Imagine undergoing recurring treatment for cancer or another critical illness and having no help to get to your appointment. Now imagine being isolated and stuck inside your home for the past two years, wanting to go out, but being too scared to do it alone. That is where Accompagnement Bénévole de l’Ouest (ABOVAS) comes in. The non-profit organization matches volunteer companion drivers with West Island residents in vulnerable situations who need accompanied transport to get to their medical and/or social appointments on the island of Montreal.
Now celebrating its 15th anniversary, ABOVAS was created in 2007 by Andre Hupé, Paul Bissonnette, and Claude Jourdain in collaboration with the CIUSSS and the West Island municipalities. Throughout the years, the service continues to grow; as of March 31st, 2022, 209 volunteer companion drivers helped 5,700 clients get to a total of 31,370 accompanied transports.
The volunteers' hard work never goes unnoticed by ABOVAS clients; "Their service is exceptional. I'm treated well, and I feel taken care of. I don't know what I'd do without them. I've been on my own for a while, so to have their service has been a life-changer. The volunteers are lovely, prompt, considerate, and accompany me the entire way", reads a testimonial from M. L, a 76-year-old Pierrefonds client.
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Their 15th anniversary will be celebrated two ways on Wednesday, September 28th, 2022.
First, a conference on mental, physical, and social deconditioning (the process of losing physical strength), will be held from 2 pm to 4:30 pm in the DDO Civic Center Banquet Hall (door 5). This event is open to the public, and registration is mandatory but free for those who which to attend. There will be a panel discussion followed by a question and answer session with all in attendance (associations and services catering to the West Island community and seniors). Furthermore, attendees will be able to visit kiosks during the breaks. To register, click here.
Second, a cocktail reception, by invitation only, with M. Tom Mulcair as honorary spokesperson, will happen from 5 pm to 7 pm in the Park View Hall of the DDO Civic Center (door 5a). During the cocktail, they will be honoring ABOVAS volunteers and thanking them for their devotion to ABOVAS' mission and their work towards the betterment of the West Island community.
To find out more, visit www.abovas.com