Blog Archive

The second year of Second Chance

By Elizabeth Courchesne


Over the past 14 months, everything we expect from school has changed. The Phelps Helps team has worked hard to adapt to the needs of the students by offering online, in-person, and hybrid models of support throughout the past school year.

As we now work our way out of the pandemic, we must continue to support Stanstead area students, and Second Chance is the perfect opportunity for just that.

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Why Now is the Perfect Time to get Back on Track

By Nick White


My name is Nick White, some of you may already know me through Facebook or other means, and I am the Youth Outreach and Engagement Coordinator at Phelps Helps. (Say that 5 times fast!). I am running a new project that is part of the Compass program at Phelps and is funded by Emploi Quebec. This project seeks to help Stanstead-area individuals between the ages of 15-30 return to school or find employment. One of the most important parts of this project are the completion incentives participants receive upon completing the second and third phases. These cash incentives are designed to help participants with costs they incur while pursuing their goals.


As many of you are aware, Stanstead faces several complex problems that hamper the growth of our community. We face two major issues: 1) Only 49% of high school students from Stanstead end up graduating, and 2) Our unemployment rate hovers around 30%. Fortunately, these two issues are exactly what this project is designed to address.


It has been a strange year. For many of us, it feels like March of 2020 was just a few months ago, yet here we are coming up on a year of COVID reaching us in Canada. Luckily, we can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines are becoming more available daily as our case numbers continue to drop. Our collective hardship seems to be nearing its end.


The phrase “every cloud has a silver lining” comes to mind as we adjust to our new reality, and this lining is all the brighter for those who are looking to get their lives back on track. It has never been easier to go back to school; asynchronous learning and virtual classrooms have become the norm, and schools are offering more flexible learning options than ever before. Distance learning is a fantastic option for anyone who works or supports their family but is looking to complete their high school diploma. 


Universities and colleges are starving for students, the potential losses in 2020 for Canadian post-secondary schools amount to hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars. With less reliance on in-person instruction, post-secondary institutions are no longer constrained by the number of bodies that will fit in a physical space, so they can accept more online students. So, if you have been out of high school for a year or two and thinking about applying to CEGEP or university, now is a great time to do so. Check out our previous blog post for more information about important dates and how to start your journey.


Similarly, there are many new employment opportunities on the horizon as businesses begin to reopen. Job prospects are improving with each passing week, and many businesses are looking to hire individuals they lost due to COVID restrictions. I am here to work one-on-one with participants to guide them through the entire process. 


Best of all, all of this assistance is completely free, so if you know of anyone who wants to work toward the future they dream of, feel free to reach out to me by email ( or track me down on Facebook (Nick White), and I will be delighted to help you.


Taking a moment to talk about School Perseverance

By Elizabeth Courchesne


This week, schools and community organizations across Quebec celebrated Hooked on School Days, promoting academic perseverance, with the idea that even the smallest of gestures can make a big difference in a student’s life. Every year has a theme and this year it is “take a moment for them,” a moment to celebrate students and create some momentum to carry them to the end of the school year.


Young people have not been spared the effects and many challenges brought on by the pandemic. On the educational side, adapting to new teaching methods, social distancing, and a lack of or changes to extracurricular activities have all played an important role in students’ school perseverance, but there is often more. We have seen first-hand that our vulnerable students face more barriers than most, such as food insecurity, poor or no internet access, poor sleep patterns, and less opportunity for family support. Helping children with schoolwork is low on the priority list when many families are dealing with the daily stress of how to pay the rent or deal with job insecurity.


February marks the halfway point of the school year and can also be one of the most challenging months for students. With the winter blues currently heightened by pandemic restrictions, student motivation and engagement are at a low point. Hooked on School week provides us all with the opportunity to speak frankly with our youth about why it is important to stay in school but also to make sure that they know they are not alone. We are, more than ever, committed to helping the students with the support they need for their education but also their mental health. Our experience has shown that our participants thrive when they have individualized support from people who care about their success.


We believe it is also a moment for the community to highlight and acknowledge the Stanstead students who have demonstrated their resilience and their willingness to succeed. Whether it be in-person or online, over 140 local youth have accessed education and career support at Phelps so far this year. We have been blown away by their widely varying sources of motivation, their ability to adapt, and the sacrifices they have had to make this year.


We feel fortunate and proud that they are committed to their education and that they continue to show up during these challenging times.


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Finding the time to read - practical tips to fit more reading into your family's hectic life

By Katie Lowry


Would you like to expose your child to 1.8 million words per year? Of course you would, but how? 20 minutes. Research has shown that just 20 minutes of reading each day adds up to 1.8 million words per year! You can learn more about this here. 

As parents, we know reading is good for our kids. Most of us have been told that exposing our little ones to books early on helps build life long learners and paves the way for future school success. When I first had my daughter I thought finding 20 minutes a day would be a breeze, but then life happened.


Like so many families, my day is typically filled with prepping meals, getting everyone to school and work on time, homework, bath time and cleaning up. The daily grind often leaves me feeling like I have very few moments, and often even less energy available to share a good book with my kiddos. Recently I realized I needed to find a way to ensure we made time to read together. 

Here are a few tips on ways that my family has found more time for books :


Tip #1

Reading isn't only for bedtime. Look at your daily routine and find a time that a quick book or chapter may be shared. This could be during breakfast, tub time or before getting out of bed to start the day.


Tip #2 

Enjoy stories in all forms. Reading doesn't have to come from a traditional book. Look into finding audiobooks that can be enjoyed in the car while shuttling the kids to and from activities. 


Tip #3

Make it a family activity. Enlist older siblings to do the reading. Not only do the little ones love getting the extra attention and time from siblings but this is great fluency practice for big brother or sister as well. 


Tip #4 

Take advantage of waiting times. Keep a book or magazines in your bag so that they can be shared when waiting for curbside pick up of groceries,  when picking up a child from school or waiting to go into a doctors appointment.


Tip #5

Books don't only belong on the bookshelf, make them available, everywhere.  Find places throughout your home to create small collections of books that can be explored. A little corner in the kitchen, a stack in the bathroom, a shelf in the playroom. One of my favorite spots is a pocket behind the driver seat in the car. Keep books within reach of little hands and be sure to update them regularly to hold their interest.


The impacts of reading with your children daily won't only benefit them. It gives you a chance to connect and spend quality time with them. Perhaps my favorite benefit of exploring books with my kids is that it gives me an opportunity to tap into the way they see the world, something that is often very refreshing.


I hope that you are able to try one or more of these tips and I wish you and your family happy reading. 


5 Ways to Apply Yourself in 2021

By Elizabeth Courchesne


With 2020 now behind us, many of us are looking to make 2021 a better and brighter year. What better way to do so than to apply yourself to your education or career. Applying yourself can look differently, depending on what your goals are. Here are a few ways that you can apply yourself with a little help from Phelps this year.






There are many proven benefits to getting your high school diploma. Whether you can commit to full-time studies at New Horizons or can only dedicate a few hours here and there through Distance Education, there is a way to complete the diploma that works for you. For students in the Stanstead area, the Adult Ed classroom (located in the Sunnyside CLC), launched last year, is back up and running. The Sunnyside CLC classroom is a quiet space for Adult Ed students to access the support of a teacher, without traveling all the way to New Horizons in Sherbrooke. The classroom is open to anyone registered at either New Horizons or Distance Education through ETSB. Getting your high school diploma is a step towards opening up new opportunities for yourself. If finishing high school has been on your mind, the Compass program at Phelps Helps can get you started!



If you like learning new skills through hands-on practice, vocational training may be for you! Vocational training centers across the province are now accepting applications for their professional programs such as Welding & Fitting, Secretarial Studies, Mechanics, and Health Assistance & Nursing Care. Most classes offer the choice to do the theory online with practice, and exams, in a secure class environment. Registration is currently ongoing, with the deadline falling a few weeks before the program start date. With so many great options available in the Eastern Townships there is sure to be a program for everyone’s interests!



