- The History of Pleins Rayons
In 2015, parents from the greater Brome-Missisquoi region were desperately seeking alternatives for their children with an intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder. They rightly felt that their children were not receiving enough stimulation and were in need of an active role in society. These parents were understandably very concerned for their childrens’ future.
“What will happen when we, the parents, are no longer there?” The need was and still is acute. Until Pleins Rayons came along there was no interesting program for an individual over 21 years of age with an intellectual disability or an autism spectrum disorder. Autistic youth and youth with an intellectual disability face many obstacles trying to find their place in society. The wait for specialized services is often long, frustrating and not easy to navigate. Often parents had no option but to stay home to supervise their child.
Michael Herman, one of the founders of Turkey Hill Sugarbush Ltd, started by working with his family to set up a used bicycle repair program that then distributed these bicycles to less fortunate children through local schools. It was thus that Pleins Rayons was born. Through a local school principal, Mr. Herman was introduced to Stephan Marcoux, a trained recreational therapist, who was at the time working with Myriam de Coussergues, a specialized care counselor in Cowansville. Stephan Marcoux and Myriam de Coussergues joined Pleins Rayons and together began to develop programs with the ultimate goal being the active social inclusion of young adults with an intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder.
Through the refurbishing of used bicycles our apprentices develop their social vocational skills which can be transferred to a workplace environment. The apprentices then get to bring joy to underprivileged children in the community when they deliver the refurbished bicycles.
Overtime, other learning stations have been added. The parents of the young adults take pleasure in getting involved with Pleins Rayons because it gives them the support they need to develop their child’s autonomy. Together with the community; schools, health care providers and employers, Pleins Rayons is always looking to developing new ways of integrating Pleins Rayons’ apprentices into society. Today, there are more than 50 weekly apprentices who attend Pleins Rayons’ program to develop their social vocational skills.
Pleins Rayons is supported by private donors, foundations, local businesses and the town of Cowansville.
We wish to thank the Herman family founding members, our “start-up” donors, and all the parents who have supported Pleins Rayons from the beginning. Thank you to all of you who believe in the Pleins Rayons mission.
- December 2015 : Pleins Rayons is created as a non-profit organization
November 2016 : À Part Entière prize
October 2017 : Laureate at the Gala of Excellence, category : Non-Profit Organization
- July 2018: Pleins Rayons is granted status as a registered charity by CRA.
- January 2019: Project creation for ¨social-vocational integration¨ in collaboration with the Brome-Missisquoi Campus.
- March 2019: Project creation for ¨social integration¨ in collaboration with the Brome-Missisquoi Campus.
Each endeavor taken at Pleins Rayons has a direct impact in the community and allows the participants to grow, experience achievement, and most importantly, earn satisfying recognition.X
Pleins Rayons is constantly innovating as it seeks to offer quality services and activities for its apprentices. Also, each project has a positive environmental impact in the region through the recycling of material (bikes, wood, clothing, fabric, metal, etc.). For example, our bird house making project has made it easier for farmers to attract insectivorous birds.X
Meaningful projects give the apprentices the opportunity to gain practical socio-professional skills. The approach enables to build upon each apprentice acquired knowledge and strengths by aiming self-fulfillment through social inclusion or hiring. The apprentices can also express their creativity through our various services, helping projects, and items creation or restauration for our community.X