• John Jantak

Two teens organizing community fundraising supper for women’s shelter


PHOTO COURTESY ALESSANDRO ARDUINI

Lilas Arduini (left) and Léa-Maude Dolbec are organizing a fundraising supper to help raise money for the Hébergement La Passerelle women’s shelter in Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

Two Vaudreuil-Soulanges teenagers have teamed up to organize a community supper to help raise funds for Hébergement La Passerelle, a temporary shelter founded in 1996 for women with children within the region who are living with conjugal violence.

Lilas Arduini of Vaudreuil-Dorion, 16, and her friend Léa-Maude Dolbec of Rigaud, 17, decided to create a personal project to give back to the community. After examining other causes, they both decided to support La Passerelle. They’ve spent the past year-and-a-half planning and organizing the event.

Helping people in the community

“We thought this would be a good way to help people in the community,” Lilas told The Journal. “I spoke to Léa-Maude about it and we both thought it would be a great idea. We started researching different organizations and we came across La Passerelle.”

Both girls are senior high school students in their final year at École secondaire de la Cité-des-Jeunes in Vaudreuil-Dorion and have temporary part-time jobs. They met each other in their first year of high school and have been friends ever since. The fundraising event was created through their own initiative and the girls are not affiliated with any other group or organization.

‘Help is available’

“La Passerelle is a shelter for women and their children who have been abused. They have a lot of specialized staff like counsellors who are able to provide the help, services and support these people need to move forward with their lives,” said Lilas.

For Léa-Maude, the fundraiser is about helping those who need to find temporary shelter and a place to sleep. “Not everyone knows about this service. We’re doing this all on our own and on our personal time. It’s about helping people in our community. We want people to know they are not alone. Help is available,” she said.

Surprised and proud

Lilas’ father Alessandro said he was surprised and proud when he first learned about the girls’ intention to organize a fundraising drive for a worthy cause. “At first I thought it was a project or an obligation to volunteer for the high school but it isn’t the case,” he said. “They decided to do it on their own and I’m really proud.”

Alessandro said he felt compelled to contact The Journal to let people know there are teenagers who strive to help their communities any way they can even though media reports often cast teenagers in a negative light.

Taking responsibility

“These two girls took the responsibility of organizing this event all on their own in which they must fill a room of 150 people. They both have temporary student jobs and have undertaken the big responsibility of having to pay out of their own pockets if they are unable to fill the room since there are costs related to organizing this kind of event,” said Alessandro.

Lilas and Léa-Maude have sold about 60 tickets so far. The event will be held Saturday, April 18, beginning at 5 p.m. at the Salle communautaire de Sainte-Marthe, 776 rue des Loisirs in Sainte-Marthe. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 years and under. For more information, call (514) 804-5512 or visit the fundraising Facebook page at tinyurl.com/uvcbxdt

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