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Partner with us to reduce poverty 

Our founders:

De gauche à droite : Léo Johnson, Ron Carrier,  un diplômé du programme, et Jeannette Johnson

From left to right: Léo Johnson, Ron Carrier,

a program graduate, and Jeannette Johnson

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Sister Auréa Cormier

Léo Johnson and his wife Jeannette have always distinguished themselves by helping people in need. It was by meeting these people who lived at the House of Nazareth that Léo concluded they needed to be integrated into a welcoming environment where they could find hope for a better quality of life.

 

In 2010, on her return from a session organized by the Saint‑Vincent‑de‑Paul Society in the United States, Sister Auréa Cormier, invited by Jeannette et Léo, shared what she had retained from this trip. This session had focused on a particular approach to poverty reduction. Convinced of the need for such a project, Léo and Auréa approached friends who had experience in various related disciplines to give shape to this initiative.

The following year, these people met many times to advance the project which they named “Enviro Plus”. The group had given itself the mandate to help people who are unemployed, underemployed, or facing the prospect of imminent unemployment. The idea was to offer them vocational training in the workplace in order to increase their employability. Léo, as a stationary engineer, saw the recycling and sale of furniture and household appliances as the ideal way to fund the organization. A board of directors was formed in 2012 and Sister Auréa accepted the role of secretary.

Thanks to funding from various government departments as well as the contribution of civil society and religious congregations, enough funds were raised to meet the initial needs. A building was rented in 2013, and four apprentices were accepted for a semester of workshop training. Sister Auréa was responsible for offering these training sessions.

Leo assumed the role of manager of the Enviro Plus store and Jeannette was responsible for cleaning furniture and customer service; tasks they held from 2013 to 2023.

In 2014, Auréa led the Incorporation project of Second Chance Workshop/Enviro Plus. Subsequently, the Canada Revenue Agency officially registered it as a charity under the Income Tax Act.

Who are we?

Our journey:  

Second chance workshop, a non-profit organization, offers an excellent approach to breaking the cycle of poverty. Its goal, through the repair and sale of used furniture and appliances, is to help these too often marginalized people acquire skills, gain self-confidence and increase their self-esteem. 

Integration into the labor market is a winning formula for many of people receiving financial assistance, ex-prisoners and people with particular difficulties adapting to the community. The goal is to better support these people to rebuild their lives and get out of poverty.

At first, Léo and Jeannette, seeing the misery at the Nazareth house, decided to launch a project to recover used furniture in their own garage. This vision quickly evolved, because after months of discussions with dedicated people – Sister Auréa Cormier, Bert Johnson, Conrad LeBlanc, Jacques, and Claudette Labelle – the Enviro Plus store opened its doors in February 2013.

Over the past 10 years, Second Chance Workshop has succeeded in helping more than 150 people find meaning in their lives. The first training center and store (Enviro Plus) was comprised of only 2,000 sq. Ft. Today, the building – purchased in 2016 – covers a sales area for furniture and household appliances, a classroom, a kitchen, a workshop, and a warehouse… a total area of 17,800 sq. Ft. 

 

During the first two years of operation, the agency was run entirely by volunteers. Today, the organization has 6 full-time employees and around 30 compassionate volunteers.

 

        The project continues!

Mission -  To Reduce poverty

We will develop work opportunities for marginalized people and provide them with means to improve their quality of life. 

Objective

The program created will provide basic employability and coping skills that will increase the chances of trainees obtaining and maintaining decent employment.

Principles

We will be aware that each trainee has different needs and we will demonstrate utmost professionalism.  We will work as a team and will maintain open and clear communications between members, volunteers, staff, and trainees.  We will not pass judgement on others based on their opinions.

Values

We will treat each team member with respect and dignity by valuing what each bring to the team.  We will receive all ideas mindfully with a better understanding of differences that lead to personal growth.

Work with pride

Working with pride reflects personal effort and resolve.  It provides a sense of comfort and satisfaction to our colleagues and ourselves. Giving the best of ourselves is vital for success.  Working as a team means “responsibility is the key”.  

Mindful of our planet

We will demonstrate strong environmental leadership and reduce the carbon footprint (CO2) by restoring and cleaning lightly used furniture and appliances, avoiding sending them to landfills.

Our Board of Directors

Jean-Claude Cormier – President

Valmond Daigle – Vice-president

Paul Bourgeois – Treasurer

Etienne Lurette – Member and Consultant

Ted Gaudet - Member

Leonard Goguen – Member

Charline Maillet - Member

Marie-Josée Maillet - Member

Candace Lamlenglar - Member

Germain Aubame - Member

Click here to find out more about our Board of Directors

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