If you are looking to continue your post-secondary education, the CÉGEP application season is in full swing. Applications are accepted in a round-system using the SRAM website. There is a limit to one school per round, and there are three rounds total. The deadline for the first round is March 1st at 11:59 pm. Applications received in the first round have priority over the following rounds, so it is important to submit your application before the first deadline. Compass is currently offering free support to students applying to CÉGEP. Don’t wait to contact us because the deadline is quickly approaching! Not sure what to program to study? Compass can help you compare different programs available to help you pick the best fit for you. 



Similar to CÉGEP, the deadline for most Canadian undergraduate programs is March 1st, 2021 at 11:59 pm. However, there is only one deadline for Fall admission. It is important to submit your application before the deadline. Applications can be submitted by visiting the university website and completing the application form for your program of choice. There are so many great programs available to study at the university level. If you need help going over all the options and requirements, Compass can help you access and understand all the important information you need to make your decision as well as submit your application. If it is the cost of University that is putting you off, Compass can help you find and apply to scholarships and bursaries, as well as student loans that can ease the financial burden. 



Many people have lost their jobs or have had their job descriptions altered by the ongoing pandemic. The good news is that there are still many jobs available, the pandemic has simply shifted the areas of demand. For instance, one of the areas of need that the pandemic has highlighted is in the hospitals and other essential services. The Compass program can help to update your CV, write a compelling cover letter, and even help you brush up on your interview skills. Compass has received funding from Employment Quebec for the new Youth Outreach and Attachment Project which provides youth 15-30 with an individual support counsellor that will accompany them on their journey to acquire the skills and experiences needed to successfully transition to the job market. For participants who complete the 3-phase project, there is a $1000 completion bonus. 

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Phelps returns for the 2020-2021 School Year!

After 6 months of intermittent schooling, we are excited to get back to seeing our wonderful participants and we look forward to working together to help them keep up, work hard and thrive. Starting September 15th, Phelps will be welcoming students with open but distant arms for tutoring at both elementary and secondary levels. We will be offering online and in-person sessions for high school tutoring, in-person sessions for elementary tutoring, as well as the early attachment Spark program that was forced to stop this Spring.


Our model is built on the individual support we are able to give our participants. To ensure another successful year, we are currently looking for volunteers for in-person tutoring sessions at the elementary and high school level. For more information, please contact


We have put in place strict measure to keep our kids and tutors safe - our COVID-19 Protocol details our approach.


LOCKDOWN SIDE-EFFECTS? Now with back to school or return to workplaces, there is a feeling of apprehension or perhaps it is a delayed reaction to the last 6 months of a hugely restricted lifestyle that was previously unthought-of for most people. Will there be a second wave? Will there be psychological side effects in the long-run on our children, on us? 


For now, there is not enough data to be able to answer these questions and the measures in place are based on what we have learnt since spring. There is increasing awareness that keeping children isolated from their peers and consistent learning environments negatively impacts families as well as the vitality of the community. Other barriers to education that have been widely publicized include the lack of internet connections at home.This has been a concern for a while, but as with many other COVID-related issues, it has been brought to the forefront of the many barriers affecting academic success.


SOCIO-ECONOMIC GAPS, especially in rural areas have widened. Helping children with school work is low on the priority list when many families are dealing with the daily stress of how to pay next month’s rent, buy groceries or deal with job insecurity. We have seen first-hand that our vulnerable students face more barriers - food insecurity, poor or no internet access, poor sleep patterns, less opportunity for family support with learning makes it that much harder to get back on track. The issues highlighted, combined with the fact that many highschoolers got a taste for full-time employment as well as a prolonged period of no school work means we are anticipating a higher demand for our programs.


WHAT ABOUT PHELPS AMIDST ALL OF THIS? As previously mentioned in our last blog post, “Phelps Turns Digital” during April, in the height of lockdown, Phelps was able to launch online tutoring specifically tailored to high-schoolers and organized to fit around the new schedules of the many youth who decided to join the workforce. This support continued throughout July and some of August with the pilot program “Second Chance,” which offers summer tutoring to those wanting to catch up in their weaker subjects or retake exams at the end of the summer.


THE RESULTS ARE POSITIVE. Encouragingly, students who had not attended Phelps programs in several years reached out for help. The students who in the past have demonstrated the most behavioural challenges and resistance to school work were requesting extra math tutoring and even signed up for Second Chance, despite not having the pull-in of exam retakes. 83% of participants from the online tutoring and Second Chance programs combined, reported  improved academic confidence with 52% saying their organizational skills improved. 


PHELPS HELP'S COLLABORATION WITH THE SCHOOL BOARDS and the local schools they serve is paramount to the success of the programs. Fostering communication and brainstorming together is vital to reach the common goal of improved graduation rates. For example, Phelps was able to address the issue of no internet connection for their participants, collaborating with the school boards to identify and distribute wifi sticks to all Stanstead participants who did not have access to the online learning material. Due to our unique position in the academic community, we were able to act as a liaison between the schools and families to encourage and improve communication for 86% of our participants - no small feat when striving to improve attitudes around schools and teachers!


MOVING FORWARD. Our accumulated experience in working with young people since 2012 has been validated by what we have learnt from the COVID situation. Young people thrive when they have individualized support from people who care about their success. The bizarre life we have all been leading has highlighted the challenges the educational system faces but it has also presented an opportunity to change things. The importance of attachment to the community, feelings of belonging, and an awareness that our young people need to know someone is rooting for them.


We look forward to working with our students to help them keep up, know that they are supported, and help them to recognize that they have the ability to succeed. Despite the unique challenges of rural towns, we strongly believe that we will continue to see the substantial changes in our youth and renewed vitality in the town of Stanstead.

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Phelps turns digital

Clea tutoring Kim online

As we settle into our new normal, we wanted to share what we have been up to and give some insight into the many ways we are still operating. Despite the gradual reopening of schools and daycares across Quebec, Phelps Helps, along with most other organizations are still required to remain closed. We are, however, far from inactive. Behind the scenes, Phelps staff continue to be committed to supporting the participants and their families, no matter where they are. We are working remotely and fine-tuning our already creative and adaptable techniques to ensure we are delivering our best to the community. 


During the first week of school closures and the ensuing loss of employment for many in Stanstead, emergency support was our priority, and as an organization that is central in the community, we were one of the first to identify the families that would be in need of emergency intervention. Along with other referrals, coordination of services was set up with Cab Rediker to ensure we were contributing to the food security of these families.


Needs Assessment

As the extent of the disruption and the time people would be spending in their homes became clear, we adapted and changed our model to fit with the new reality. 

As you know, many of our participants were already balancing on the very fine line of failing or dropping out of high school. In response to this situation, we set up a needs assessment and outreach initiative to have a clear understanding of how we can best support our kids. Every one of our 197 participant families were contacted, allowing us to provide comfort and reassurance  while completely assessing the situation. The needs assessment exposed the following insights:

  • 24/55 high school participants have been identified as ‘AT RISK’ of failing this school year and/or dropping out.
  • 29/55 high school participants agreed to start online tutoring
  • 23/29 who have agreed to support are ‘AT RISK’
  • 6/55  high school participants have limited or no internet access
  • 54/55 have access to online learning devices
  • High school online support: One-on-one

High school online support: One-on-one

As school closures have a greater impact on our high school participants, we prioritized our efforts on this vulnerable group first. Within one week of the needs assessment, we created a new service to respond to the needs of our participants. On April 14 we launched an online tutoring service that, in its third week is providing an impressive 35+ hours of one-on-one online tutoring and is set to increase to 45 hours of support to 60 children. Our goal is to help guide the students through their remaining school year so that they possess the maximum of chances for passing their school year and to reduce the increased risk of dropping out. We have worked in tandem with the schools to not only identify those at most risk but to troubleshoot any logistical obstacles (lack of device, safe drops of hardcopies of school work etc.). During our needs assessment, we were able to identify those without internet at home and offer sessions over the phone. The online tutoring and sessions we have developed will continue throughout the remaining school year and beyond until the end of July so that school work and be caught up and to set up our valued participants for a successful return to school in September.


