendly and stimulating atmosphere
To find out more, visit the website of the Centre Emmaüs des Bois-Francs at www.cebf.org (French only).
Naturally, being located in Victoriavilla, the cradle of sustainable development, environmentally-friendly practices have long been part of the Centre’s daily routine. For instance, the city offers separate collection of waste. Separating compostable materials, recyclables and garbage is already a part of everyday life.
In the Centre’s coffee machine, fair trade coffee was always a choice, although now it’s the only choice! When we hold a reception, we try to use our regular dishware, or if we can’t, we use biodegradable plates. When we hold public activities, we refer to the city of Victoriaville’s guide on how to organize ecologically-responsible events. At the festival we put on as part of the annual sidewalk sale at the end of June, we do our best to be environmentally responsible and we encourage people to recycle their bottles and cans and use recycling bins.
Ecology and sustainable development was one of the 10 selection criteria at our first “Sur la route” appreciation gala to recognize the achievements of young people; biodegradable plates were used at this event. At our Christmas party for people and families who would otherwise spend the holiday alone, we welcomed more than 200 people at the Victoriavilla golden age club hall, and our partner the Communauté du Désert borrowed plates from the Restaurant Populaire for the evening.
For some years now, we have been helping schools in the Bois-Francs school commission to collect metal tabs from drink cans and plastic tabs from bread bags to help the Fondation de l’Hôtel-Dieu d’Arthabaska raise funds to buy medical instruments.
In our craft activities with the P’tite Pasto (introducing children under 5 to spiritual values) and the “Aventuriers de la Vie” camp for 10-14 year-olds, we use recycled materials as much as possible.
For the past two years, people in the community have given us their used toys for the refugee families we are helping to learn French.
Initiatives were also introduced as part of the Centre’s Development and Peace education campaign that involved local parishes as well as the Cégep de Victoriaville. We also collect postcards and used stamps for Development and Peace, items this international organization can sell to raise funds for its activities.
Analyzing the environmental checklist for our Centre made us more aware of other steps we can take, especially with respect to the cleaning products we use. In spring 2011, we participated in the Défi Climat. We look forward to writing to you again next year to let you know what we’re doing for the environment!
Jean-François Langlais, a worker at
Centre Emmaüs des Bois-Francs
71, rue St-Louis, Victoriaville, QC G6P 3P6