As the mother of a young adult, Natacha didn’t think that the activities at La Maison des Familles were for her. However, she realized that the agency welcomes all kinds of families and not just those with young children. Johanna, an intervention worker from the Citoyen-Relais project, invited her to join the activities since Natacha had just moved into the neighbourhood.
Indeed, there are times when Natacha also needs help because she carries a heavy mental burden. She has her own illness preventing her from working, and she supports her mother through chemotherapy treatments, all while being the mother of a young adult who still lives with her. Her involvement in La Maison des Familles and the Citoyen-Relais project lets her take her mind off all of life’s tasks and problems.
Since 2017, Johanna has seen clear progress in Natacha, who has developed greater self-confidence and a sense of belonging to the neighbourhood. She has embraced the resources available to her and is able to refer others to them as well.
“I like coming to La Maison des Familles once a week or every 10 days. That pace is good for me. Sometimes I come when they need me or when I need them too.”
As a citizen organizer, Natacha is part of an intergenerational and diverse group, both culturally and socioeconomically. The project is collectively led by a youth agency (PITREM), a family agency (La Maison des familles de Mercier-Est), and a seniors’ agency (Le Chez-Nous de Mercier-Est). This diverse combination lets them reach all population groups and build connections between them.
Eight to ten people are trained each year for the same role as Natacha. Year after year, more citizen organizers are added to their ranks to create a strong safety and solidarity net within the community.
“We’re like a walking information booth that goes around to the residents of Mercier-Est if they need it. The project is great! It makes our neighbourhood a community. Community is a foundation that helps those who really need it.”
Watch Natacha’s testimony
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