Elementary transition: Online support

We know that many of our students become disenfranchised with school during the daunting transition from their local elementary to the large, regional high school a long distance from home. We are working closely with the schools to identify the grade sixers who are at risk of failing and have lost precious time with their school work. From now until the end of July, we will be providing 1 hour a week to approximately 15 students to help close any academic gaps they have and start high-school in September at grade level. The added advantage of creating connections and attaching these vulnerable new high schoolers to Phelps early on.


Spark: hand-on problem solving

Our younger participants will also benefit from our extended programming with packs including a stimulating STEAM activity, free books, games and local resources, created and safe dropped to the homes of 60 children. Participants will have access to a preparatory video to help prompt higher level thinking and guide them so they can be successful on their own. The group will  subsequently meet online to discuss and analyze the fun activity.



Our compass program is as strong as ever with our dedicated coordinator accommodating the changing needs of students and businesses and offering services online.  So far, 5 have been supported with post-secondary applications, 13 with scholarships and bursaries and 4 with AFE (Aide Financières aux Études) applications. 10 participants are currently being supported with our summer jobs workshops and 6 participants have successfully found summer employment. The Compass program is also collaborating with the UPA (Union Producteurs Agricole) campaign to encourage youth to work on local farms over the summer.


Volunteers and board

To help support this valuable work, we have successfully launched a volunteer recruitment strategy which resulted in 11 new, Canada-wide volunteers, many of which are much needed math tutors. We will be extending our recruitment campaign in order to source volunteers for afternoon and evening work sessions in order to fit around the high-school online learning schedule. Our new pool of online volunteers has made us very dynamic in the way we offer services and this will only reinforce our current offerings.


The new model that we at Phelps have been able to put into place so quickly was possible because of the dedication and commitment of the team who's adaptability of the team has reinforced our dedication to the work we do. Collectively, we increased our hours by 27% to answer the call that came to us from the community. We were needed now, more than ever.



For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us at or call us on 819 704 0799.


COVID-19 Update

Phelps Helps would like to share the following updates about our response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The health and safety of our team members, participants, and the community are essential to us. With the news that school closures will continue until May 1st, Phelps Helps has taken the following measures for the month of April:

  • Phelps Helps offices will remain closed.
  • No program sessions or special events are being held during this period.
  • A reduced team of staff will continue working remotely.

As this is a fluid situation, our team has devised the following action plan to inform our programming and ensure that our participants and our community continue to receive the services that they need now more than ever.

  1. Phelps team members will be contacting all participants and their families to reassure them and assess what their particular needs may be at this time. We will also be contacting our partners, schools, and other community organizations to streamline services and ensure there is no duplication.
  2. Evaluate needs assessed and create a comprehensive action plan to best address the most urgent needs shared; this may result in an adaptation of our current programs. 

Please note: if the needs expressed fall outside of Phelps' mandate, we will provide referrals to community partners who can assist them.   


The Phelps Helps Action Plan will be shared in the coming weeks.



COVID-19 Response

The health and safety of our team members, participants, and the community are important to us. For this reason, we are respecting the social distancing recommendation by the government and will be closing our doors to the public for the next two weeks. Phelps team members will remain available by phone, email and through social media.


Clea Corman will be available for online support for students who have any specific homework related questions from 1-2 pm Monday to Friday.


Elizabeth Courchesne will be available for online Compass support (job applications, scholarships, etc.) from 1-4 pm Monday to Friday.


Furthermore, over the following 2 weeks, keep an eye on the Phelps’ Facebook page for creative at home ideas for children and teens of all ages!


Remember to check the reliability of the sources where you are obtaining your information. Use sites like…/disea…/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html or to obtain trustworthy information on the current status of the pandemic and how best to keep your family safe.


A Resolution to Volunteer

Have you already dropped some of your New Year's resolutions? Need one that will stick? We have the perfect resolution for you: become a Volunteer at Phelps Helps! We guarantee it will be a rewarding experience that will make this year a great one. 


We are actively seeking volunteers to join us in 2020 at our weekly Elementary and High School programs. With more than 160 participants across our programs, we need your help! Volunteers do not have to be specialists in any specific subject but are engaged to guide, support, and encourage the students in their learning. 


We are looking for volunteers to join us for the fooling weekly sessions: 

  • Tuesday 3:15 - 4:45 pm: Etincelle (École Jardin-des-Frontieres).
  • Tuesday 5:00 - 6:30 pm: High school tutoring program (at Phelps Helps).
  • Wednesday 3:00 - 4:30 pm: Elementary tutoring program (Sunnyside Elementary).
  • Wednesday 3:15 - 4:45 pm: Aide aux Devoirs (École Jardin-des-Frontieres).
  • Wednesday 5:00 - 6:30 pm: High school tutoring program (at Phelps Helps).
  • Thursday 3:00 - 4:00 pm: Spark (Sunnyside Elementary). 
  • Thursday 5:00 - 6:30 pm: High school tutoring program (at Phelps Helps).

Volunteers play an essential role at Phelps Helps and much of our success is directly attributed to our many passionate volunteers. If you have a willingness to create a positive relationship with local youth, Phelps will provide all the training you need to feel confident in your role. Any amount of help is greatly appreciated - whether weekly or once a month, every bit makes a difference. We hope to see you in the new year!

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Farewell Jayme

The start of a new year brings change and opportunity. This year, it is bittersweet for us to announce that Jayme is leaving the Phelps Helps team. As a small organization, each role is critical for the success of Phelps and one person can make an important difference. To say that Jayme has made a difference at Phelps would be a gross understatement. 


A Stanstead native, Jayme joined the Phelps Helps team in 2017 after completing her Masters in Public Health at the University of Guelph. In her first year, Jayme successfully launched the Compass program and quickly became a driving force for the organization due to her impressive work ethic and initiative. Jayme has taken on many roles and titles over her time at Phelps; including Program Coordinator, Communications Officer, Operations Manager, and most recently, Associate Director. Not only does she work incredibly hard behind the scenes at Phelps, but she also organized and participated in many community events such as the Phelps Softball Tournament. 


Although she will not be going far and will still be implicated in many Phelps activities, the entire Phelps team would like to thank Jayme for all her hard work and support over the past few years. We also want to wish Jayme all the best as she goes on to this new adventure. We have no doubt that Jayme will better any organization or work she touches, as she did here at Phelps. It’s not goodbye, but see you later gaiter!


We are fortunate to have a close-knit team that is not only skilled in their professions but also passionate about helping their community. Over the holidays, Phelps was busy working to fill these big shoes. With so much local talent and support in our community, we are happy to share that we have successfully completed our team. We look forward to introducing our new team members and all of the exciting things to come in the new year!


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Celebrating a record year!

It has been a record year at Phelps Helps with 172 participants since September in one or more of our programs! Over the school year, we have had 49 volunteer tutors, 60 high school students from Alexander Galt and LaRuche, 44 students from Sunnyside Elementary and 23 students from Jardin-Des-Frontières participate in our weekly programs. 


With the school year coming to an end, Phelps’ weekly sessions will also be wrapping up for the summer. Today is the last day of weekly sessions but we are still offering one-on-one tutoring for high school students to help them prepare for their end of year exams. Students must contact our High School Tutoring Coordinator, Clea Corman, to set up an appointment with a tutor anytime between June 10th and 18th.


To celebrate another great year of dedication and hard work from our participant's at the high school and elementary levels, we will be hosting an end of year party today at 272 rue Dufferin. Elementary students from both Sunnyside and Jardin-Des-Frontières will come together at Phelps Helps after school for special games and team-building activities. High school students and their families are invited to celebrate from 5-6 PM. Subway sandwiches and snacks will be available for all. We hope to see you there!


Lampe-Phelps Helps award winners

On Thursday May 23rd, the Lampe Foundation held its bi-annual awards ceremony at the Army Navy Air Force Unit 318. Educational awards were presented to 10 local students, along with the announcement of many others who could not attend.


Phelps Helps collaborated with the Lampe Foundation, an affiliate of CFUW Sherbrooke & District, in 2017 to offer three awards each year to students who have attended Phelps Helps and are planning or continuing their postsecondary education.


