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GIAG/YJC in Alexandria recently partnered with Beyond 21 of Cornwall for the latter’s annual Christmas bake sale fundraiser. From left to right are: Celia Victor (YJC participant) Jocelyn Savard (Beyond 21 volunteer) Jennifer Perkins (GIAG Employment Services Manager) Tish Humphries (Beyond 21 Founder) Richard Sarault (GIAG Job Coach & Developer) Margaret McCormick (Beyond 21 Life Skills Facilitator & Chef) Submitted photo.

Fundraising, employment training, and festive food result from partnership in Glengarry

A partnership between two organizations serving residents of Glengarry County has resulted in a win-win situation for each—and a win for those who enjoy good food at Christmas.

Before COVID-19, the kitchen at the Glengarry Inter-Agency Group (GIAG) in Alexandria was often being used as a classroom for GIAG’s Employment Services for teaching life skills and job readiness to their Youth Job Connect (YJC) clients.  YJC provides pre-employment training to young adults with barriers to employment. Although the delivery of the program has changed due to the pandemic, YJC trainees still needed work placements.

Beyond 21, which assists adults with developmental disabilities raises funds every Christmas by making and selling tourtières and other treats.

Beyond 21’s Life Skills Facilitator and Chef Margaret McCormick and GIAG Employment Services Manager Jennifer Perkins arranged to have YJC clients assist with the Beyond 21 baking this year.  The partnership resulted in 200 tourtières, and thousands of cookies and butter tarts.  The effort allowed YJC trainees to increase their confidence by using their skills.  The sale raised more than $9,000 for Beyond 21 in less than two weeks.

“You should see their freezers, they’re just packed!” said Perkins.

The deadline to order items from the sale was November 30, and items were available for pickup on December 17 and 21.  Beyond 21 is based in Cornwall, but a volunteer made deliveries to customers in Glengarry.

The partnership has resulted in more than just some good holiday treats and a fundraiser.  It gave two YJC clients three weeks of employment.

Perkins is hoping the partnership between GIAG/YJC and Beyond 21 continues.

“This is a really beautiful partnership!” she said.

James Morgan

James Morgan is a freelance contributor. He has worked for several print and broadcast media outlets. James loves the history, natural beauty, and people of eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

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