President, Project Genesis
Présidente, Projet Genésis
1. How did you get involved with Federation CJA, and why?
I got involved with Project Genesis after a bank robbery in October of 1988 at the Bank of Nova Scotia on the corner of Victoria and Van Horne . 600 safety deposit boxes were robbed, and Project Genesis helped us to organize the victims, plan press conferences, and I ended up being the spokesperson for the group. I had frequent conversations and meetings with the Vice President of the Bank and arranged transportation for the elderly people who were victimized. After 98% of the cases were settled, I felt I needed to give back to the community, and I became a volunteer and Board member at Project Genesis. I subsequently became Chairperson of the Board, and stayed in that position for 15 years.
2. What is your fondest memory to date of your time working with Federation CJA?
My fondest memory came when homeless people were given banking privileges, even though they did not have a permanent address. The other memories came from empowering welfare recipients in standing up for their rights, both with their landlords, and at the welfare office. The staff and volunteers did an exceptional job assisting the clients and ensuring that they received everything that they were entitled to.
3. Can you recall a particular moment or event that impacted you profoundly?
The events that impacted me most profoundly usually occurred at the Annual General Meetings. Clients were invited to share their stories; how they arrived at Project Genesis, and what assistance they received. Their stories were powerful, and reminded me of the time when I immigrated to Montreal with my parents and the help we received from JIAS. I was always proud and privileged to be associated with Project Genesis, and with the number of people we were able to help.
4. What advice would you give to the young women following in your philanthropic footsteps?
My advice to young women would be to pursue their dreams and not to give up on their philanthropic goals. It sometimes takes a long time to effect change, but with persistence and determination one is able to impact people who are most in need. One has to believe in the goals that are set, and work until a desirable end is achieved.
5. What is your legacy?
My legacy is that I have always done what I thought to be right and beneficial, and that I have shown the way to others whose paths have crossed my journey. The gratification that I received from being involved with Project Genesis and Federation CJ A cannot be put into words, but it is a feeling that I will always cherish in my heart.