Message from the President – November 2018
I would like to take advantage of the first HCGM Activity Report publication to bring to your attention the critical importance and incredible contribution of this organization to the 67,000 Hellenes in Greater Montreal. We have 23,000 members, spread over a huge region with a population of 4.2 million people, covering 4,250 square kilometres, an area and a Greek population not that different from Laconia, Greece.
As you may have heard me say, this is the most organized and member-focused community among the Greek Diaspora in the world, providing the widest range of services to members and non-members everywhere.
École Socrates-Démosthène encompasses six trilingual day schools serving 1,300 students from Pre-K to Elementary Schools and a High School, providing what is recognized as excellent education outcomes, with our graduates having the choice of the best schools to attend upon graduation. In addition, our seven Saturday Supplementary Education programs serve 633 students from grade 1 through 12 which are credited by the Quebec Ministry of Education.
Our six beautiful churches satisfy the spiritual needs of tens of thousands of our population and typically perform about 700 major sacraments each year (baptisms, weddings and funerals). This does not include the many memorials, several liturgies and services attended weekly by thousands of parishioners.
Our Social Services with four offices provide services to thousands who need it the most and which is a growing segment of our population. I am talking about the elderly, those who cannot take care of themselves or those who take care of others, plus recent immigrants from Greece, through direct interventions, referrals, weekly food baskets, information sessions and activities.
Our three Sports Centers provide gymnasium facilities for our École Socrates-Démosthène students, plus for about 20 groups per week who pay to use our facilities each year, including summer day camps for 100 children.
We also offer Greek Studies for adults, both Greek and non-Greek, Cultural activities such as dance and theatre, Banquet facilities for National celebrations and other activities, which are also rented out for weddings and events.
We also have a close relationship with six independent Daycares and the Foyer Hellenique pour personnes agees, including sharing space.
I am particularly proud of the major projects we accomplished including the complete rebuilding of Koimoisis Church after the tragic fire, the first phase of restoration of St George Cathedral, and the unveiling of the statue commemorating the Greek Immigrant.
I am extremely proud to state, that as you can see for yourself, we absolutely fulfilled our mission and mandate, and will continue to do so for many years to come.
We do all this with a minimum of financial resources and personnel. Close to 95% of the HCGM’s 309 employees are teachers, priests, church staff, social services employees, all of whom provide front-line service to our community.
All this is only possible due to the dedication, loyalty and hard work of our employees, and the countless volunteers and their incalculable and unpaid contribution. This includes the Board of Directors, the various other boards and committees and individual volunteers serving all the HCGM’s many branches who are too numerous to mention.
I am also deeply appreciative for all our sponsors, financial supporters and to everyone who participates in what is beyond doubt the focal point of Hellenism in Greater Montreal.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all on my behalf and that of the Board of Directors.
Nicholas T. Pagonis