The Yvon Deschamps Foundation, which helps kids access educational and physical activities, held its first ever hockey fundraiser on Saturday at the Camillien Houde Arena.
The foundation does work in the south-centre working class neighbourhood east of the downtown core.
The goal is to raise $10 million to maintain the foundation’s facilities, which has been a part of neighbourhood for over 40 years.
In that time, they’ve opened several services for kids that promote an active lifestyle, such as a community pool; and academic support services such as a library and after-school tutoring.
Saturday’s hockey fundraiser, named the “Patrice Lemieux Classic” after a popular YouTube program, attracted many local celebrities including former NHL player Georges Laraque.
“When you’re in shape, the chances of achieving your dreams are much better than if you’re not,” Laraque said.
“That’s why this foundation is good, because it’s building pools and other things. Kids being active in a pool, it’s the same as being active in hockey. Sports are sports.”
Daniel Savoie, the actor who portrays Lemieux, participated in the fundraiser.
As a kid he grew up in the neighbourhood and he understands the importance of the Yvon Deschamps Foundation.
“What you have to understand about this area, it’s a district where, I wouldn’t say is poor, but it’s not like Westmount,” Savoie said.
“It’s an area where we have all kinds of kids and it’s important to have organizations who help kids avoid making bad life decisions.”
The Yvon Deschamps facilities are frequented by 400 000 visitors annually.
200,000 of them are minors.