May 4, 2016 4:06 pm
Updated: May 4, 2016 6:02 pm

Lasalle’s Action Centre has become second home to its members

WATCH ABOVE: The Action Centre is gearing up for its annual wheelchair basketball tournament. Global's Felicia Parrillo visits this unique day centre for English-speaking adults with physical or mental handicaps.


LASALLE – For about a year now, the activities offered at Action Centre have become part of Joel Elias’ daily routine.

He sees the centre as something like a second home and considers the other members like family.

“It’s a nice sociable place,” he said.

“We’re like family here, we all get along, we don’t pick at each other and we help each other a lot.”

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READ MORE: LaSalle Action Centre offers disabled place to go

Established almost 20 years ago, Action Centre serves about 170 people with mental and physical disabilities.

It offers educational courses, recreational and leisure activities and is one of the few places that offers English services for adults.

But most importantly, it creates a social environment for its members.

“People come here to meet other people with other disabilities, so they feel like they’re home,” said Action Centre’s senior manager, Ilham Bouzouma.

“They don’t feel the difference, that he’s handicapped or he has a cognitive problem.”

As a non-profit organization, Action Centre’s longevity is mostly connected to their ability to raise funds, secure grants and donations.

“To attract more funding, we have to touch more people and those people, we really have to knock on their doors and let them know how it works,” said Action Centre’s Foundation President, Andrew Pepper.

So, to help people understand exactly how it works, the centre sets up fundraising events, like their annual wheelchair basketball tournament.

READ MORE: Action Centre gets Team Global support in Wheelchair Basketball Challenge

“[It] makes you realize what living life in a wheelchair is and it’s not all negative, it could be a lot of fun,” said Pepper.

“So, we’re not focusing on the negatives, we’re focusing on the positives.”

The centre explains the event is a fun way to raise money, but more importantly, to raise awareness.

READ MORE: Global Montreal takes part in Chair Aware basketball tournament

“People with disabilities are mostly excluded from the community, so the centre hosts them and welcomes them with open arms,” said Bouzouma.

The basketball tournament takes places on Saturday, May 7.

There’s still time to register on Action Centre’s website.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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