On March 12, 2019 the Regroupement des organismes humanitaires et communautaires pour les mesures d’urgence à Montréal (ROHCMUM) held its annual seminar during which they awarded the Claude-Beaulieu Prize Ann St Arnaud from Sun Youth. The Claude-Beaulieu Award is presented by the ROHCMUM to an individual who works in the field of civil security in order to highlight their commitment to helping those affected.
Ann St Arnaud has been involved with Sun Youth since 1995. The following year she would join in the organization’s efforts to assist flood victims in Saguenay, where she gained an interest for civil protection. She further developed this interest in January 1998 when the infamous Ice Storm hit the province. During that time she worked tirelessly, sometimes double shifts, to assist hundreds of Montrealers with food, clothing, medication and transport.
In 2000 a major housing crisis affected Montreal with many Montreal families finding themselves on the streets by July 1st. For five summers in a row Ann St Arnaud worked at the temporary shelters for homeless families by day and at the coordination center by night. Based on her recommendation the city would eventually create a year-round service for homeless families called the Service de reference pour les ménages sans logis.
In 2006, Sun Youth was assisting the hundreds of Canadians evacuated from Lebanon after a war broke out in the Middle East. Ann St Arnaud was at the Dorval airport assisting the evacuees with the first necessities. She also had the initiative of opening a daycare center to have the children looked after while their parents were meeting with the various assistance workers. She was also responsible for managing the $50,000 donated to Sun Youth by the Montreal Lebanese community to help the evacuated families get settled in.
In January 2010, Ann St Arnaud was again at the heart of Sun Youth’s efforts to assist Canadian nationals, this time those affected by the catastrophic and massive earthquake that hit Haiti. She was again found at the Montreal-Trudeau Airport welcoming back hundreds of Canadians fleeing the ravaged country, flown in day and night. For logistical reasons (most evacuees still wearing summer clothes), Ann arranged for the assistance with the first necessities (such as clothing and food) to be provided directly at the airport.
Between 1998 and 2015, Ann St Arnaud was also a volunteer first responder for fire calls at Sun Youth and was mobilized hundreds of times at all hours of the day and night. She clothed, fed, transported and comforted thousands of Montrealers during those years. In 2007, she was at the heart of a new agreement signed between the Quebec division of the Canadian Red Cross and Sun Youth to assist fire victims across the Montreal Island. This service works in collaboration with the Montreal Fire Department (SIM) and the Office municipal d’habitation de Montréal and offers first-hand assistance of the scene of a fire, material assistance, guidance and support so that the affected families may return to a normal life as soon as possible.
Ann St Arnaud is a founding member of the ROHCMUM and was always a leader as a member of its Board of Directors. She has held the roles of President, Vice- President and Treasurer. She was always a strong believer in the importance of the Regroupement and campaigned in various organizations to explain its vital services. First and foremost Ann St Arnaud is a person who truly cares about the well-being of others. Her contributions to Sun Youth, the city of Montreal and civil security in Quebec are invaluable. Known for the quality of her interventions, her passion is contagious and over the course of her career she has mobilized dozens of friends and family members to get involved in the cause. Sun Youth is very proud of seeing her receiving this award.
Feature image: Ann St Arnaud was presented with the Claude-Beaulieu Award by the ROHCMUM on March 12, 2019. Photo: Joseph Munro