MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Aug. 15, 2017) - Welcome Hall Mission is hosting today the 16th edition of its back-to-school event - Rentrée la tête haute - an annual event that provides the extra help necessary to ensure Montreal's underprivileged children have the right tools to succeed in school. Since it is estimated that about one in five children live below the poverty level in Montreal, many families are struggling to find the money to pay for school fees and supplies valued at more than $800 per child1. Again this year, thanks to generous donors and hundreds of volunteer hours, the Mission is able to provide 2,600 children with new pairs of shoes and backpacks filled with grade-appropriate supplies. In addition, families will benefit from reduced prices at La Boutique, the Mission's thrift store, to dress the entire family. All profits are used to support the organization's skills acquisition program.

"For many families, Welcome Hall Mission is a great ally, almost like a member of the family, who helps equip parents and children on the road to success," explained Hans St-Just, Supervisor of the Academic Support program at Welcome Hall Mission. "The Rentrée la tête haute event is one example of the concrete actions we take to help families. By handing over school supplies we hope to significantly improve the quality of life of underprivileged children."

"We came from Ukraine to rebuild our lives with our two children," says Olga Schevchenko, who will be receiving backpacks for her children for the second time this year. "My husband and I are working hard to learn French and to go back to school to find good jobs. But until then, we often struggle to make ends meet and Welcome Hall Mission is there to help us get through these tough times and hopefully offer a better future for our family."

Fighting poverty through academic perseverance

Rentrée la tête haute kicks off an entire year of programs designed to support the success of Montreal's children. In collaboration with families, the Children's Services team accompanies children in their social and personal development through a variety of programs tailored to their needs including academic support, summer programming, camps and special events. These programs are designed to specifically target children with learning difficulties, attention disorders, hyperactivity problems or conduct disorders and new immigrant children in the francization process. Throughout the year, many of the children receiving backpacks will also benefit from the daily delivery of lunch boxes provided by the Youth Micro-enterprise Project2.

1 Source :, 2017
2 The Youth Micro-enterprise Project was implemented in another service of Welcome Hall Mission in which youth ages 15 to 30 learned how to cook in a skills acquisition program. The meals prepared were then delivered to children's services daily.

"Because we want to play an active role in addressing poverty at the root, we are working closely with school institutions and families to fight school dropouts," continued Mr. St-Just. "Often for linguistic reasons, but also for a variety of other factors, we note that parents have difficulties supporting their children academically. Our school support team takes the time needed to help children with learning disabilities and thus give them the support they need to succeed in school."

The strength of a dedicated team

"Thanks to hundreds of hours of volunteer work and generous donors, we are able to offer such a valuable gift to help encourage academic success, an important strategy to put an end to the poverty cycle," said Sam Watts, President and CEO of Welcome Hall Mission. He thanks companies such as Aldo, the Montreal Alouettes, CCM, the Canadiens Fan Club, the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Foundation, the Fondation Marcelle et Jean Coutu, Hydro-Québec, Lepage, Pro-Fêtes, Mad Science, Staedtler and YMCA, which contributed to the success of the event.

The backpacks will be distributed from 9 am to 4 pm on August 15 and 16 to families who have registered in advance. During these two fun-filled days, children can also take part in various learning activities, have a hands-on learning experience with the team from Mad Science and get to meet Sam Giguère from the Montreal Alouettes.

About Welcome Hall Mission

Established in 1892, Welcome Hall Mission has become the largest doorway to help for Montrealers in need. Many programs are available to support the homeless, young single mothers, families, children and youth. Welcome Hall Mission gives them hope through concrete actions and effective solutions to help them improve their lives and reintegrate into society.

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Contact Information:

Sophie Allard, APR
514-499-3030, ext. 771

Kathryn Stephens
Director of Development and Public Relations
514-523-5288 ext. 303