“Hard Workers” Co-op getting better organized to offer odd-job youth services to community

To be officially launched July 20 at 12 noon

matthew arsenault low resCHARLOTTETOWN – July 15, 2015 – Sixteen bilingual teenaged workers from the Charlottetown and Evangeline regions have just established two branches of the new “Les Bons travaillants / The Hard Workers” Youth Services Co-op to offer a wide variety of odd-job services to individuals, businesses and organizations from their respective communities.

For example, the youth are ready to help with babysitting, lawn mowing, gardening, cleaning, doing carpentry work, painting, dog walking, car washing, running errands, doing groceries, picking up garbage, doing office work, organizing sports tournaments, pool cleaning, tutoring, animal grooming, helping on the farm and golf caddying. They are ready to work days, evenings and weekends. The price of the contract is based on the task and on the number of hours and workers required.

“We’re looking to gain some work experience and to earn a bit of pocket money,” says the new co-op’s president Matthew Arsenault. “And mostly, we want to serve our communities.”

“Operating under the guidance of RDÉE Prince Edward Island and the Conseil de développement coopératif de l’Î.-P.-É., the new co-op is much better organized and more professional than were the co-ops of the past few years,” says RDÉE youth development officer Stéphane Blanchard. “We have adopted several elements from the organizational formula used by the Quebec-based La Fabrique entrepreneuriale, which oversees a network of about 150 youth services co-ops.”

Blanchard explains that this year’s youth participated in some intense co-op training. All 16 youth are members of the co-op’s board of directors. They elected an executive, composed of two youth from each branch, to manage their affairs: president Matthew Arsenault, vice-president Céline Arsenault, secretary Nathalie Lane and treasurer Morgan Arsenault. They’ve also formed three committees to take care of marketing, human resources and finances.

The youth themselves are approaching businesses and organizations to offer their services and are taking in the work orders. Coordinators Jean-Phylippe Provencher, Samantha Lawther and Danielle Doucette then help the youth prepare fair estimates for the various contracts and ensure that the workers are doing the work well.

In the past, coordinators did the majority of the administrative work. From now on, the youth themselves will volunteer their time to manage all facets of their business, from promotion to billing. At the end of the year, if there is a profit, they’ll put aside some of it to start next year’s operations and then they’ll share the rest, as rebates, based on the number of hours invested in administration and fieldwork.


morgan arsenault lowresEvangeline and François-Buote schools are important partners in the project this year; they’re providing access to their trades workshops and classes so that the co-op will have office and production space.

The marketing committee has started its promotion by setting up a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/coopsmalljobs?fref=ts. It will soon also set up a web site and prepare a promotional poster. It is organizing an official launching ceremony Monday, July 20, at 12 noon, behind Evangeline School in Abram-Village and next to the Carrefour daycare center in Charlottetown. A car washing service will help raise funds at both locations. Hotdogs will also be sold at the Charlottetown ceremony. Parents and the public are cordially invited.

Those wishing to learn more about the co-op and its services or wanting to offer a work contract to the youth are asked to contact the co-op, from Monday to Friday, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. For the Charlottetown/Rustico area, call 902-566-1715, Ext. 211, or send an e-mail to csjE@rdeeipe.org; for the Evangeline region, the number is 902-854-2491, Ext. 39, and the e-mail csjO@rdeeipe.org.

Last April, the Co-op received a $1,778.12 donation from The Co-operators, the insurance and financial services company, to get on its feet. This amount will serve as an operating budget for the next few years.

The Co-op also benefitted from a financial contribution from the Quebec-PEI Co-operation and Exchange Program to pay from a visit from a representative of La Fabrique entrepreneuriale in June. In addition, the salaries of the three summer coordinators (which are shared with the Young Millionaires Program) are paid through Canada Summer Jobs.



CUTLINE: Morgan Arsenault from the Evangeline region, treasurer of the new “The Hard Workers” Youth Services Co-op, waters plants for a client, while president Matthew Arsenault from the Charlottetown region checks the air in the tires of another client.

For more information:
Stéphane Blanchard
Youth Development Officer
RDÉE Prince Edward Island
(902) 370-7333, Ext. 402