Solidarité Mercier-Est is an administrative organization that helps coordinate the government funding bodies and community organizations in this borough. Each organization plays a complementary role by having a mission to serve a specific population including the elderly, youth, families and newcomers. It is through this organization that Project Someone researchers initiated contact and collaborated with the following community centers: La Maison des familles, le Chez-Nous de Mercier-Est, l’Antre-Jeunes and le Garage.
Project Someone collaborated with Solidarité Mercier-Est to study the social pedagogy interventions of these three organizations working with different demographic groups in this Montreal East Borough.
Through the production of four documentaries made in collaboration with the stakeholders of these three community centers, and through the production of didactic material addressing issues experienced by the speakers, Someone researchers and their partners examined the contribution of these organizations to counter social exclusion and improve cohesion in their neighborhood.
Documentary on Chez-Nous de Mercier-Est
The documentary, produced in collaboration with the Chez-Nous team, presents members who reflect on what motivates them to get involved as volunteers and what these volunteer and community involvement activities represent. We also hear from Chez-Nous program administrators regarding how they perceive their support role for this particular population group. The second part of the documentary presents the challenges that members and stakeholders face on a daily basis. The problem of intimidation and the inclusion of new members in the organization is highlighted, as is the way in which stakeholders designed and applied particular intervention methods to prevent and remedy such problems.
Since its creation, the documentary has been used by the administrators of Chez-Nous during regional events that brought together intervention professionals and the elderly.
Documentary on the Maison des familles
Produced with the Maison des familles team, this documentary offers a deep reflection on the social realities of the neighborhood. The speakers explain how Mercier East is in a phase of transformation from a suburban peripheral district and homogeneous population to an urban living environment with a more varied socio-economic fabric. They explain how these realities impact their work and describe their role within the organization. Members from various cultural backgrounds discuss their relationship to Maison des familles and explain how the organization allows them to link their individual journey to a broader citizen approach. The staff at Maison des familles explain that the challenges they face stem mainly from the socio-economic differences that exist between the different population groups who inhabit the borough. They elaborate on the importance of member engagement and empowerment within the organization to truly represent the community’s needs.
Documentary on the Antre-Jeunes
This documentary about l’Antre-Jeunes and Le Garage features different residents’ perspectives on the reality of social housing neighborhoods. Often associated with the stereotypical image of US ghettos, these housing areas are home to residents with diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Garage members explain how living in this environment impacts their own social development and that of their children. They talk about issues such as violence, crime and fear to justify feelings of insecurity among the residents of these housing projects.
On the other hand, we then hear youth workers from Antre-Jeunes who talk about their role with young people from these neighborhoods. While presenting the different types of interventions they carry out, they reflect on the population’s expectations towards them in the resolution of youth gangs and social housing problems. The administrators and social workers stress the importance and the impact of the image that is produced and perceived by young people who evolve in these environments. By offering an alternative development space where young people can carry out media production and other projects, their role becomes that of mediators between this youth culture and the apprehensions of the rest of the population.