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.
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.”