In 1991, Father Michel Boisvert, a Jesuit living in Quebec, was awarded the task of renovating the Jesuit’s buildings on Dauphine Street that had been unoccupied for many years. His task was to answer an urgent and universal need. Father Boisvert noticed that many teens wandered the streets of old Quebec; in particular the Youville Square, a short
two-minute walk from Dauphine Street.
He decided to open the doors to the youths, hoping to prevent these young vagrants from becoming homeless adults. In the summer of 1992, with the help of some like-minded citizens who shared his concerns for youth, he founded les Oeuvres de la Maison Dauphine, which today is a leader in helping the street youth of the city.
Since 1992 ``la Dauphe``, as the youth call it, welcomes pre-teens, teenagers and young adults from 12 to 24 years old who are in need of a safe haven. This year alone, 500 youth used the services, of which a third were newcomers. The majority of these young people have broken all ties with society, and often with their own families.
Many have multiple problems; drug addiction, poverty, violence, homelessness or multiple forms of abuse. Many have travelled from foster home to foster home and have never knew a safe environment. is Many have developed self-esteem problems, which increases their sense of rupture with society.
La Maison Dauphine allows young people to recreate a safe living environment close to their needs and reality and to try to break the vicious circle of violence, poverty and homelessness of their past. They are accepted for who they are and where they came from. They can take a break from their daily routine, and receive the support and help needed to develop the engagements to solve their problems.
On the Street
Intervention starts on the street for some of the staff at Maison Dauphine, the street workers. They work on the street five days a week. Their role is to make a first contact, and to have the youths work on their problems. Thus, the street workers offer multiple services either at Maison Dauphine, on the street or at the youth’s home.
At La Maison Dauphine
The ``le Local`s`` mission is to be a safe extension of the street. For the great majority of the youths, it is the first door to access La Maison Dauphine. Le Local offers the essential services; a nurse for health issues, food on site, social workers, housing assistance, ECT…
Health Services Competent, caring staff are available for counseling, first aid and mental health issues. Poverty and exclusion often expose the youth to many health issues and the staff is experienced in identifying the underlying cause of complex problems.
Housing Services are meant to assure the stability of the youth that have already started working on their social reinsertion. The staff help them find a place to live, and encourage responsibility in cleanliness, renovations and in maintaining good relations with their landlord and neighbors. Where necessary, help is provided in the terms of clothing and furniture.
Judicial Services was created in 2003 and is mandated to represent the youths in legal situations and to assure that they are well advised and their rights protected. Since this service began it has been involved in 800 cases and directly helped over 300 youths.
The Babyboom Project was born in 2004 when pregnancies blossomed from 3 or 4 to over a dozen! Since 2004, 33 families have been taken in charge by la Maison Dauphine. Since most of these young mothers and fathers have no social network, the Baby-Boom project aims at giving them the tools they need to be parents, as well as the mental, physical, emotional, and psychological support they need. Baby Boom focuses on the well-being and development of their babies and are closely monitored by the nursing and social services staff.
Jeunes en Action Dauphine (JAD) is a program of social reinsertion for the youth aged 18 to 24. It is a time out for them, in groups or individually, where responsibility are given through art, sport and culture.. By working on their self-esteem they get to know themselves better. They also work on their outside life; stop the use of drugs or alcohol, pay tickets, find a place to stay. The ultimate goal is to allow them to eventually return to school or find a job…and keep it! Our success rate is 85%.
L’École de la Rue is one of our greatest achievements. It opened in 1998, to allow street youth to go back to school and get their diploma. Since its creation, 300 youth attended the school of which a third received their diploma. The school focuses on the individual’s needs and reality The staff work with them in and out of the classroom to better achieve common goals. L’École de la Rue is a recognized establishment of the Ministry of Education and works closely with the Louis-Jolliet Centre.
L'aide à l’orientation (counseling service) is available to all the youth that attend la Maison Dauphine. A counselor meets with over 500 youths a year to help them with the choice of a career, application to college or university, scholarship applications, or a resume for a job!
The Kitchen and the preparation of the food is based solely on donations. The kitchen staff do magic every day to serve approximately 150 meals. Also, the youth can come every week to take a basket of food that they can bring home. During the school year, every student is also allowed access to the food baskets.