Mr. Chair, ladies and gentlemen of the committee, Jo-Annie comes from a troubled family background. She became homeless. In her own words, she had nothing to lose. In fact, she had nothing at all. She participated in project Eldorado, at the Shawinigan youth employment centre. I would like to share what she said with you:
I started [project Eldorado] without any specific objectives in mind. [...] I soon realized that it was one of the best gifts I had given myself in a long time! [...] I now see that the youth employment centre allowed me to go through a practical social transformation process which [...] has certainly become a success in my life. It was the key that helped me become the person I am today.
Eight years later, Jo-Annie has graduated and is the assistant general manager of a centre for homeless or socially marginalized people. Project Eldorado gets people actively involved in process of returning to school, including a practical initiation to international cooperation. That is one of the experiential learning processes developed at youth employment centres and that changes young people's lives.
We are the Réseau des carrefours jeunesse-emploi du Québec, or Quebec's network of youth employment centres. The network is made up of more than 80 youth employment centres, in all regions of Quebec, which help close to 60,000 young people every year, in particular through experiential learning projects. Each experience is unique and brings about significant changes in the lives of those young people.
My name is Elise Violletti and I am a special projects and social and professional autonomy advisor with the Réseau des carrefours jeunesse-emploi du Québec. With me is Mr. Rudy Humbert, an entrepreneurship and voluntary work advisor.