On Thursday, two awards were presented to level 5 students who attend Phelps Helps regularly and are planning their postsecondary studies. Hannah Maddis, preparing for her postsecondary education at Lennoxville Vocational Training Centre, and Jaden Boucher, who plans to embark on a new adventure at Centre de formation professionnelle de Coaticook, were the recipients of this years’ awards.


“After high school, my goal is to complete the Institution and Home Care Assistance program at Lennoxville Vocational Training Centre. It will allow me to pursue a career in taking care of the elderly.” - Hannah Maddiss


Congratulations to Hannah and Jaden! We can’t wait to see you take on these new endeavours.



Volunteer Appreciation

As many know, Phelps would not be possible without its dedicated volunteers. Phelps volunteers attend our weekly programs, supporting elementary and high school students with their homework, to study for tests and in practicing their language skills. At the elementary level, volunteers also engage in hands-on learning activities and play games with our participants. Volunteers equally support our special events: they run the canteen during our softball tournament, dress up as mascots for our family literacy activities, act as flagmen during our 5KM race, among many other valuable tasks.


Since Fall 2018, volunteers have dedicated a combined 1530 hours! Last Friday, we took the opportunity to recognize our volunteers and invited them to an appreciation lunch at Dufferin Heights Golf Club. This informal event brought volunteers and staff together to thank the volunteers for their devotion to the students and to Phelps’ mission.


Volunteering with Phelps Helps is a rewarding process that does not require any specific skills. Sign up as a volunteer or learn more about volunteering with Phelps by contacting


New Friendships: Stanstead College comes to SPARK

Thursday May 9th, Stanstead College held a community service afternoon for their students. 19 of their students chose to attend Phelps’ Spark session for this activity. The Stanstead College students were paired with the elementary participants from grades 3-6 for activities focusing on teamwork and self-confidence. A challenging relay race started the afternoon to help break the ice and build the relationship between the pairs.


In their pairs, Phelps’ participants interviewed their Stanstead College partner and told them about themselves. They made self-portraits on the pavement with chalk, outlining their whole body. In the portrait, they were encouraged by the Stanstead College students to highlight their strengths and things that they like about themselves.


This annual activity is a great opportunity to create links between young people in the community. Phelps is grateful to have this partnership with Stanstead College and have a chance to introduce students from the two schools, which face each other across Dufferin street in Stanstead. It was wonderful to see so many valuable connections being made throughout the afternoon activity. One 8 year old shared that, “it was one of the best days I had all year!”


Sharing the Joy of Reading

Sunnyside grade 5 and 6 students participating in our weekly Elementary Tutoring Program took a break from routine and ventured down to the Haskell Free Library this week. The students, Phelps volunteers, and our program coordinator were graciously welcomed by the Librarian and the new Youth Programs Coordinator. After a brief tour of the historic library, which is famous for being in both the USA and Canada, students had the opportunity to select books to take out to enjoy during Phelps sessions. The Haskell team was eager to learn more about the reading interests of our students to inform their youth book collection. To end the visit, Connie, the Haskell Youth Coordinator, gathered the kids together to share a fun and engaging story about a very curious fly.


The Stanstead area has so many beautiful and historical places to visit, like the Haskell Free Library, and Phelps is always grateful to partner with these organizations and show our youth all that our wonderful corner of the Eastern Townships has to offer. 


Opportunities with Phelps Helps

For a second year, the Lampe Foundation and Phelps Helps are teaming up to offer two unique awards to graduating high school students who participate, or have participated, in Phelps Helps. Applications can be completed by level 5 students planning their postsecondary education in the fall. The application form can be found at and is due by May 10th. Don’t miss out on this opportunity for recognition and little extra cash towards your studies.


The Lampe Foundation, an affiliate of CFUW Sherbrooke & District, was established in 1993 and aims to support the education of community members and encourage the continuation of studies. They offer a variety of scholarships throughout the year, including three in collaboration with Phelps Helps.


Phelps Helps is hiring a student for a Summer Program Assistant position! We are looking for a high school graduate planning to pursue (or currently pursuing) a degree in Education, Recreational Studies, Children’s Psychology, or the like. This position would start on June 10th and run for 10 weeks. Check out the application on our Facebook page or contact us for more information.


Egg hunt brings out 50 children and their families

On Saturday April 20th, 50 children and their families came out - despite the rainy weather - to participate in an Easter Egg Hunt at the Colby-Curtis Museum. The egg hunt took place outside and was followed by snacks baked by the museum, games, a raffle and crafts inside the solarium of the museum. Children enjoyed taking photos with the Easter Bunny, listening to stories selected by our Family Literacy coordinator, and receiving books to add to their home collections.


This event was a special collaboration between Haskell Free Library, Colby-Curtis Museum and Phelps Helps. Thanks to the help of many volunteers, including some of Phelps’ high school participants, the day went off without a hitch. We can't wait to do it again next year!


Phelps’ Mentoring Program learns Code

Thanks to a collaboration with the Haskell Library, the Phelps’ Mentoring program benefited from a visit with Code Mobile last week. The Code Mobile initiative began in 2016. They transformed a cargo van into a computer lab on wheels, complete with all the tools needed to host pop-up workshops in communities big and small across the country! Each Code Mobile is powered by a regional Code Squad whose mission is to put technology in the hands of Canadian youth who may not otherwise have the experience.


Hosted at the Haskell Library, 14 students from the Phelps’ mentoring program aged 10 - 16 learned some basic computer programming and had a chance to build, not just consume, technology.


At Phelps, we value our partnerships as these help us to provide a variety of activities to local youth. Thank you to the Haskell Library and Code Mobile for introducing some of our Stanstead area students to the awesome world of code.


Easter Egg Hunt

As a special collaboration with Haskell Free Library and Colby-Curtis Museum, we will be hosting an Easter Egg Hunt for children and their families on April 20th at 10AM. At the Colby-Curtis Museum, families can participate in an outdoor egg hunt followed by activities inside the museum.


There will be a special visit from the Easter Bunny himself, as well as raffle prizes to be won and books given to the children.


Last year this event was a huge hit in our community, bringing in families from all areas of Stanstead. This event is free and open to everyone. We hope to see you there!


Featured Program: Spark

Spark is in its fourth year at Sunnyside Elementary School. Soon, we hope to expand the program for children at École primaire du Jardin-des-Frontières. Spark unites more than 30 students from grades 3 to 6, once per week for 90 minutes after school. It was designed to cultivate a love of learning through activities that are hands-on, fun and team-spirited. Spark is a break for students from the structure of regular school activities. Students in the program work with older or younger peers — a fun mixing of strengths and levels of ability. Students learn teamwork, leadership, how to keep a clean workspace, how to stay focused and how to stay on task, all within a deadline.


A Spark session begins with 40 minutes of outdoor or gym play, followed by a healthy snack. Students are then divided into teams of four and compete in a hands-on challenge such as a science experiment, math-based problem or art project. Kids can be tasked with anything from building a catapult that launches marshmallows, to creating a comic strip featuring their favourite character, or designing a new animal that mixes features from other animals. Kids at Spark are so engaged in the challenges that they are often unaware of all they are learning in the process.


After four years, we now have 94% of students from grades 3-6 at Sunnyside participating in the program. Teachers report a strong increase in teamwork, ability to self-regulate, problem-solving and confidence among their students who participate and students genuinely love the program.


“Our students visibly love Phelps Helps activities. They get a chance to interact with adults other than their regular teacher. The skills they learn at Spark show in the classroom.” — Rachel Bury, Grade 2 teacher, Sunnyside Elementary School


Interview with our Bishop’s University practicum student

Nick White has been working as a practicum student with Phelps Helps for our high school tutoring program since January. For this edition of the Border Report, we wanted to hear about his experience.


1) What are you studying at Bishops’ University?

Applied Psychology


2) Tell us a little bit about your Practicum course

Phelps is the placement I chose for my 4th year Practicum class where I have the opportunity to put some of the skills I have learned in my Psychology courses into practice. Other students in my class have placements at Alexander Galt, the CHUS, and various other locations around the Eastern Townships. Some of their placements are more observational in nature, so I consider myself fortunate to be able to use some of the skills I have learned while at Bishop's.


