May 2018 Newsletter Articles

Our Harbour Staff

The full team is in place: Coordinators Audrey-Ann Truchon and Regine Bouzi with Director-General Dolly Shinhat

2017-18 Individual FUNdraising: Resounding Successes!!

Thanks to three major FUNdraising events and most importantly to the generosity of our donors, both loyal and new, Our Harbour’s Individual Fundraising Committee is pleased to report a most successful 2017 fiscal year. In fact, we surpassed our goal of $12,000 by 35%, raising a total of over $16,200!
The first of our three official FUNdraising activities took place on October 15th, with the Montreal Walks for Mental Health. More than 30 members of the Our Harbour community walked with others through the streets of Montreal raising close to $1,700 and attracting 13 new donors.
Our annual fall campaign was launched in November and was also a huge success. We surpassed our initial goal by 23%, raising a total of $15, 337.00, including gifts from more than ten new donors. We saw an increase in the number of monthly donors as well as individuals who have pledged donations for future years.
After raising over $1600 at our fun-filled Psychedelia! painting event in early March, we plan to respond to the positive feedback with a similar FUNdraiser later this year. Stay tuned.
THANK YOU! We look forward with great anticipation to sharing another series of FUNdraising and FRIENDraising events with you in 2018-2019!

“PSYCHEDELIA” Painting Event

Colourful canvases bring spring early under Judy Csukly’s direction. Here, David and Judith Schurman are seen exploring their artistic sides.

On March 4th, “Psychedelia” brought out over 40 eager prospective artists ready to try their hand at whatever guest artist Judy Csukly had in mind. Under her gentle direction, each participant explored her or his artistic potential.
From blank canvas to full bloom, the tulip-themed exercise took just over two hours, time that just seemed to slip away. The easels, paints, brushes, aprons and other details were deftly organized and distributed by our partner, Sandra MacGregor of FundsEventz. Coffee, wine and delicious home-made goodies added to the happy ambience. Everyone got to take home their own masterpiece and an itch to try again. Two were lucky winners of signed Judy Csukly paintings.
In addition to the $1600 raised directly from the event, we are happy to acknowledge support from MP Alexandra Mendes, MNA Sherry Romanado, Fednav, Ingram interiors and Atelier Picasso. Given its warm reception, Our Harbour plans a return engagement. PW
Audrey-Ann and Bob

Recently hired Coordinator Audrey-Ann Truchon complements Bob on his painted cup before he presents it to Peter at the Volunteer Appreciation Party.

Celebrating Bob’s next move.

As arguably the volunteer closest to Bob, I was gladdened by the large turnout of residents, volunteers, staff and relatives for Bob’s recent send-off. After over a decade in Apartment 4, Bob was moving to a facility that can better manage his growing constellation of medical issues. Bob’s signature smile and laconic phrasing will linger with us as he settles into his new room.
As suggested by the photo above, he will continue to participate in our activities and be visited by his buddies. I expect to continue to go for walks with him when the weather suits us, but we won’t need to share those bi-weekly drives to his medical appointments. PW

Audrey-Ann Truchon: A new old hand

In 2013, I had the opportunity to do a one-year field placement at Our Harbour under the supervision of former Coordinator Perveen Khokhar. This field placement taught me a lot about mental illnesses, supervised settings and social services. Overall, my experience as a staigiaire was extremely enriching and permitted me to develop a passion for working with individuals living with mental illnesses.
In November of 2017, four years later, I was lucky enough once more to become a member of the Our Harbour team, this time as a part-time Coordinator. When I started working for Our Harbour, I was amazed by how much this small organization has grown over the years. I am very proud of being yet again part of the Our Harbour journey.

Alain Returns!

