Toronto, ON (PRWEB) November 08, 2013
Lise Watier, founder of the Lise Watier Foundation and former president of Lise Watier Cosmetics, joined Covenant House Executive Director Bruce Rivers for an official ceremony today to launch The Lise Watier: This is Me! program for homeless girls and open the new girls’ lounge. Special guests included Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.
The Lise Watier Foundation has committed $500,000 over seven years to support this important initiative.
A new girls’ lounge will serve as home base for The Lise Watier: This is Me! program, complete with workshops led by female business experts, entrepreneurs and community leaders.
About 40 percent of the 3,000 young people who depend on Covenant House services annually are girls. Most have come from abusive homes. Female street kids are 10 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than their peers. An estimated 35% have severe mental health challenges. Most have also had few, if any, strong female role models.
“We are incredibly thankful for the generous contribution from The Lise Watier Foundation that has made this much-needed program possible,” Rivers says. “Young women are often victimized and exploited on the street and often have greater challenges with self-esteem. The new lounge space, the female-centred activities and the support they will find here will help more of these young women transition successfully to independence.”
Developed with input from the female residents, the program’s workshops and activities cover a wide scope of practical life skills, such as budgeting and household repairs, plus business-savvy courses, career planning and personal branding.
“Self confidence begins when you are young with love, understanding, encouragement, and dreams,” Madame Lise Watier says. “For many young girls, the dreams, love, encouragement and understanding have never been part of their lives. If we can help these young women build their self-esteem, become more confident and prepare them for a better future, we not only help them, but also their future children and eventually our entire society.”
Girls in the program will also be paired with volunteer mentors, have access to one-on-one counselling and participate in group outings. The newly constructed and attractively decorated lounge will provide a safe space for them to gather and support one another.
The Lise Watier Foundation is a national non-profit organization with a mission to empower women and girls to live without limits. The foundation supports organizations to help move women out of poverty into economic independence and to end violence against women.
Covenant House, the country’s largest homeless youth agency, offers the broadest range of services under one roof, including crisis shelter and transitional housing, employment and educational assistance. To do all of this, the agency relies on donors for 80 percent of its $20-million annual operating budget.