3) Why did you choose to do your practicum at Phelps?

I chose Phelps because my father was born here in Stanstead and I wanted to be able to use some of my experiences to help the community where he grew up. I also still have uncles and aunts in the area who I like to visit when I have the time.


4) What do you like best about Phelps' High School Tutoring Program?

The kids are all a lot of fun and nothing beats the feeling you get when a student tells you of a good grade they received on a project that you helped them with.


5) Do you plan to continue volunteering after your practicum?



Term 3 - a chance to finish strong

With the last term before summer, it is time for high school students to work hard, as for some this can be a chance to turn their year around. Term three is often worth up to 60% of the year’s grade. This means that even if a student has been performing below expectations academically, they have a chance to finish the school year strong. For some, this last haul could make the difference between passing or failing the year.


Here are a few study tips for high school students:


1)     Plan out your study time using an agenda or a digital calendar

2)     Study a little bit everyday, instead of all at once the day before a test

3)     Know what type of study environment is best for you

4)     Make sure to ask your teachers questions about more difficult concepts

5)     Ask for help and regularly attend Phelps’ High School Tutoring sessions


At Phelps, we can provide one-on-one support for high school students during this important time. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, students can get off the bus at our location at 272 rue Dufferin in Stanstead and receive homework and study help from our dedicated volunteers. This support is offered in both French and English all three evenings.


Stanstead 5 KM race is only two months away

The 20th edition of the annual Stanstead 5KM will be held on May 11th at 9:30 am this year. For a second year, proceeds of the race will go towards Phelps Helps’ educational and career support programs.


The course will consist of a flat loop around historic Stanstead on streets and recreational paths, starting and finishing at the town hall. Registration can be done the day of the event by presenting at Sunnyside Elementary (441 Dufferin street) between 8-9:20 am. The cost is 10$ per adult and 5$ for children and youth. Elementary students can participate by splitting the race in half with a partner in the form of a relay race. At the high school level, students can compete for their school, as well as individually, and the winning school will be awarded a trophy. To qualify their secondary school, at least four students must be in attendance – the top 4 runners from each school will calculate their score, with bonus points given for any additional runners. Adults compete in categories based on their age and gender.


Medals will be awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd runners from each of our 18 categories from 12 years and under to 80+ years old. Snacks and prizes will be presented at the finish line, following the race.


Record times for this race are held by Francois Menard-Kilrane in 2008 with the time of 15 minutes and 26 seconds in the male divisions and by Mary-Lou Butterfield in 2017 with the time of 18 minutes and 44 seconds in the female divisions.


This race is sponsored by Le Coureur, Les Marché Tradition, Garage Dany Robert and the Town of Stanstead. We look forward to seeing the whole family out for this race!


It’s time to start thinking about summer jobs

On March 25th, Phelps Helps will be hosting the second edition of our Summer Jobs workshop from 4:30-6:00 PM. This evening is a chance for local youth to see summer jobs available in the Stanstead area, make their CV and apply for summer employment with the help of our team and volunteers. Our coordinator will be contacting many local businesses in the coming weeks to identify their summer job needs, many of which will not be posted before this workshop providing an exclusive opportunity to those who choose to attend. Check out our Facebook page ( for more information or contact 819-704-0799.


On Saturday March 2nd, Phelps Helps hosted a celebration for Dr. Suess’ 115th birthday. This family-friendly event was open to everyone and bought in more than 15 families. Check out our Facebook page to see more adorable photos of our visitors.  


Dr. Seuss’ Birthday Celebration at Phelps Helps

On Saturday, March 2nd from 1-3 pm Phelps Helps will be hosting a celebration for Dr. Suess’ 115th birthday. This family-friendly event is open to everyone and will take place at Phelps’ location: 272 Dufferin street in Stanstead.


Many of Dr. Seuss’ favourite characters will be on-site for Seuss themed crafting stations, read alouds and treats. Join us in introducing some of your favourite childhood stories to your children and creating a new generation of Seuss fans!


“The more that you read the more things you will know. The more that you learn the more places you’ll go” - Dr. Seuss


Mentoring - inspired by athletics

Phelps Helps’ Mentoring Program provides an opportunity for local high school and elementary students to build a relationship; mentors are high schools students who gain leadership skills, while mentees are elementary students building confidence for their transition into high school.


Last Friday during the local school’s planning day, our Mentoring Program participants went swimming at the Bishop’s University pool and had a tour of the sports complex. The students had a lot of fun on this new adventure, but what happened outside of these activities was what truly made the difference for these students.


On the bus ride from Stanstead to Bishop’s University, our program coordinator spoke to the mentors about what they find most challenging in high school. The types of concerned expressed by our high school mentors included the stress about what their future career would be, and the path needed to obtain their dream job. Elementary students listened in and even provided our mentors with some great advice about enjoying the process and not worrying too much yet. High schoolers, like many, also communicated how it can be hard to stay motivated when they have a lot of homework to get done. Together, the group of students shared tricks they have used to push through these tough times. Starting with the hardest work first, asking for help, taking breaks, giving yourself little rewards, and attending Phelps’ tutoring sessions were examples of tricks revealed by the students.


After swimming, the tour of the complex and admiring the student-athletes’ photos on the walls, students enjoyed a healthy snack while watching a Bishop’s University basketball practice. Students were inspired by the players. One elementary school student stated, “sometimes school can be boring but if I can look forward to cool sports practices then I would be willing to be good and work hard in class”. Motivation comes from many avenues when it comes to education - athletics was certainly an inspiration to these young students.


Work-school balance

Phelps Helps is taking an initiative over Hooked on School days to raise awareness about the importance of work-school balance. Members of our team have stopped in to visit local employers, asking them to promote this healthy balance in their workplace. Tonight, Phelps’ high school tutoring program will hold a short workshop about this topic during their usual session from 4:30-6:00. All students are welcome to attend this 20-minute discussion where methods to achieve a healthy balance between school and work will be brainstormed and discussed with our Education and Career Advisor, Elizabeth.


According to Conciliation études-travail, of the 168 hours each week, students spend approximately 30 hours in the classroom, 12 hours on homework and studying and 5 hours of transportation (realistically, this is likely up to 10 hours for students from the Stanstead area). Obtaining adequate sleep for a healthy lifestyle should make up 60 hours of a student’s weekly routine. Of the remaining 61 hours, 46 are expected to be consumed by self-care, eating, sports, recreational activities and spending time with friends and family - all things that are essential to living a happy and healthy lifestyle. Taking all of this into account, this leaves a maximum of 15 hours (or even less if you consider the added transportation needs of a student in the Stanstead area) for students to spend working.


While the recommendation is 15 hours/week for students to work, reality can be different. However, effectively balancing one’s time and paid work hours is an important factor in educational success. Hooked on School week comes to an end tomorrow, however, it is a priority for Phelps to support local students in achieving this balance throughout the year.


For students looking for a summer job, take note of our Summer Jobs workshop on March 25th, where many local employment opportunities will be revealed for the first time.


Hooked on School week

Next week is Hooked on School days! This Quebec-wide campaign’s main objective, according to Partners for Educational Success Estrie, is to increase the understanding of everyone’s role and responsibilities in creating conditions conducive to school perseverance. The Stanstead community has battled high drop out rates in the area for years. Phelps Helps offers a continuum of services that support school perseverance. Over the week, Phelps will be holding a variety of special activities to promote school perseverance for all age groups.

At our Sunnyside Elementary Tutoring program, our coordinator has been building up to this week for several sessions. A theme of overcoming failure has been highlighted in read alouds about five famous failures. Students have learnt of famous actors, athletes and icons who have struggled and persevered. A mural has been created with all of the stories and posted for all to see.

Letters of encouragement will be sent from our young high school students to grades 5 and 6 students. These letters will aim to inspire perseverance in our young students, building the foundation for a successful educational career and fostering a sense of community.

