By Simon Bonenfant, youth projects officer
Argenteuil Youth-Employment Center
In order to raise awareness and promote the inclusion of students with an average intellectual disability (IMD), Ms. Joséphine Machalani's class, from Lavigne high school, is involved in various entrepreneurial projects. This helps to break down the barriers of difference and bring a better knowledge of the capacities of the pupils within the community. To achieve this, the students collected the leaves from several people living near the school (entrepreneurial service). As part of the school store project, students repackage and sell used school items at a lower cost (entrepreneurial product). Finally, as part of Intellectual Disability Week, the students of the DIM class prepared awareness-raising activities aimed at all the students of the school (entrepreneurial event).
The ultimate goal of this entrepreneurial process is to demonstrate that students with intellectual disabilities have capacities that allow them to be useful to society. Through these projects, the students of the Lavigne high school and members of the public become aware of the capacity of DIM students and this helps promote the much-desired inclusion within the school and the community (ability to offer a service quality, ability to lead a unifying activity and ability to sell and interact appropriately with others).
Last October, the students presented their various entrepreneurial projects to a Belgian delegation and to the leader and founder of IDÉE. Then, last December, the students were invited to present their projects to various community partners (city of Lachute, MRC d'Argenteuil, Chamber of Commerce). The recognition that the students received following these presentations certainly contributed to the increase in their self-esteem.
Last year, Mathieu, one of the students in the class, participated in a choreography dance with students of the regular profile. This project won an Essor award and made it possible to raise awareness of intellectual disability among dignitaries in education.
Finally, as part of the end of year trip to Tadoussac, the world profile classes have accepted that the DIM class join them in order to have a great experience.
This is only the beginning of the various positive effects of including IMG students in the community!