I Spy Montreal Parents: Robin Goudreault, LaSalle
This week’s I Spy Montreal parent interview is with Robin Goudreault, one of eight parents who recently started Connections Community Co-op in LaSalle.
The Co-op holds a drop-in playgroup on Monday and Thursday mornings for children age 0 to 5 and their parents/caregivers, and plans to open a parent-friendly café, hold workshops and operate a preschool.
The parents behind the co-op come from a variety of professional backgrounds including nursing, teaching, early childhood education, research, public policy, journalism and sports therapy. Keep reading for playgroup times and location, and a great family-friendly destination in LaSalle.
Hi Robin, please introduce yourself and tell us about the co-op.
I live in LaSalle and have two children, ages 2 and 5. My five-year-old just began kindergarten and the younger one is at home with me. I am one of the eight founding women behind Connections Community Co-op. We are a group of moms who came together to create the coop to meet our needs within our community. We were all looking for a place where we can grow as people, be valued by our community, get support and share experiences, find friendship, build inner strength and have a place to socialize.
What is the playgroup all about?
Our cooperative playgroup promotes activities for children aged 0-5 years, where parents also get to interact with other parents. The playgroup provides an opportunity for children to play together in a large room under the supervision of their parents. The parents also have the opportunity to get together and develop new friendships
As a cooperative, all members share the responsibility for organizing activities and for maintaining the equipment and the space used for the activities.
Is the playgroup limited to LaSalle residents?
Our drop-in playgroup is open to anyone – of course we encourage people who enjoy the playgroup to support the co-op by becoming members. We currently have people visit from Châteauguay, the West Island and N.D.G.
How did the café idea come about?
The idea stemmed from the founding members’ need for a great place to go, get a terrific coffee, meet other like-minded people from the community, and for it to be welcoming to their young children. We were all traveling to other parts of the city to get this kind of atmosphere but we wanted something closer to home that reflected our community. So we decided to create what we needed!
You mentioned that co-op members share responsibility for organizing playgroup activities and organizing the playgroup space. How does membership work?
We are a registered non-profit solidarity co-op. We currently have 32 members including the founding members. The playgroup is one of our co-op’s activities – it is open to both members and non-members. The fee is 3$ per family per visit, members get the option of paying a flat fee of 40$ per session. Not all our members have young children, therefore not all members come to the playgroup.
The way a solidarity coop works is that it is owned and operated equally by all of the members. Connections Community Coop has three types of members.
1- User members: someone who thinks they will use the services of the co-op (come to the cafe, take a course, or use the preschool).
2- Support members: someone or an organization or business who wants to support the idea of a community co-op, but will not necessarily use the services (for example: someone who lives in another community but loves the idea or another co-op/organization that wants to show solidarity).
3- Worker members: someone who works for the co-op on a regular basis as a full-time or part-time employee.
User and support membership for individuals costs 10$ for a qualifying share – valid for life. Membership for a support organization is 100$.
Each member of the co-op has a vote at the Annual General Meeting and is eligible to sit on the board.
Are you looking for volunteers? If so, what kind?
We are looking for MEMBERS. People who want to create something in the community for themselves, as well as other community members. We want dynamic people who want to invest in Connections Community Co-op, guide its direction and make an impact in their community.
Can you share a family-friendly weekend activity or destination in LaSalle?
On weekends, one of my favorite activities is to walk to the Parc Des Rapides in LaSalle with the children. It is located at the end of Bishop Power St., on LaSalle Boulevard. It has a breathtaking view overlooking the rapids and often great blue herons can be seen in the water on the sheltered side of the walking path. My 5-year-old loves to bring his binoculars and look for different birds. It is a tranquil spot with plant life and wildlife in natural surroundings that were created in this urban environment. Héritage Laurentien naturalists are often on site and are able to answer questions about the wildlife, plant life and history of this magical place. Editor’s note: To contact Héritage Laurentien, call 514-367-6540.
Connections Community Co-op
The playgroup is held on Monday and Thursday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to noon at Centre Sportif Dollard-St. Laurent 707, 75th Ave. (corner de la Vérendrye), LaSalle. Activities include free play, stories, songs, rhymes and crafts. Cost is $3 per family per visit. Organic, fair-trade coffee and tea is provided (please bring your own mug to reduce waste). For questions, contact Ann at 514-364-9199 or firstname.lastname@example.org