A specific focus will be given to school-work balance, a reality for many of our high school students. Effectively balancing one’s time and paid work hours is an important factor in educational success. Our Compass and High School Tutoring program coordinators will be hosting a workshop during our High School Tutoring program on Thursday next week to discuss ways to finding a healthy balance. Additionally, Phelps will be visiting select local businesses to encourage the work-school balance in their employees, asking them to support Hooked on School week by hanging the green ribbon in their window.


New at Phelps: MOTION MONDAYS!

Phelps Helps’ Spark program has been running at Sunnyside Elementary since 2013. The program is offered Thursdays after school for grades 3-5 and focuses on hands-on learning through S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math). Students satisfy their natural curiosity and engage in critical thinking while completing fun team challenges such as building bridges, making slime, constructing balloon-powered cars, creating comic strips and more!


For the month of February, Phelps Helps will offer an opportunity for grades one and two students to take part in a special series of our Spark program. MOTION MONDAYS will be offered to all cycle one students at Sunnyside Elementary during lunch hour. These four special activities will be hosted by our Executive Director, Katie Lowry, and other members of the Phelps Helps team. Motion Mondays will provide participants with a chance to learn through play in the gym, discover new snacks and enjoy a story while eating lunch. Parents interested in registering their children in this one-month offering can fill out the permission slip provided by their teacher this week.


This opportunity is yet another example of how Phelps and Sunnyside Elementary are collaborating to offer the best possible learning environment for children in the Stanstead community. If you are a community member interested in volunteering for this, or one of our other weekly programs, contact our volunteer coordinator by emailing or calling 819-704-0799.


Phelps Helps visits Alexander Galt and Bishop’s University

Last week, Phelps Helps had the opportunity to visit both Alexander Galt and Bishop’s University to recruit students and volunteers.


At Galt, Jayme had a kiosk in the Networking Zone of the second annual career day: Unlock your Future: Discover Opportunities in the Eastern Townships. This was an excellent chance to speak with students about some recent changes to our High School Tutoring Program, most notably the offering expanding to three evenings (Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday) in both languages, as well as recruit some new participants for the program. As the event targeted levels 4 and 5 students planning their futures, she encouraged Stanstead area students to take advantage of our Compass Program, offering individual support for applying to CEGEP, vocational training, financial assistance, as well as finding employment.


At Bishop’s University, Clea spoke to students about volunteering at our weekly sessions. She explained how volunteering with Phelps Helps does not mean being an expert in any specific subject. Our volunteers play sports with elementary students, support elementary and high school student learning and act as positive role models. This call for volunteers is not limited to University students. If you have a willingness to create a positive relationship with a local youth, sign up as a volunteer today by emailing or calling 819-704-0799.


Mentoring Program at Phelps Helps

Phelps Helps’ Mentoring Program provides an opportunity for local high school and elementary students to build a relationship, mentors gain leadership skills while mentees build confidence in their transition to high school. It also provides opportunities for students to try something new; tapping into a skill or passion they may not know they had!


This past weekend, the Mentoring Program partnered with the Code Club at Haskell Library to expose the high school mentors and elementary mentees to a new skill: computer coding. Computer coding is the process of using algorithms to have a computer perform a specific task. With technology advancing everyday, careers in computer coding/programming are becoming increasingly in demand. This opportunity opened the student's eyes to the field and an educational path in computer science. We would like to thank the Haskell Library and Sydney for animating this workshop. The students were engaged and were surprised in their own abilities.


With the start of a new year, Phelps looking for new volunteers for our weekly sessions (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday afternoons). Volunteering with Phelps Helps does not mean being an expert in any specific subject. Our volunteers play sports with elementary students, support elementary and high school student learning and act as positive role models. If you have a willingness to create a positive relationship with a local youth, Phelps will provide all the training you need to feel confident in your role. Sign up as a volunteer today by contacting our Volunteer Coordinator, Clea Corman, by email or call 819-704-0799.


Celebrating Family Literacy Week

Mark your calendars for our upcoming Family Literacy event on January 26th at Phelps Helps. For a second year, Phelps Helps will be teaming up with Literacy in Action to host an event to celebrate Family Literacy Week, January 20-27th. This event was a great success last year with more than 30 people taking part. The hands-on ‘Arts and Scraps’ activity will have elements for all ages and is open to everyone.


Contrary to popular belief, literacy is not just knowing how to read and write and is not only something we need to develop as children. Literacy includes the skills to effectively read, understand and act on information - increasing one's ability to participate in society. According to Literacy Quebec, literacy is not something you have or do not have, rather it is something that continues to build throughout our lives, but it takes practice. Phelps Helps Family Literacy Program believes that the best way to help young children meet success in their literacy development is by supporting the whole family. This Arts & Scrapes activity with Literacy in Action will provide an opportunity for all family members to participate and foster continuous learning at all ages, while also providing an intergenerational opportunity to participate in a free activity in the community.


A reminder that Phelps will be welcoming back our participants from their holidays on January 15th for weekly sessions. We have more than 110 participants between the ages of 8 and 35 so far this school year but we still have room for new participants. Signing up for Phelps Helps programs can be done at any time of the year - contact us to learn more.


Happy Holidays from the Phelps Helps team

From all of us at Phelps Helps, we wish you a happy and safe holiday! Please take note that our offices will be closed from December 24th to January 2nd, inclusively. All of our weekly sessions (high school and elementary levels) will start up again on January 15th.


Already this school year, Phelps has had 111 local community members participate in one or more of our programs. Many others have attended special events held at Phelps Helps like our Family Literacy event that hosted characters from the popular children’s series Paw Patrol and PJ Masks, welcoming more than 80 individuals of all ages. We have had 35 volunteers this fall who have offered their time to help our participants in our 5 weekly educational programs and another 44 special event volunteers!


This school year is off to a great start and we hope to see even more students, community members and volunteers at our programs in the new year!


A valuable gift: time

December is a month of giving. Not only is volunteerism a gift of your time, but it is also a way to feel a sense of joy, purpose and achievement around the holidays. Volunteering with Phelps Helps does not mean being an expert in any specific subject. Our volunteers play sports with elementary students, support elementary and high school student learning and act as positive role models.


If you have a willingness to create a positive relationship with a local youth, Phelps will provide all the training you need to feel confident in your role. Our weekly sessions include:

  • Tuesdays, 2:30-4:00: Elementary Tutoring Program at Sunnyside Elementary (physical activity, storytelling and homework help)
  • Tuesdays, 4:30-6:00: High School Tutoring Program at Phelps Helps (tutoring)
  • Wednesday, 3:00-4:30: Phelps en français - elementary at Jardin-des-Frontières (physical activity, storytelling and homework help)
  • Wednesdays, 4:30-6:00: Phelps en français - high school at Phelps Helps (tutoring)
  • Thursdays, 2:30-4:00: Spark Program at Sunnyside Elementary (physical activity and hands-on learning)
  • Thursdays, 4:30-6:00: High School Tutoring Program at Phelps Helps (tutoring)


Sign up as a volunteer today by contacting our Volunteer Coordinator, Clea Corman, by email or call 819-704-0799.


We would also like to thank all of those who donated to our 4th annual Winter Clothing sale. Donating items, such as winter clothing, also demonstrates another valuable way to give around the holidays.


4th Annual Winter Clothing Sale - Still time to donate!

On Saturday, December 1st, Phelps Helps and Le Lounge will once again be teaming up for a winter clothing sale. Do you have winter clothing you no longer wear? We are taking winter clothing donations until Friday, November 30th. The sale will run between the hours of 10 am - 2 pm at Phelps Helps’ location (272 Dufferin Street in Stanstead). It will provide low-cost options of lightly-used clothing for the cold months upon us. The proceeds of this event will be split between the two organizations.


At the sale, Phelps Helps Family Literacy Program will be hosting fun learning games and activities. Activity tables will have a range of holiday-themed crafts that will help children explore colors, shapes, letters, numbers and more. Join us to learn simple and budget-friendly ways to turn everyday activities into an opportunity for literacy development. Free educational resources and goodies will be available to all.


