On January 17th, South Dundas council was visited by Marie-Eve LaRocque of The Economic Development and Employability Network of Ontario (RDEE Ontario) and Danika Bourgeois-Desnoyers of Place aux Jeunes Ontario – SDG.
LaRocque and Bourgeois-Desnoyers introduced council to their “newest project” called Place aux Jeunes Ontario – SDG, which means Make-Way-for-Youth SDG. The project “aims to promote and facilitate the integration of bilingual post-secondary graduates in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.”
As Bourgeois-Desnoyers pointed out, “studies and statistics show youth have the tendency to leave after high school and they don’t come back.”
She went on to explain that the project, Make-Way-for-Youth SDG, has two components: Discovery Days for youth aged 18 to 35; and, Teens Place aux Jeunes for youth aged 14 to 17.
Discovery Days provides young adult professionals with several opportunities: “training workshops, meetings with potential employers, and discover of different attractions in the area.”
Teens Place aux Jeunes provides bilingual teens to take part in activities that reinforce their “feeling of belonging to their native region.”
The objective behind the project is to strengthen rural communities by preventing “out-migration of youth,” as well as by “attracting young professionals to settle in the region,” and by promoting “the integration of bilingual young graduates in the region.”
According to LaRocque’s presentation, RDEE “is the only national network which specifically supports economic development of francophone minorities in Canada.”
Funding for the shared project, Make-Way-for-Youth SDG, comes from the Fondation franco-ontarienne and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Following the presentation, Mayor Steven Byvelds thanked both LaRocque and Bourgeois-Desnoyers for coming.
“There’s not a lot of francophone in the region,” he said.
“It’s certainly interesting,” he added.