32 volunteers and staff make Centre Philou possible
125 children benefit from the services of Centre Philou every year
48 children participate in the Summer Camp program and 17 in the development programs
When Philippe was born in 2000, he was very ill. The first years of his life were extremely difficult. He cried constantly and did not sleep night or day. He had a difficult time eating and drinking, was often sick and refused the care of others. Today, he is completely dependent and suffers from severe cerebral palsy and epilepsy. And yet Philippe has become an inspiration to many and for the past ten years a facility named in his honour has flourished in Montréal.
Centre Philou was created in 2005 by Philippe’s parents – Diane Chênevert and Sylvain Brosseau – after they quickly discovered following their son’s birth that almost no resources existed to help with respite, psychological or financial issues. Mrs. Chênevert took on the role of General Manager of the Centre after working as a corporate communications executive for large companies for 22 years. With diligence and a very clear sense of purpose, she gradually built capacity at the Centre, expanded the care and services it provides and in doing so created a community of families of children with severe disabilities.
The respite service is the central activity of Centre Philou, intended for 12-year-olds and under who are severely physically disabled, multi-disabled, or poly-disabled and whose physical disability takes precedence over their intellectual disability. While in respite care, the children benefit from activities that stimulate their development and general motor skills such as stretching, adapted games and outings.
The Centre also provides professional psychosocial and other specialized counselling to help families cope with the challenges of having a severely disabled child. Additionally, it offers an eight-week stimulation camp for children between the ages of 4 and 12 years old. At the camp, each child is matched with an educator and the two work together on an exclusive basis following an individually tailored program. Two innovative development programs, Paprika and Muscade, for children aged 0 to 5 and 6 to 12 years, respectively, are now offered at Centre Philou providing respite, education and rehabilitation in a single place.
“Diane Chênevert and Sylvain Brosseau are social entrepreneurs in the truest sense of the expression,” says Lorraine Gagnon, Director, Corporate Communications and Sustainability at Power Corporation. “They took a situation that many would have considered debilitating and turned it into a force for good in the community, helping families and advocating for these children with special needs.”
“Through its constant support, Power Corporation has not only helped Centre Philou carry on its day-to-day work with poly-disabled children, but also made a significant contribution to the growth of the organization, which in turn will ensure the long-term well-being of these children and their families, as well as foster compassion and understanding for the most vulnerable members of our society,” says Diane Chênevert, Founder and General Manager of Centre Philou.