We are thrilled to announce the first annual Erminie Cohen Compassion Award Recipient: MONICA CHAPERLIN

In the words of her nominator, Cathy Wright

Monica Chaperlin is best described as a relentless and long-time champion for children and their families. In advocating for children to succeed in school, particularly vulnerable children, she strongly believes that education is essential for children to have a decent quality of life and in particular a life without poverty.

Monica’s leadership and commitment epitomize the purpose of the Erminie Cohen Compassion Award. Her passion is devoted to communities understanding and working together to ensure vulnerable children and their families have the resources to be successful – to break the cycle of poverty. Monica has been instrumental in working with partners to develop an understanding of, and a will to foster the policy and program changes needed to end generational poverty. It is not a job for Monica but a lifetime commitment. (…)

Monica supported the YMCA in establishing Saint John’s first early learning centre (2010) and the Family Resource Centre in working with young families so that children could be better prepared to start school, particularly emotionally and intellectually. She was a strong advocate in bringing the model of First Steps Housing (Est. in 2003) to Saint John, offering at-risk parents an opportunity to safely learn to be parents and for many to receive their high school education within the facility. She was also a key leader in the development of the Teen Resource Centre, involving the Horizon Health Network and the business community to bring the concept to a reality in 2007.

Monica is the lynchpin for the Business Community Anti-Poverty Initiative (BCAPI) to focus their efforts on breaking the cycle of generational poverty. In this role, she helped support local research in partnership with the Anglophone School District-South (ASDS) that focussed on schools in neighbourhoods where children are struggling.

Monica was instrumental in Anglophone School District-South (ASDS) receiving extra teaching resources to demonstrate that schools with low-income children (particularly in grade two) need additional resources for success. This partnership involves the School District, money raised by the BCAPI partners, and a Social Innovation Fund managed by Living SJ, a local poverty reduction strategy of which Monica is a vital leader. The purpose is to provide evidence to the Department of Education to bring about needed policy changes.

As in raising a child, Monica has invested the commitment, passion, patience, and tenacity essential to change the environment for children most at a disadvantage in our communities.

The Foundation held a Virtual Tea Party on March 21, 2021 to honour Erminie, recognize Monica, and raise awareness of the needs of children in care for loving, safe and permanent families.