ex-guest takes shelter online to help youths & jobless FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Fri, 5 Jun 1998 00:25:36 -0700 (PDT)


http://www.montrealgazette.com:80/PAGES/980602/1752270.html
FWD  Montreal Gazzette - Tuesday 2 June 1998

"The computer centre is an offshoot of the L'Avenue youth homeless shelter,
which opened in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve in 1985. Frederic Boisjoly, 21, went to
the shelter in 1995, and when he left, he began to volunteer there.
He's spent the last 18 months helping develop the computer centre, and said
learning how to use a computer turned his life around." -- from article below


     INTERNET GOING ONLINE TO HELP YOUTHS

     Basem Boshra  - The Gazette


Quebec's first Internet community centre was opened yesterday with a virtual
ribbon-cutting ceremony.

With the click of a computer mouse, Employment Minister Louise Harel
inaugurated L'@venue, a Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district community centre
aimed at introducing youths to computers and the Internet.

Yvon Gagnon, L'@venue's director, said the centre will serve an important need
in the community. He said 25 per cent of youths between 15 and 24 in east-end
Hochelaga-Maisonneuve are unemployed and 31 per cent have not completed
Grade 9.

Sylvie Roy, L'@venue's president, said the centre hopes to provide area youth
with the skills necessary to find a job.

"Most jobs today, at one time or another, require the use of computers. So,
learning to use computers increases a person's chance of landing a job."

In addition to the Internet, youths will be taught the basics of
word-processing, spreadsheets and databases.

L'@venue hired 10 unemployed youths from the community and provided them
with the computer training to be able to teach at the centre.

The centre is equipped with 30 computers donated by various Montreal
companies, as well as three years of free Internet access. It is housed
inside a
closed bank building donated to L'@venue by the Bank of Montreal.

The provincial government provided $365,000 in subsidies to get the centre
running. Harel said this type of co-operation between government and community
businesses is what's needed to help fight unemployment in the area.

The computer centre is an offshoot of the L'Avenue youth homeless shelter,
which opened in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve in 1985. Frederic Boisjoly, 21, went to
the shelter in 1995, and when he left, he began to volunteer there.

He's spent the last 18 months helping develop the computer centre, and said
learning how to use a computer turned his life around.

"I'd never touched a computer before I came to L'@venue, and I felt like an
idiot the first time I sat in front of one. But then I started learning how
to use all these programs, and I couldn't believe how useful they were."

And Boisjoly credits his computer training for getting him a full-time job.

"At the interview for my current job, my employer was thrilled when he saw that
I could compile an inventory database for his four stores and he gave me
the job
based on that," Boisjoly said.

- People between 12 and 30 can drop by the centre at 4250 Ontario St. E. all
summer for free guided navigation of the Internet. As of Sept. 8, people will
need to become members and pay a small fee.

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