The Right Chemistry Café-Bistro

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CA Canada
Web http://www.avecunami.com/
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Concept

About the project Edit

It’s a social economy café-bistro where young people living with intellectual disabilities will provide food and service. They will do a social integration and professional internship that is a real bridge between school and active life.

Themes

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

There are very few places that are both nice and original on top of being a place where people with intellectual disabilities can be known and recognized. This café-bistro will be a place where these people are welcome just like other neighbourhood citizens. The café-bistro will be located at 2590 Jarry Street East in a solidarity co-op facing TOHU, Cirque du Soleil’s head office and national circus school. It will be a friendly place with social diversity and a forum to demystify intellectual disabilities. A place where differences can be lived as the norm and where the norm is the juxtaposition of differences…

What is the social value of this project? Edit

The Right Chemistry project addresses mainly young people living with intellectual disabilities (PLID) between the ages of 18 and 35 doing an internship in the Montreal region. The goal is to welcome 24 interns per year, 12 at a time, spread out on various schedules during a 6-month internship. Another batch of PLID’s from special schools will be targeted to be involved in committees, awareness activities, speak during discussions, etc.

The café-bistro provides them an inclusive place of solidarity that supports citizen participation. The Right Chemistry is a place on the street, a strategic and accessible place in Montreal where the organization’s administrative offices, adjacent activity room and café-bistro are located. This new space will be a welcoming place for citizens that encourages mingling between people living with a disability, particularly PLID’s, and the citizens of the greater Montreal area.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

Here is a non-exhaustive list of activities that will be piloted by the organization in its new offices:

• Welcoming sessions to new volunteers: Monthly. Information sessions on various kinds of volunteering, particularities, obligations.
• Welcoming sessions for new godchildren: case by case, one-time activity.
• Pairing activities: Monthly. They are directed and supervised, open to godparents, as well as godchildren for them to be paired or waiting to be paired.
• Intellectual disability (ID) training: Monthly. Open to everyone. Compulsory for new volunteers.
• Godchildren council: Every three weeks, this group of seven godchildren members who work as a Board. They will get used to respecting the rules, representing members’ interests, being appropriate and concise, as well as speaking, explaining their point of view, debating, and rallying together.
• Friends Group: Group for helping PLID members in order to develop aptitudes and an interest for • Theme days: Organized by PLID’s and supervised by the counsellor on site, they involve the services that they animate or question, that impassion them (lodging, transportation, food, health, education, etc.).
• Committees: The PCM will support and welcome any committee that takes charges of the global problems affecting several PLID members.
• Conferences: Seasonal. A conference with an elected member on topics that interest our PLID members. Committees help organize these activities.
• Collective cooking: A really nice way to fight against food insecurity and use the kitchen when the café-bistro is closed. It unites group members who live in apartments since they are the ones who lives with food challenges. They will cook with a chef supported by volunteers.
• Exhibits: Annual. Pairing between Montreal artists (sound and visual), in order to realize co-created works. The works will be on exhibit where members, the media, elected members and partners will be invited to attend.
• Events and happenings: Seasonal. During a project launch or simple because it’s been a long time. Members, the media and partners will be invited to attend.
• Active partnerships with local organizations: Ongoing. Active in the sense that PCM PLID members get involved in their activities and/or theirs involved in PCM activities. Organizations, businesses, community, economic, political and institutional bodies. For example, a partnership exists with the welcome and integration centre of new Yves Thériault arrivals where PCM PLID members help new arrivals practice their French.
• Committee to demystify ID: Composed of PLID members, the committee’s mandate to create an information kit on ID and create a tour. They must then provide a presence during the citizen events and neighbourhood celebrations in order to create awareness for the population about ID and the related challenges.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

In 2012, young PLID were not institutionalized like previous generations. They are more literate, able to orient themselves, many live with their families, they go to school until they are 21 years old, etc. Despite this though, they are always stigmatized and defined by the limitations instead of their skills which are many For example, many finish their schooling and find themselves left to their own devices, heading towards a community organization to participate in fun or occupational activities.

Very few places offer them a chance to live a normalized work experience. When we refer to young people’s social participation, we identiy three “dimensions” through which they can increase their empowerment: the sociocultural dimension (for example, participating in places where they can express themselves); the “economic” dimension (for example, participating in an internship); and the “sociopsychological” dimension that corresponds among other things, to the “sensitivity expressed regarding independence and autonomy” (CSBW, 2011: 21).

What is the business model of this project? Edit

It will be a café-bistro managed according to the social economy requirements where a certain “trade efficiency” will be promoted since we have the same “busy” clients as before, but the project is non-profit. Any “surplus” will mean creating a job for a young PLID.


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