Message from the Chairman of the Board and the Executive Director
The past year was an emotional one for us at Dans la rue. It began with grief at the passing of our founder, Father Emmett Johns (“Pops”), but ended with joy, as we celebrated our 30th anniversary.
We lost a great man in 2018. Pops founded Dans la rue with a heart full of love and hope for our youth. He never judged them and treated every single individual with respect and dignity. He had a gift for standing up for their rights and making their voices heard. Armed with vision and determination, he built a strong organization that, in the past 30 years, has helped tens of thousands of youth lead more autonomous and rewarding lives, showing them consideration, empathy and dedication.
We are particularly proud in 2018 to highlight the success of three programs that were close to Pops’ heart.
The Emmett Johns School, which opened with the Day Centre in 1997, was particularly successful in getting students to stay in school this past year.
The psychotherapeutic support program, also launched in 1997, now plays a pivotal role in the ACCESS Open Minds project. It has let us more effectively address mental health challenges in our youth counselling outreach.
Pops had a dream to provide housing for homeless youth, which came true at the end of 2014. The impact of these apartments is a testament to how foundational housing stability is to achieving goals for the future, such as finding a job or finishing school.
The entire Dans la rue team continues to tirelessly pursue Pops’ work, and we are honoured and determined to uphold his values. Pops would be proud to know that today, in conjunction with our partners, we are putting increased emphasis on stopping youth homelessness before it starts.
We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to donors, volunteers, employees, partners and community members for their outpouring of sympathy at Pops’ passing. We were deeply touched by your concern for the well-being of our youth.
Pops wouldn’t have wanted us to grieve for long. His life was shaped by his unflagging hope for these young people. We chose themes for our 30th anniversary to honour his legacy: hope, dreams and a community that offers youth a better future.
It is with the support of all of you, our community, that we have taken up the torch and are making sure Pops’ indomitable spirit lives on.
PAUL J. SETLAKWE