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Algonquin College News

Algonquin College's public relations students launch Hope Heals charity campaign

March 20, 2019
Algonquin College’s public relations students embarked on a new charity campaign Wednesday – Hope Heals – to raise money for the Centre for Treatment of Sexual Abuse and Childhood Trauma.

They want to raise $25,000 over the course of the campaign. To do this they plan to host a series of 11 events. Details on the various events – from a murder mystery dinner and a formal English High Tea to a beer-and-wine tasting and an evening of casino games, cocktails, and live entertainment -- are available here.

The Centre for Treatment of Sexual Abuse and Childhood Trauma, located at 265 Carling Avenue, seeks to help people who have been victims of abuse or trauma through group, couple, and one-on-one therapy. With a weekly intake of between 50 and 70 people, the Centre’s 20 employees, including 12 associate therapists, tailor their services to meet the needs of each person.

The Centre has become “a prime location for trauma and other related care” in Ottawa. Lisa Dionne, the campaign’s Coordinator, told the 80 people who gathered in the ACCE Lobby for the campaign launch. “It is the only place in Ottawa providing affordable health care to anyone in need regardless of their situation.”

President Cheryl Jensen was on hand to lend her support to the students’ efforts, and to honour their dedication. “Your campaign name, Hope Heals, is so fitting,” she said. “I  want to thank all of you so much for your commitment to making the world a more welcoming place and for strengthening our community while you learn.”

College Ward Councillor Rick Chiarelli echoed the sentiment, pointing out that he attended the first Public Relations fundraising campaign as a city councillor in 1988 and has supported it ever since.

“This event was one of the first that helped Algonquin students form a leadership position in the city,” he said, congratulating the current students and faculty for maintaining a successful tradition of community service. “It’s achieved a tremendous amount of city building for Ottawa.”

So it seems. Each year, students in the Public Relations program choose a charity on whose behalf they raise funds. Since 1988, they have raised more than $400,000 for dozens of local charities.

This year’s Hope Heals campaign will undoubtedly benefit from that tradition, according to Public Relations Coordinator Stephen Heckbert. “We’re going to do our best to raise a significant amount of money for a charity that would like our help,” he said. “Never doubt the ability of a small group of passionate and committed individuals to change the world.”

Mandy Paquette, an Associate Therapist at the Centre, expressed her organization’s gratitude for the students’ campaign. “We work really hard to make a change (in people’s lives) … (and) to be working with Algonquin College and with the students and be part of fundraising of this magnitude is huge for the Centre,” she said.

“Hope Heals is really representative of our clients at the Centre,” Paquette said, observing that some of the Centre’s clients have already spoken to her about attending campaign events and otherwise supporting the students.

Paquette’s appreciation arguably reinforces something Cheryl said in her remarks. “The Public Relations program is one of the premier programs at Algonquin College, as has been for a very, very long time,” she said. “It’s well-known across the country, and while I might be a little bit biased, I’ll say it’s the best in the country.”