It seems as if we are starting a second cycle at Our Harbour; not only do we now have a director general, but some previous residents are returning after many years of living away. One of these is Alain Tisner.
He joined us in our early days and left after a few years because he felt stable enough to live on his own. However now he has returned for two reasons, first, because he has recently received a new diagnosis and he is having trouble adjusting to the new medication. Second, his aunt, Marilyn Tisner, who has been his primary support for many years and was never happy about his decision to leave Our Harbour, would like to see him settled in a more secure environment as she gets older.
He is very happy to be back. He has made a new friend in his apartment; together they are frequently out together walking or having coffee or a meal in Saint-Lambert. He is looking forward to the discussion group for men that a new volunteer is organizing, and he anticipates that once his medication has been stabilized he will be well enough to join the others on the next outing. It is good to know that after all these years he still has fond memories of Our Harbour and is happy to be home. CG

Resident Representative on the Board of Directors to step down. Who will replace him?

Mario joined the Our Harbour Board in 2015 with a strong belief in the importance of representing residents’ interests and concerns. As a long-time, bilingual resident with a quiet and thoughtful demeanor, Mario was an excellent choice for this role.
Now, three years later, Mario will step down at the Annual General Meeting in June. The Board of Directors and Our Harbour residents wish to thank Mario for his contributions.
Most recently, he has helped to develop a role description for the next Resident Representative. This document is being shared with all residents to help attract candidates to be his successor.
Thank you again Mario! DS
Join us at the AGM, June 19 for Board elections (details on page _____.)

New volunteers bring skills aplenty

Lyn Scott

Lyn Scott is a long time St. Lambert resident.  A recently retired business woman, she is now able to give more time to the community that she has been involved with for so long.  Our Harbor was brought to her attention by some of the directors of the organization and she was attracted by the fact that it was a small, “hands-on” organization which can really make a difference in the lives of its residents by providing a stable and friendly living environment for those affected by mental health issues.
She looks forward to being able to contribute to this community in some small way.
<<doing what? Apartment volunteer? Other?>>

Dennis Armstrong

I’ve been retired three years and try to keep busy which, at times, can be challenging. I spend as much time as I can with my five grandchildren and help friends on their projects. I’m glad I volunteered for Our Harbour as it has turned out to be interesting and challenging but also rewarding when there are signs of progress.

David Gobby

David Gobby is an experienced furniture mover (with a van) and has an MA in Human Systems Intervention (HSI). He has recently agreed to use both those sets of physical and facilitation skills as a new member of Our Harbour’s volunteer team and has found Our Harbour residents to be “welcoming, interesting and easy to work with.” DS


Our Harbour celebrates volunteers during National Volunteer Week, April 15-21. Volunteers, staff and residents gathered at St. Francis Church.

Our Harbour’s mission would simply not be possible without volunteers. Volunteers provide the caring, the community and the compassion that makes Our Harbour so much more than simply long-term housing for people with mental illness.
As a token of our appreciation, on Thursday, April 19, Our Harbour residents and staff threw a thank you party! Regine’s special punch, an array of savouries and sweets, including tea, coffee and resident Jacqueline’s signature chocolate cake, accompanied an afternoon of meeting and greeting.
New volunteers Dennis Armstrong, John Reid and returning volunteer Jocelyn Brace Saulnier were introduced. Residents spoke warmly about how much they appreciate our volunteers and presented gifts of coffee mugs containing personal messages, painted during Open Art Studios with volunteer Jess Gardner. And the many Our Harbour residents who themselves volunteer (at Our Harbor events and activities, at local community organizations, as drivers, and for on-call repairs in apartments) were recognized and received a small gift in recognition of their service to the community.
Altogether a joyous and celebratory afternoon!
Special thanks to another volunteer, Susan Gardner, for always making us feel so welcome at St. Francis of Assisi church.

