The Raspberry Project 2003-2014
The l’Éveil raspberry project has existed for seven years, with primary objective being the social reintegration of people suffering from mental health issues. The participants care for the raspberry plants for every step in the production of our delicious berries. The town of Cowansville has generously leant us the land for the project.
From the beginning of spring until the end of summer a group of around 20 participants work together on the organic bushes. With the advice of their caseworkers, participants set several goals they would like to accomplish during the growing season. Participants can then build a routine,reduce isolation, increase self-esteem and learn to be responsible. They are active in the decision making in each step in the production of our scrumptious berries.
In the spring we prepare the soil and add organic fertilizer from the local duck-farm. As soon as the summer begins we start to harvest the fruit and the participants also sell the berries they have grown to residents of our area. Toward the end of August the participants close the field and together we celebrate the harvest with our famous raspberry party and B.B.Q.
Certificates are handed out to those who accomplished their goals as well as checks and presents. Together we celebrate our hard work while planning the next year!
The Sugar Shack Visit
At the beginning of March each year, l`Éveil organizes a trip to the sugar shack. All members of l’Éveil are invited to dress warm and to hop on a big bus for a visite to a real sugar shack. Together we enjoy a delicious Quebecois meal. All members, the board of directors and the employees enjoy treats like sugar on the snow, baked beans, maple ham, crispy pig ears and traditional pea soup. The trip is very popular and members use this time together to make friends and to help each other. Children of members are always welcome, and they love the sweet treats produced from our maple trees. The sugar shack trip is always appreciated after a long winter, do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions!
The l’Éveil Christmas Party
Each year l’Eveil celebrates Christmas with an immense party for all members. Together we celebrate the holidays with games, presents, dancing and a delicious meal. We invite members to come party with us! Their significant others and children are welcome too!
For many members, this party represents their Christmas. For us, the staff of l’Eveil, it is a privilege to be there celebrating with our clients. During the party, caseworkers assure everybody makes friends andencourages people to celebrate.
L’Eveil offers prizes and a meal, free of charge to all members! The team and the board of directors distribute the gifts. Joy and smiles abound at this fantastic party!
Mental Health Workshops and the Walking Club
Created by our coordinator a few years ago, the walking club and the mental health workshops are two very popular activities here at l’Eveil. Offered during the fall, the winter and the spring (when the raspberry bushes are dormant) the walking club and mental health workshops offer a chance to all members to break their isolation, to get some exercise, to create lasting friendships and to reduce prujudices in the general population. The walk lasts around an hour and follows a new path each week. We walk at a slowpace through Cowansville, while talking and helping each other. The workshop begins as soon as we are back at the office. The workshops focus on a different theme each week.
The walking club and the workshops are offered to all members of l’Eveil as well as those who are on our short waiting list (for individualfollow-up).
Mental Health Week
Each year l’Eveil participates in mental health week withour partners in Brome-Missisquoi. In 2011, we organized a march in Cowansville to reduce the prejudices of the public towards those suffering from mental heath problems. Nearly 100 people marched in the streets of Brome-Missiquoi with enthusiasm, smiling and encouraging others to join.
L’Éveil also participated in 2 activities at the local high school. The goal was to sensitize the 1500 adolescents of Massey-Vanier. The youths on the francophone side of the school decided to put on a dance for mental health the Anglophone side invited motivational speaker Mike Santoro to give a speech on his recovery.
In 2012 we are planning a talent show and art exposition, come back soon for more details!