FCAWI SENIORS - In Retrospect

                   (Transcript from Video April 19, 2011)                         


Hello!   Welcome to the 3rd Anniversary of the FCAWI Seniors!  As we begin the celebration, I would like to share with you a bird’s eye view of  the birth and early growth of this group called the FCAWI Seniors Wisdom 50 Plus.

The Filipino-Canadian Association of West Island, FCAWI in short, was born out of the need to socialize from among several Filipino families that took residence in the West Island over three decades ago.  The adults then are now “Seniors.” They, together with other Filipino Seniors residing at present from Ville St. Laurent all the way to the border of Quebec & Ontario, constitutes what we call the FCAWI Seniors Wisdom 50 Plus.

Mandated by the Constitution & By-Laws of the Association, three years ago, under the administration of  the  current president, Peter Sanchez, the need to have an organized FCAWI Seniors became a reality. Headed by Ramon Vicente,  the ex-officio to the current President, its humble beginnings consisted of  activities such as Sugaring at a farm in St. Eustache and a trip to Ottawa to attend the Canada Day celebration. A brief low tide of inactivity came about for the group resulting in a dearth of  organized activities.

In 2010, the government of Quebec had been donating aid  to help Seniors in the province improve their quality of life physically, mentally and socially.  In March of the same year, through the joint initiative of our beloved Hon. Pierre Marsan, Liberal MNA for the riding of Robert Baldwin and currently Chair of the Commission on Culture and Education, and our FCAWI President, the ball started rolling to revitalize the FCAWI Seniors.  With this purpose in mind, these two leaders  met formally with members of the FCAWI Board  and a group of senior citizens at the Java U in the Fairview Shopping Mall in Pte. Claire, to formally endorse the revival of the FCAWI Seniors under the leadership of Angelo Santos.  Highlight of the meeting was also a formal invitation from Hon. Marsan to the FCAWI Seniors to visit him in the National Assembly in Quebec City and donated, in the name of the government of Quebec a thousand dollars to jumpstart the FCAWI Seniors bid to re-organize.

Gladly received and delightfully appreciative of the invitation, the freshly re-organized FCAWI Seniors, queued up on a bus for their first field trip to the Quebec Parliament. Enjoying a sumptuous lunch at the Parliament and attendance to a regular session of the National Assembly was a special treat and a memorable one.

Bolstered by the support and attention the FCAWI Seniors were getting at this point, their immediate need was a place where they could have their regular meetings, some physical activities and even just to socialize.  To this effect, President Sanchez put on a formal request to the City of Dollard Des Ormeaux through Mr. Jim Beis, Division Head, Sports & Recreation for the use of one of the City chalets specifically for the use of the FCAWI Seniors. Thanks to the generosity of the City, the Spring Garden Chalet  was offered to them for their use every Friday afternoon.  To date, their lineup of activities include some line dancing, physical exercise, movies, ping-pong,  bingo, scrabbles, and for some that needs a listening ear, socializing with their friends seem to fulfill their immediate need.

Reaching a milestone in one’s life is one of the most significant events the FCAWI Seniors would like to celebrate.  Hence, beginning in May 2010, they kind of made it a tradition to get together and celebrate members’ birthdays every month.  They either prepared a potluck dinner collectively at the Chalet or like in July and September, they chose to  celebrate at the Aeroport Holiday Inn for a change.  They also attached a theme on their celebrations like for example in July, they had a Hawaiian Night; in September, cowboys & cowgirls jampacked the hall for a Country-Western theme, and in January of this year, a Philippine theme “Bahay Kubo” was celebrated at the Olympia Hall in DDO.

In November of last year,  after all the great effort and wonderful job of coordinating  the FCAWI Seniors Wisdom 50 Plus activities, Angelo Santos stepped down due to health reasons. Cora Santos, the Co-coordinator took over the reigns with the help of the existing Committee members.

Christmas is probably the most celebrated family gathering event among Filipinos.  Not to be remissed of this very significant and important holy day, the FCAWI Seniors gathered around as a family for Christmas merriment at the Spring Garden Chalet.

Giving back to the Community, a very important human value instilled with  these Seniors as they were growing up, the FCAWI Seniors joined in the celebration of International Day and 50th Anniversary of the City of Dollard Des Ormeaux last August. They participated in the Parade of Nations proudly garbed in their Philippine costumes. They also helped serve some Philippine  food to taste for the several hundred spectators. Other projects are being explored where the FCAWI Seniors could extend their hospitality to the Community.

The future looks bright with the FCAWI Seniors.  Getting together socially with their peers, continuing all the various activities they have started at the Spring Garden Chalet and venturing into new ones in  the near future would certainly promote their well being physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.  Thanks to the benevolent support of  their benefactors - the  FCAWI Board, the Federal & Provincial government officials, family and friends in the Community and beyond.

We appreciate your presence tonight and thank you for coming to join us celebrate our 3rd Anniversary and a FIRST for our revitalized FCAWI Seniors.  For your enjoyment, we now leave you with  the video of the dances performed by its members during their birthday celebrations.  GOOD NIGHT! 





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