Le Lounge is Stanstead’s youth centre run by Michael Di Cesare and Macy Doucet. Located at 10 Phelps Street, Le Lounge offers a safe and fun environment for teens ages 12-17, in high school, to go on Friday evenings.


A fun weekend for Phelps Helps’ Mentoring and Family Literacy Programs

It was a busy weekend for Phelps Helps with special events taking place in the Mentoring and Family Literacy Programs.


On Saturday, the high school mentors and grades 5-6 mentees from all four local public schools (Jardin-des-Frontières, Sunnyside Elementary, Alexander Galt and La Ruche) joined for their first mentoring event of the year: bowling at Stanstead’s Recreation Centre and Domino’s Pizza. This special activity provided a fun, safe, and comfortable environment where the kids could build new friendships while also sharing the highs and lows of transitioning to high school.


On Sunday, characters from the popular children’s series Paw Patrol and PJ Masks visited Phelps Helps as part of our Family Literacy Program. This free event welcomed more than 80 individuals of all ages into our location in Stanstead. Families had a chance to meet and take photos with our guests, do crafts, listen to storybooks read by our program coordinator, and take home free learning resources. It was wonderful to meet so many new families in the area!


Phelps Helps works with Local Employers

Phelps is looking forward to its second annual 5 à 7 event with local employers this Monday. Local business owners have been invited to attend this social event hosted at Phelps Helps to network with the Phelps Helps team, learn more about the programs we offer and learn how Phelps is able to support them as employers.


This initiative is part of the Compass Program coordinated by Jayme Marrotte and Elizabeth Courchesne. Participation in Compass, which began in 2017, benefits local youth and young adults by providing assistance in 3 key areas: supporting the transition into postsecondary education, reattachment to adult education, and finding employment in the Stanstead area. Specific examples of the work done with Compass participants include: assistance with applications to job postings, educational institutions, and financial assistance, creating CVs, interview preparation, and more.


By meeting with the employers, Phelps’ Compass coordinators are better able to assess which employment opportunities are available, understand the experience necessary for each and match a job seeker to upcoming job postings. It further allows employers to become familiar with Phelps Helps and reach out to us when they have a job to post. If you are a local employer and did not receive this invitation, please contact us at 819-704-0799 or email


Halloween Trick-or-Treat Food Drive

For a third year running, Phelps Helps, Border Hockey, Stanstead College and Cab Rediker teamed up on Halloween night for a local canned food drive. Local youth travelled the streets of Stanstead (Stanstead, Rock Island and Beebe) on Halloween night collecting non-perishable items from 6 - 8 p.m, despite the rainy, cold weather. The non-perishable items collected were donated to support Cab Rediker’s food programs.


After completing their homework at the Phelps en français session, six local high school students hit the streets around the Rock Island area. They were joined by ten Stanstead College students who covered Dufferin street and the surrounding area, and a group from Border Hockey tackled Beebe. While firefighters patrolled the streets, the youth were able to hand off their heavy bags of contributions. In addition, five parent volunteers drove groups of children to different sectors in the community.


We want to send a sincere thank you to the drivers, more than 20 local youth, firefighters and all community members who donated this year, for trading in the traditional trick-or-treating to give back to the community.




Phelps Helps has BIG news to share

Last week was a big week for our community organization Phelps Helps. Friday, we hosted our first Annual General Meeting (AGM) with more than half of our 42 new members attending. The Board of Directors was thrilled to announce that Phelps Helps has received Charitable Status from Canada Revenu Agency. This categorical transition comes as a culmination of many months of work and will be critical to the organization’s sustainability.  


The AGM was also a time for Phelps to provide an overview of our past year’s work and achievements. The 2017-18 year was one of growth in all aspects of our organization. Our team went from 4 members last year to 7, our volunteer numbers increased to 54, our partnerships more than doubled to now 70 contributors and collaborators, our participants increased from 100 to 160 and even our location underwent renovations to increase our square footage to accommodate our growing numbers.


Our Executive Director, Katie Lowry, presented these highlights and more to the members and emphasized that at the heart of Phelps is the quality and enthusiasm of the team and their willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve participant success through now 9 designated programs. Katie added that the formula at Phelps works because “we support each participant on an individual path to academic and personal success while instilling the importance of community engagement and teamwork”. The Co-Founders also took a moment to recognize the hard work, dedication and leadership from Katie, who has been with the organization since day one.


Collège Servite Partners with Phelps Helps for Elementary Tutoring

Last week, Phelps had the pleasure of welcoming a new group of volunteers from Collège Servite. Four students from the high school located in Ayer’s Cliff were accompanied by the principal of the school, François Leblanc. They arrived Wednesday at Jardin-des-Frontières to help support our local organization.


Assisting the Phelps en français- Elementary Program, the volunteers played fun, active games in the gym with the grades 5 and 6 participants. After some physical activity and a healthy snack, the volunteers, including the principal, were paired with the elementary students to work on their homework. Thanks to our volunteers, the students were able to benefit from one-on-one support with their work. The benefits are mutual. While grades 5 and 6 students profited from the support of knowledgeable volunteers, the Servite students also built important leadership skills and learned about the value of volunteerism.


This new partnership, which is similar to the one Phelps has held with Stanstead College since our founding in 2012, is important to ensure our programs to thrive. We look forward to welcoming the Servite group back every two weeks for the entire school year.


Halloween Trick-or-Treat Food Drive

For a third year running, Phelps Helps, Border Hockey and Cab Rediker will be teaming up on Halloween night for a local canned food drive. Have your candy and non-perishables ready for the local kids who will be trading in the traditional trick-or-treating to give back to their community. The non-perishable items collected on Halloween night are donated to support Cab Rediker’s food programs. The trick-or-treat food drive will run from 6:00-8:00 pm and will be organized through the streets in Stanstead (Stanstead, Rock Island and Beebe). Volunteer youth will be identified with orange badges. If the collection teams do not make it to your area, we invite you to drop off your canned items at Cab Rediker or Phelps Helps (on the Notre-Dame side).


Are you interested in helping this great cause? Phelps is still seeking 15 volunteer youth to go door-to-door to collect non-perishables. Please help make this year another successful one! To participate please contact Phelps Helps at 819-704-0799 or email


Phelps en français at Jardin-des-Frontières

The Phelps en français - Elementary program was launched this September at Jardin-des-Frontières. On Wednesdays, students from grades 5 and 6 at the local French Elementary school have the opportunity to participate in the after-school tutoring program with Alvin Sully from Phelps Helps.


“At the beginning of the year, we had anticipated 15 students joining the program over the year” states Alvin “but we already have 17 students enrolled and we are only on our 4th session of the year! This is very exciting for our team and we hope that this number continues to grow.” 


Alvin explains how the students have a lot of energy at the end of the day so the sessions always start with 25-30 minutes of physical activity. All students, staff and volunteers join into the games Alvin has prepared with enthusiasm. The students’ favorite game so far this year has been a game called dans la mare sur la rive where they are practicing their reflexes, listening skills and concentration.


A healthy snack follows the physical activity to fuel their brains before getting to work. During the snack, students benefit from a carefully selected read aloud and targeted literacy lesson, lead by Alvin. Then, the long-awaited homework begins.


Volunteers are paired with students to help them with their homework. We are still looking for volunteers to fill this role and become a positive influence in the lives of these young children.

Being a volunteer does not mean being an expert in any one subject; it means being willing to create a positive relationship with a local youth. Phelps provides all the training you need to feel confident in your role as a tutor. Sign up as a volunteer today by contacting our Volunteer Coordinator, Clea Corman, by email or call 819-704-0799.


Meet Alvin

Alvin Sully joined the Phelps Helps team in August 2018 as our Phelps en français coordinator. Alvin was raised in Martinique and moved to Quebec in 2006. He has lived in Laval, Montreal and Laurentians but has stopped his journey in the beautiful region of the Eastern Townships. What Alvin appreciates most about our region is being in nature and the mental and physical well-being that comes along with it. Now settled with his wife and three kids in our region, he is excited about his new role at Phelps Helps.


