Summary of the L’Abri en Ville 2019 Annual Report is posted below.
This was a year of considerable management change for L’Abri and in true L’Abri fashion it was achieved with minimal disruption to operations. Our executive director, Cheryl Lafferty, retired after six years of exemplary service. She was replaced by Star Gale who previously held a coordinator position, resulting in an organized cascade of other changes. Michelle Mills replaced Cathy de Chambeau, who retired after seven years of valued service, with Vishaka Ratnayake stepping in as part-time coordinator.
These changes also prompted a review of succession planning and to this end a priority planning workshop took place in September identifying Outreach, Communications and Fundraising as key priorities for 2020 and the hiring of Kelly MacKay, a fundraising consultant, on a one- year contract in January.
Throughout the year we collaborated with McGill University’s Institute of Health and Social Policy, as well as with Snowglobe Theatre’s award-winning production “Proof’ about a family dealing with mental illness. Residents also took part in a downtown community art exhibition, Project Imagination, organized by McGill students and food hub Santropol Roulant. One of our residents, Luc Belleau, presented a solo piano concert featuring works of Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven at the Unitarian Church of Montreal.
All apartments were fully occupied in 2019. A resident board members committee was formed producing ideas and suggestions now being actioned. Annual events – the cabane a sucre visit, a hamburger supper, and a day trip to Oka – were well attended and welcomed. Other trips included a visit to the Botanical Gardens, Ile Saint Bernard, the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, and to the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
A first was L’Abri’s representation at the inaugural Celebrate Mental Health Day on the Olympic Park’s Esplanade in October. This has replaced the annual Montreal Walk for Mental Health. Also, as in prior years, some residents shared their mental health journeys with students of occupational therapy, psychology, and social work at local universities.
In May, L’Abri launched a new community kitchen project at our offices in Little Burgundy to enthusiastic response from our residents.
We attracted three new volunteers bringing the total number to eighty. All new volunteers participate in an orientation program conducted by staff. Volunteers contribute in many ways from sharing their knowledge and talents to serving on our board. Their contributions are valued and recognized.