Dolly Shinhat, Director General

To find out more about volunteering at Our Harbour, please contact Dolly at 450-671-9160


Volunteering offers better individual health, healthier communities and enriching life-experience.
Volunteers and the act of volunteering bring multiple benefits to organizations, communities and people. Organizations receive enormous contributions of time, talents and skills. Communities are healthier and more cohesive through active citizen engagement. People receive important services from volunteers and, through volunteering, people gain experience, improve their employment and educational options and have a greater sense of belonging and well-being.
In recognition of National Volunteer Week 2018, the Conference Board of Canada produced The Value of Volunteering in Canada report. This briefing focuses on the multifaceted benefits to individuals, organizations, communities, and society when Canadians volunteer their time.
From Assigning an Economic Value to Volunteering, Volunteer Canada

Milestone birthdays are a chance to help Our Harbour

I can hardly believe I’m turning 70 in a few days. Knowing my friends and family, they’ll want to express their love and friendship by giving me a gift and will want to celebrate the occasion. Now, as anyone knows who has made it to this age, our main purpose in life seems to be downsizing and getting rid of stuff. So, this year I wrote to my close ones to let them know that their love and friendship is all I need. I also mentioned that if anyone felt they wanted to do something special, I would greatly appreciate a donation to Our Harbour and explained what Our Harbour does.
Dolly was kind enough to prepare a sheet which she entitled “I would like to honour Linda Magher on the occasion of her 70th birthday”. The donor can include all the usual information (address etc.) which can be placed in a pre-addressed envelope to Our Harbour. Thank you so much, Dolly for your help.
If Linda’s approach fits your needs, contact DG Dolly Shinhat to make it happen!

Practical lessons from stagiaire Elina Pojar

Working with people living with mental health issues was a new experience for me. The residents, the staff members and the volunteers of Our Harbour greatly contributed to my knowledge and insight about mental illness. During the year, I have worked under the supervision of Regine Bouzi, Coordinator at Our Harbour, who guided, supported, and gave me the space to learn and grow professionally.
My recent experience at Emploi Quebec was very useful in responding to the needs of the residents to learn how to write curriculum vitae. I designed and held a two-part workshop on How do to a November. During the first session, a PowerPoint of all the components of a CV was presented to the residents. They had the chance to share their personal and professional experience and prepare a draft of their CV.
During the second session, I worked individually with residents who had participated in the workshop on how to create a properly formatted Word document of their CV. Several residents have indicated to me just how much they appreciated the impact that this workshop has had on their personal goals. Some residents used it to in their applications to return to school and others to help them return to the job market.
Observing and working with Our Harbour’s residents, I realized that developing coping skills and strategies would be helpful. So, the second workshop that I developed and presented for Our Harbour’s residents was on Coping Skills. All the residents were able to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy coping skills, identify their personal coping skills and support each other with ideas and suggestions. Residents experienced guided meditation and learned about how to keep a gratitude journal. Through the anonymous written comments, I realized what a positive impact this workshop had on the residents who participated.
This spring I am working on my third session for Our Harbour which combines a Spring Cleaning Workshop, a hiking trip to Mont-Saint-Bruno, and writing a draft Residents’ Bill of Rights. I am very grateful to have had my last fieldwork placement at Our Harbour. This experience will help me in my next goal to complete a Bach elor of Human Relations at Concordia University.

Elina Pojar, Stagiaire
Dawson College Social Service Program

Colette Plouffe Barbery

Colette Plouffe Barbery September 2, 1946 – March 25, 2018

It was with heavy hearts that members of the Board of Our Harbour learned of the recent death of Colette. She had been our friend, our adviser and a tireless worker for the past seven years. A long-standing member of the Board, Colette also attended meetings of representatives of local organizations working in mental health and helped to raise awareness of Our Harbour’s mission within the francophone community. She also helped with translation and put much of her energy towards the work of the Fundraising Committee.
She will be remembered for spearheading several spaghetti supper fundraisers at Scotyz on Taschereau Boulevard. In addition to organizing the venue, she visited local businesses to get first class prizes for the raffle, sold tickets and then acted as MC at the event. These occasions were great fun, but also increased the visibility of Our Harbour and raised a significant amount of money. Colette was a generous, kind-hearted, positive and thoughtful member of our team. She will be greatly missed. CG