We are thrilled to share our client spotlight featuring Chad Polito, Executive Director of Dawson Boys & Girls Club in Verdun, Quebec.
What is Dawson Boys & Girls Club?
With deep roots in the English-speaking community in Verdun since 1959, Dawson Boys & Girls Club is a safe and supportive community center that offers a wide range of educational, recreational, and social programs. Our mission is to provide a safe and supportive place where children, youth, adults, and seniors can experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships, and develop confidence and skills for life.
Why did you want to work there?
I have been working in the non-profit sector my entire career, from churches to community organizations. These collective experiences ignited a passion for community development initiatives that bring about long-term social change. When I saw that Dawson was looking for a new Executive Director, I immediately felt drawn to the organization because of the diverse program offerings and services in Verdun’s community.
What does Dawson mean to the Verdun community?
Dawson has been a pillar in the English-speaking community of Verdun for over 60 years! It is like a family and a second home for so many in the community. Children grow up in our programs, participate as young adults and even come back to work and volunteer years later.
Who can participate?
Everyone! From newborns to seniors, we welcome everyone at Dawson. We have incredible programs for all ages and so many ways for individuals to volunteer. For more information, please check out our website, www.dccverdun.ca.
What is the impact?
The stories of impact that members have shared with me over the years are truly inspiring! We encourage and support each individual to explore, learn, and develop skills to achieve their dreams.
While our focus is on the English-speaking community, we serve everyone who needs our services. Many vulnerable populations find support at Dawson, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour, low-income families, those facing food insecurity, seniors, and single-parent families.
What is exciting right now?
We are so excited to have launched a brand-new music program at Dawson for all ages (from preschool-aged children to seniors). In January 2021, we started virtual guitar lessons for low-income families that are offered free of charge. Renovations are currently underway to build a permanent music room that will serve the community for years to come!
How can we support Dawson?
There are so many ways to get involved and support our work. We are looking for volunteers, in-kind donations, and financial support to continue serving our community. We just launched a brand-new website with an exciting gift catalogue that allows donors to designate their gift to a program in line with their giving preferences. Last year we launched a new legacy giving program to ensure Dawson is around for years to come!
We could not do the work we do without our major funders’ generous support—the Boys and Girls Club of Canada and Centraide (United Way). We are so thankful for their ongoing support. This past year we received an additional $100,000 in COVID-19 support that directly benefited our community. These funds enabled us to respond to vulnerable populations’ needs in our community that dramatically increased during the Pandemic. With increased funding, we provided prepared meals and food baskets for over 900 individuals each month. Furthermore, we were also able to develop virtual programming for over 100 children and youth focused on mental health and wellness.
Tell us about your experience with Pounce Support Services™.
“Kat brings a ton of energy, passion, and experience to our team! We needed support in writing our annual report, and she delivered! We absolutely loved the innovative ideas she brought, such as the volunteer spotlight and a new legacy giving program. We are so happy with the end result that clearly demonstrates our story and impact over the previous year. This will serve as a template for years to come!”