With Alvin’s background in Literature and Languages and Bachelor of Education in French Second Language, there was no doubt that he would be a perfect fit to run our Phelps en français programs. He has 7 years of teaching experience at the Elementary and High School levels. He believes that education is a journey where teachers provide the tools and support each student needs to succeed. Phelps can support the teachers and students in this journey through our programming. He has already worked hard to arrange for school buses to add a stop at Phelps Helps at the end of the day to bring students to our high school sessions and he has put in place an after-school homework program at Jardin-des-Frontières for grades 5 and 6 students.


There is still space left in our after-school high school sessions; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  These sessions are offered to all high school student from the Stanstead area (Stanstead, Stanstead Est, Ogden, and Canton de Stanstead), regardless of the school they attend or their first language. Unlike any other community in the Townships, Stanstead area students can benefit from four hours each week of individualized support from knowledgeable tutors, a safe space with access to the resources needed to complete their work in any subject and in either language, and a healthy snack after a long bus ride!


Skate and Read with the Spartans!

On Saturday, September 22nd, Phelps Helps teamed up with the elite Stanstead College Hockey players for SKATE & READ with the SPARTANS! This was an exciting event to promote family literacy and provide free skating lessons.


We had 43 elite hockey players volunteer at the event hosting a variety of activities for local families. Educational games were set up for all levels, from toddler to adult. The Story Corner was a fun space for our younger participants who joined the Spartans for a read-aloud of ‘The Rainbow Fish’. Our Health Bar featured a smoothie tasting of four different recipes invented by the Spartans, including one mystery smoothie that had participants guessing its ingredients. Also included in the Health Bar was guided yoga for all levels- even the mascot Sparty gave it a try! Last but certainly not least, the elite skaters paired themselves with the participants to allow for one-on-one skating lessons.


A big thank you to Stanstead College for their continued support and use of their facilities and players for this event.


A reminder that on October 3rd from 5:30-6:30, Phelps will be holding an Open House. This is an opportunity for anyone to drop by to meet our staff and volunteers, see our renovations, and learn about our 9 programs. We hope to see you there!


Graduate Recognition at Septemberfest

On September 15th, the Municipality of Stanstead hosted its annual event, Septemberfest at the Stone Circle. This was a wonderful opportunity for the community to get together to enjoy a live band, campfire, inflatable games and activities for children, fireworks and much more!


This year, the Town collaborated with Phelps Helps to congratulate the 25 local high school graduates from the 2017-18 school year. Our mayor, Philippe Dutil, presented the names of each local graduate, 6 of whom were present (see photo). Graduating high school is a big step and something to be very proud of, which is why this opportunity to recognize the students at a community event was very important to both the Municipality of Stanstead and Phelps Helps.


This event was also an important opportunity for Phelps Helps’ Compass Program Coordinator, Elizabeth Courchesne, to inform the graduates about the services still available to them as high school graduates. The Compass Program, which was previously known as the Graduate Support Program, can support community members with transitioning into postsecondary education, as well as returning to education and finding employment. Specific services of this program include support to:

-       apply for post-secondary education (CEGEP, University, Voc Ed)

-       work out logistics (transportation, housing, etc.) for your new life as a CEGEP or Voc Ed                  student

-       apply to loans, bursaries or scholarships

-       figure out your academic or career ‘next steps’

-       write your CV and cover page

-       apply for jobs

-       find out what jobs are available to you

-       return to adult education

-       and much more!


Contact our Education and Career Advisor, Elizabeth Courchesne by email or find her on Facebook, for more information or to set up an appointment!


Phelps Helps starts their weekly sessions with some exciting changes

Phelps Helps sessions were launched this week. Students were excited to see our newly renovated space, designed to accommodate our growing participation numbers. These renovations were possible with the support of the MRC Memphrèmagog through their Fonds de développement des territoires fund, and in partnership with RONA A.Fluet & Fils. Our building owner, Gabriel Safdie, gratefully permitted us to make changes to the space to meet our growing needs and better serve the community.


The renovations included the expansion into a back room that can be opened with french doors, providing a private area for meetings. Our once open-ceiling concept in the main tutoring area is now partially covered to provide additional floor space upstairs. A final exciting renovation that took place over the summer was our kitchen.


Phelps has always used its kitchen space regularly to prepare healthy snacks for the sessions, bake during mentoring activities and teach children during our summer camp how to prepare their own meals. Collective Kitchen also borrows this space every other Friday to host their four-hour cooking sessions focused on cost-effective food preparation. These renovations have greatly added to our cupboard and countertop space, increasing the functionality of our busy kitchen.


Parents and community members are invited to stop by, check out our renovated space and talk to our staff and volunteers on October 3rd, between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m., for our open house.


A Growing Partnership: Skate and Read with the Spartans!

Stanstead College has been a long time supporter of our community organization, Phelps Helps. Collaboration has ranged from holding fundraisers for Phelps to offering their spaces for program use, free-of-charge. Since our founding in 2012, every Thursday, volunteer Stanstead College students and teachers walk to our location at 272 Dufferin Street to sit with one of our local youth to help them with their homework.


New this year, the elite Stanstead College Hockey players will team up with the Phelps Family Literacy Program for SKATE & READ with the  SPARTANS! On Saturday, September 22nd local families are invited to the Pat Burns arena where they will have the opportunity to skate and engage in fun literacy activities hosted by Spartan Hockey players and coaches!


Phelps Helps weekly sessions to start September 11th

Happy ‘back to school week’ for all of our elementary and high school students! Phelps Helps will be kicking off our weekly programs on September 11th for the 2018-19 school year. This year, two new programs have been added to our schedule: Phelps en français (Elementary) and Family Literacy.


Phelps en français (Elementary) is an after-school tutoring program at Jardin-des-Frontières on Wednesdays. Coordinated by our newest team member, Alvin Sully, this program will provide support for students working on their homework and engage the students in focused activities in Math and Literacy. Every session will include healthy snacks and 25 minutes of physical activity.


The Family Literacy Program will host events throughout the school year with fun activities for the whole family. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for information about upcoming activities and how to sign up. Our coordinator has some exciting ideas in store.


Our weekly programs will take place as follows:

Elementary Tutoring: Tuesdays 2:30-4:00 p.m. at Sunnyside Elementary

Spark: Thursdays 2:30-4:00 p.m. at Sunnyside Elementary

Phelps en français - primaire: Wednesdays 3:00-4:30 p.m. at Jardin-des-Frontières

High school tutoring: Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:30-6:00 Phelps Helps

Phelps en français: Wednesdays 4:30-6:00 p.m. at Phelps Helps


To sign yourself, or your child, up for one or more of our free programs call 819-704-0799, visit or drop by our offices at 272 Dufferin street in Stanstead.


Phelps’ S.T.E.A.M. Summer Camp

Last week, Phelps Helps’ held their annual week-long day camp with 21 campers and 6 camp animators from the Stanstead area taking part. The theme of our camp and inspiration for each activity was S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). Engineering was a particularly exciting topic for the campers. They built bridges out of spaghetti and created devices that protected eggs being dropped from 10 feet high. The art of music was showcased through a series of activities: campers learnt about sound waves, created their own musical instruments, and a special guest gave a rhythm workshop. The campers also had the chance to explore our community with a variety of excursions; they went swimming at the Lac Frontière Campground, descended into the famous Capleton Mine, and hiked Mount Pinnacle, to name a few.


The camp, while aiming to instill an interest in the sciences, also had a few other goals up it’s sleeve. The importance of a healthy lifestyle was encouraged through physical activity and healthy food choices. Each day, campers were responsible for making their own snacks and lunches, providing an opportunity to learn about healthy food preparation. Furthermore, the structured environment - incorporating a daily routine and guided activities - aimed to prepare students for the return to school over the coming weeks. We even had a few goals in mind with our camp animators. Their roles provided an opportunity to build leadership skills and valuable employment experience. They acted as instructors, friends and mentors to our campers throughout the week.


Needless to say, it was a busy week for our campers and camp animators. We wish you all a wonderful return to school and will be excited to see you at our sessions beginning September 11th.