In Quebec (Canada), the SSVP Encourages the Students to Stay in School with “Opération Bonne Mine”

by | Dec 4, 2017 | News, Society of St. Vincent de Paul

In looking at the statistics showing that children living under the low-income cut-off were more likely to drop out of school, the youth of the SSVP Regional Council of Quebec (Canada) decided in 1985, to launch an initiative called “the Service of Aid to Young Students” (SAJE). Objective: to help families facing the financial charges related to the beginning of the school year and allow young people to acquire a positive vision of the school.

It then turned into “Opération Bonne Mine,” and the program spread across the whole province, which represents more than 300 Conferences, thus becoming the flagship project of the Regional Council. Today, the SSVP in Quebec works with students of primary and secondary school whose parents have limited financial capacity. It implements actions that allow the young participants to increase their self-confidence and to see the future with optimism. Besides contributing to meet the basic needs of children and teen-agers, Opération Bonne Mine acts directly on key components of school success such as self-esteem, belonging to a group and the valorisation of surpassing oneself.

The fight against dropping out of school has also had the effect of reducing the number of young people falling into problems related to delinquency, precarious employment, homelessness and drug addiction.

The programme is split into 3 segments:

  • Support for the new school year: the objective is to meet the essential and material needs of a child. From July to September, families and children prepare themselves for the school start. This is a big issue; the SSVP helps young people live a great experience from the beginning of the school year by providing them with suitable equipment, clothing in good condition and supporting families in paying the school bills.
  • To encourage perseverance: the objective of this second stage is to meet a child’s need of belonging by helping him to develop his talents in a process of personal and social learning. Community and artistic socio-cultural projects are implemented with children in partnership with schools, local organizations, museums, etc. They allow young people to actively participate in a collective achievement, encourage motivation, self-esteem and enhance the potential of everyone.
  • To reward the effort: the objective of this third phase is to meet the child’s need of self-esteem by valuing his efforts and his contribution to the community. Scholarships are given to students who have shown a progress or continuity in their learning, their social integration, their involvement and their autonomy. These are granted to merit rather than academic performance. Amounts of $250 to students of primary education and $500 to high school students are handed out at a gala at the end of the year. This recognition before their parents and teachers encourage them to continue making the necessary efforts to further their education.

We believe that offering everybody equal opportunities to discover their full potential promotes the retention of children in schooling and contributes to break the cycle of poverty in a concrete way. (SSVP Montreal)

In 2016, 8,269 young Quebeckers were able to enjoy the benefits of the Opération Bonne Mine and cling to success.

Find out about other initiatives and projects of the SSVP – Quebec on the web:




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