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#ValeProud: $200,000 support for Sudbury My Y is Resilient Campaign

October 27, 2021

Kristian Gareau, manager, Reliability for Surface Operations, North Atlantic and vice-chair of the YMCA Board of Directors, represented Vale for the $200,000 donation to the My Y is Resilient Campaign. Kristian is pictured in the 21-year-old gymnasium that will get much-needed upgrades thanks to our company’s gift. Photo: Vale Archive

It’s always a challenge for charities to raise the funds they need to help their communities, but the COVID-19 pandemic hit the YMCA of Northeastern Ontario particularly hard, costing the non-profit about $7 million. To help bridge this gap and help fund its wide range of Sudbury community programs, the organization launched its My Y is Resilient Campaign in September 2020, and our company is gifting $200,000 towards the great cause.

“The willingness of Vale to step forward and support our campaign to the tune of $200,000 has been tremendous,” said Helen Francis, chief executive officer and president of the YMCA of Northeastern Ontario. “Over the years, Vale has shown that it’s not only a stable and important employer in the area, but also gives back to the community.”

There are many ways in which Vale employees have supported (the Y).

This gift keeps on giving

Kristian Gareau, manager, Reliability for Surface Operations, North Atlantic and vice-chair of the YMCA Board of Directors, said: “Vale is proud to support the My Y is Resilient campaign because of the essential community services this campaign has helped the YMCA to provide during the pandemic. The funding will help to provide continued YMCA programs and services for the ongoing health and wellness of our community.”

The health and wellness of employees is a top priority for our company, as is supporting the local communities in which we do business. The generous $200,000 donation was big news in the area, and was covered by CTV News.

“We know that Sudbury needs their YMCA, and the significant support from Vale will help ensure that the YMCA can support local children, youth and families for years to come,” said Helen, who previously worked at Vale for almost 20 years as lead, Base Metals Digital Transformation. “The campaign has raised more than $1.5 million, and will help the YMCA continue to offer programs and services that foster happy, healthy lives.”

Long-standing community support

The $200,000 donation from Vale will stay in Sudbury and will be split between ongoing operating costs and much-needed upgrades to the 21-year-old YMCA Centre for Life building. These upgrades are in progress and include a new wooden gym floor, which will feature a Vale logo in the centre.

“Our goal is to host an appreciation event for Vale employees later this fall,” said Helen. “And then subsequently host a family event for the community.”

Vale has a long history of supporting the YMCA in the area. “Vale was actually a big sponsor when this building was originally built and supported the development of our aquatic centre,” said Helen, who is an ultra trail racer (we covered Helen’s passion for trail running in this story from 2018). 

“It is also quite common for the YMCA to have volunteers from Vale provide their time and commitment in kind, either participating on the board, acting as fitness instructors, or supporting our overnight camp.” 

According to Helen, some of these volunteers include current Vale employees Kris Gareau and Jody Waddell, as well as former employees Heiko Leers and Nancy Carrier-Adams, “just to name a few.”

Helen added: “There are many ways in which Vale employees have supported our association. I knew that having been an employee, but it’s always lovely to see it when you’re on the other side of the coin.”

To learn more about available YMCA programs, or to find out how you can help, click here.

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