CJE Coaticook: Unique opportunities for self-discovery and growth

As part of a provincially-funded pilot project to increase access to existing employment services for young English-speakers, Townshippers’ Association has been profiling the carrefours jeunesse-emplois (CJEs) in the Estrie. For the fourth edition of this series, which can also be read at Townshippers.org, Project Coordinator Katie Bibbs sat down with CJE MRC de Coaticook Executive Director Steve Proulx to discuss their team’s efforts to help youth in the region.

The CJE de Coaticook is a great example of how the CJE model uses the strength of the team and local organizations to offer valuable services to their communities. In addition to traditional guidance counselling, school perseverance programs, and employment skills development, the CJE de Coaticook offers a unique program that is a variation of the typical Plateau de Travail, which helps participants gain relevant skills for the job market. While CJE de Coaticook’s program also offers conventional paths, it has a unique focus on the creative and entrepreneurial expression of a client.

Steve explains, “[This particular] Plateau de Travail helps clients develop their self-confidence and abilities through various creative activities such as music (guitar, drum, piano), and art projects using recycled materials [from local recycling centre] Ressourcerie des Frontières.”

As a partner organization, the Ressourcerie gives CJE clients the chance to join in projects that build employable skill-sets. In addition to gaining hands-on work experience at one of the Ressourcerie’s multiple recycling departments, CJE clients can also gain skills in restoration and repair of found objects. What they create they get to keep as a symbol of their path to employment, and a reflection of the effort and accomplishments made so far.

Projects vary in scope and interest. The person chooses the object and how it will be transformed. For instance, an old telephone from the 1900s was refurbished to function on the internet! Youth have restored antique posters from the 1800’s, transformed a shovel into an electric guitar, and built a clock out of a sundial and repurposed wood. All these creations share one common outcome: participants often uncover skills and passions that may not have been realized without a little encouragement.

As Steve points out, “in some cases, they’ve been motivated to return to school and study what they develop an interest [in] during their project!” 

The Ressourcerie and the CJE de Coaticook’s latest project, candle-making workshops, demonstrates the link between youth skills-development, recycling, and sustainability. CJE clients learn how to make new candles out of recycled wax amassed by all the damaged candles the Ressourcerie receives, which are then sold by donation. The wax is kept out of landfills and participants experience a new creative outlet.

The CJE offers much more than these niche projects, but such initiatives highlight the efforts the team has made to partner with other community organizations and develop opportunities for every single young person who seeks them out for help.

“Everyone has [his or her] sensitive spot that we can push on to illuminate. Our job is to find that spot in everyone. When we find it, I think that we can do so many things, and help our clients achieve so much. But we have to believe in everyone who comes to the CJE,” Steve concludes.

To access the CJE de Coaticook, its many programs and services for youth aged 16 to 35, call 819-849-0440 or visit www.cjecoaticook.com.

An enriching 3-day experience for a future in health sciences

Grades 9 or 10 students interested in health sciences have the opportunity to participate in a free enriching 3-day experience and Townshippers’ Association can help you get there!

The McGill Explore! Careers in Health Summer Camp [June 26–28] lets participants discover the university’s downtown campus and enjoy 10 hands-on workshops (medicine, nursing, speech language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, dentistry, anatomy, genetics, pharmacology and global health), all led in English. The program is accepting 52 participants who will have the chance to stay in a McGill Residence, enjoy numerous leisure activities and make new friendships.

Applications must be received by noon, April 25. To be nominated for the camp, contact Michelle at Townshippers’, 819-566-5717/[email protected] or connect with your school’s guidance counsellor.

Keeping In Touch is a weekly column from Townshippers’ Association. For other ways to keep in touch, visit Townshippers.org, follow us on Facebook.com/Townshippers, Twitter @Townshippers or contact our offices in Sherbrooke at 100 – 257 Queen, 819-566-5717, toll-free: 1-866-566-5717, or Lac-Brome at 3-584 Knowlton Rd, 450-242-4421, toll-free: 1-877-242-4421.

Publication: Keeping in Touch column, Sherbrooke Record, Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Photo Credit: Carrefours jeunesse-emplois MRC de Coaticook

Photo Caption: An antique telephone has been wired for modern functions. It’s one of many creative restoration projects carried out by participants in a job-skills project offered by the carrefours jeunesse-emplois MRC de Coaticook and the Ressourcerie des Frontières recycling centre.