West Island’s Family Resource Centre ready to help families during COVID-19 crisis

Click to play video: 'Montreal family resource centre available to help those dealing with COVID-19 isolation lows'
Montreal family resource centre available to help those dealing with COVID-19 isolation lows
WATCH: If you or a family member are feeling the strain of social distancing and isolation, a family resource centre in the West Island is just a phone call away and looking to help out the community during this time. Global's Dan Spector has more. – Apr 5, 2020

The phone has been ringing quite a bit at the Family Resource Centre in Pierrefonds

“Over this week, I’m sure we’ve received easily over 100 calls,” said Ron Swan, executive director of the Family Resource Centre, which helps families and children dealing with behavioural issues.

Many of those calling are parents working from home, now living full-time with kids who are home from school. D.D.O. resident Brian Gutenplan has been living under one roof with five kids, his wife and a dog.

“Ron has been very good at giving some tips and keeping everyone calm,” Gutenplan explained.

“The struggle of the new isolation because of the crisis is causing issues for parents that are not accustomed to being around their children full time and they just need to know someone is there to listen and lend a hand,” said Swan.

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Usually the centre holds group sessions in person, but these days the work is being done over the phone. As the COVID-19 quarantine drags on, more people need help.

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“It was easy at first,” said Swan. “There was a honeymoon period, when no demands were put on their children.

“As the isolation continued, we’re seeing a lot of parents calling us because some of those old issues are creeping back into the picture.”

The organization, which offers its services for free, nearly closed down last year due to a lack of funding. However, a last-minute donation from a corporate sponsor was received.

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“It was actually after the 11th hour we got a donation from a corporate sponsor that allowed us to keep servicing the population at large for at least another six to seven months,” said Swan.

He said one caller this week was a mother stuck in a bathroom not sure what to do because her son was having a tantrum, and that she needed to be “redirected” before she could redirect her son.

Local MNA Carlos Leitao recently shared with his network that the resource center is still open.

“Resources offered by the Family Resource Centre are more important than ever,” he told Global News.

Though they specialize in younger kids, Swan says nobody who calls will be denied help.

“You’re not alone, and even though things may be dire, there’s a way out. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

“When our kids have kids, they’ll be reading about this in the textbooks in history,” said Gutenplan.

“I doubt Ron will be mentioned, but organizations like Family Resource Centre will be spoken about because they help so many people.”

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If you or your family need help with behavioural issues, the Family Resource Centre number is 514-676-7775.

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