$268,000 up­grade

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - War­bur­ton Steven

St. Fin­nan’s Catholic School in Alexan­dria will get a retro­fit for its in­fant/ tod­dler day­care pro­gram. “Fam­i­lies in the com­mu­nity of Alexan­dria, as well as other ar­eas that are re­ceiv­ing sim­i­lar fund­ing, will now have ac­cess to qual­ity child­care in their lo­cal Catholic school,” said Todd Lalonde, Glen­garry County trustee on the Catholic District School Board of Eastern On­tario.

“This ar­range­ment is so ben­e­fi­cial to the stu­dents, who are able to then tran­si­tion seam­lessly into their Kin­der­garten pro­gram.”

The retro­fit should cost about $ 268,000; the school board will ac­cess these funds through the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion’s Early Years Cap­i­tal Pro­gram. The retro­fit is ex­pected to be com­plete by Septem­ber of 2018.

St. Fin­nan’s Prin­ci­pal Ju­dith Boucher was un­able to com­ment on the specifics of the work, but said she’s de­lighted with the an­nounce­ment. “It’s a great in­vest­ment and it will be to the ben­e­fit of the com­mu­nity,” she said.

Trustee Ron Eamer says the im­prove­ments are part of the gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment to cre­ate li­censed child care ac­cess for 100,000 more chil­dren aged 0- 4 over the next five years. -- Rapid Re­sponse Team” who de­ployed to as­sist vic­tims of cri­sis and dis­as­ters across North Amer­ica. She re­cruited and de­vel­oped these re­spon­ders and trained over 2,500 in­di­vid­u­als across Canada from 2006 to 2014.

Yet, there was a time when she ob­vi­ously needed help her­self. She was us­ing co­caine when her hus­band of seven years died from a heroin over­dose.

For­giv­ing

Her tell-all book that was re­leased in Novem­ber, 2016, con­firmed Ms. Wil­lard’s con­fi­dence that her ex­pe­ri­ence could in­spire. “There were so many peo­ple who

told me that they had also been suf­fer­ing in si­lence. They were afraid of be­ing judged; they were afraid of the stigma. Peo­ple tell me that they know now why some peo­ple will stay in abu­sive re­la­tion­ships. They find new per­spec­tive,” she says.

Dur­ing her talks she frankly re­veals her fail­ings. “I cheated; I used drugs; I was reck­less. Peo­ple eat this up. One man came up to me tears. ‘I think you helped save my mar­riage.’ That is why I am here. If I help one per­son, it has been worth it.” While she en­cour­ages every­one to share his or her feel­ings, “We also need to learn to lis­ten,” al­low­ing that she ben­e­fits from an “ac­count­abil­ity part­ner.” So many peo­ple, es­pe­cially first re­spon­ders, are con­di­tioned to “buck up” and try to deal with their de­mons on their own. “The peo­ple who are to care for us pay a high price. What they see can haunt them.” Work­ing with peo­ple be­tween the ages of 14 and 80, Ms. Wil­lard of­fers ad­vice that is ap­pli­ca­ble for every­one. “We only get one shot at this. Don’t suf­fer in si­lence,” ob­serves Ms. Wil­lard.

“I talk a lot about re­silience. You have to fight. I had to be a fighter. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here to­day.”

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