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Congress of the International Federation in Cincinnati from 15-18 October 2015

The Congress of the International Federation of the little brothers of the Poor will take place on October 15 to 18 in Cincinnati - USAThis conference is an opportunity for all members of the International Federation to meet, to exchange and share their skills.

During these three days, participants will have the opportunity to hear several speakers on topics such as:
- Prison Aging,
- Art and dementia,
- Homelessness and the elderly,
- Spirituality in the second part of his life.

The International Federation's members share the same mission: to fight against the isolation of the elderly through mobilizing citizens.

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Meeting in Romania with the founding members of the association Niciodata singur – Prietenii Varstnicilor in Romania

The president of the International Federation of the little brothers of the Poor met Saturday, August 29, the founding members of the association Niciodata singur – Prietenii Varstnicilor.

This Romanian association, whose mission is to fight against the isolation of older people, is born of a partnership between the Foundation Princess Margareta and les petits frères des Pauvres France.

Volunteers of the Never Alone program have decided to create an autonomous association after three years of work in different areas:
- The mobilization of volunteers,
- The governance,
- Fundraising,
- The situation of the elderly in Romania.

The president of the International Federation of the little brothers of the Poor took advantage of this meeting to highlight the work done and to explain the conditions for membership of the International Federation.

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The 7 American chapters meet in Oka

 

The representatives of the American chapters have met in Oka, Québec last June from 11 to 14 in order to reinforce the American network.

This week-end was the occasion for the American chapters to redefine their mission, vision, goals and objectives.

It is a big step forward for the American network thanks to the work of the representatives of Boards and Directors of the chapters of Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houghton, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and San Francisco.       

 
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Roses against forgetting, a simple gesture to make happy many elders

For the 17th consecutive year, Amics de la Gent Gran (Catalonia) launches its most important awareness and fundraising campaign of the year: Roses against Forgetting. On the occasion of the traditional holiday in Catalonia known as San Jordi (Saint Georges), 25.000 roses are sold at the price of 4€. These roses are a brooch made also by a nonprofit organization.

Also, on April 23rd, San Jordi’s Day, Amics de la Gent Gran will welcome more than one thousand volunteers that will offer to the elderly that they accompany all year round a natural rose and a book (typical action in this day). It takes place in 11 cities in Catalonia where the foundation leads its action.

In some cases, these volunteers are students or workers from partner companies that will offer roses to the elders living in residential homes.  Also, celebrities from the political, cultural and social scope will join this movement of solidarity with the elderly. In total, it will be more than 2.500 natural roses that will be distributed.

To communicate about this campaign, there is a website:  www.rosescontraloblit.com where everybody can share a photo with the rose and an elderly person. 

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A half-marathon for the Seniors!

"Mali bracia Ubogich" association, together with a pair of friends, Marzena and Leszek, decided to draw attention to one particular problem of Seniors in Poland. Those who can't walk by themselves any more, are often "jailed" in their homes, simply because they can't afford a wheelchair. We can and want to change that!

For that reason, we will attempt to jointly complete a half-marathon in Poznań. Leszek will run 21 kilometers, pushing a wheelchair with Ms Ewa, who is an elderly person and has difficulties with moving. We want to show that everything is possible and that we should pay attention to the problems of our Seniors.
 
Apart from awareness raising, we also aim to collect money to fund two wheelchairs that will be jointly used by Seniors who "mali bracia Ubogich" Association is taking care of. The amount needed is 3.000 PLN (around 750 EUR).
 
This half-marathon will likely be the hardest thing ever done for Leszek. But the smile of Seniors and all good things happening around it, are definitively worth it. A huge emotional support will make it possible. We believe that it's not possible to change the World at once, but it is possible to change life of individual people. This is what we were focusing on during our previous "Kilimanjaro" action and this is that we are focusing now and in the future.
 
Please, join us and support!
 
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Newsletter of the General Assembly of March 20 and 21, 2015 held in Barcelona

The international Federation of the little brothers of the Poor brings its decision-making bodies twice a year, spring and fall. With the president, the delegates from the eight member countries form the Board and the General Assembly and ensure decision-making on a set of issues of mutual interest to the mission of the little brothers. They plan all the actions found to be relevant and useful to all.

 
Amics de la Gent Gran warmly welcomed the General Assembly in Barcelona on March 20 and 21. Here are a few main lines, emerging from these meetings.
 
First of all, emerges a general observation that the International Federation is consolidating, structures itself now with more methodology, thanks to noticeable engagements of the president, Pierre Asselin, the Treasurer, Francesc Patricio and to the involvement of France. It is getting organized to achieve greater autonomy and ability to better serve its members.
 
To be noted in particular:
 
• That the members of the Board/Assembly were pleased to welcome several new delegates representing their countries, including Wolf Hinsching (Germany). Caroline Sauriol (Canada), Hervé Goarant (Switzerland), and Simone Mitchell - Peterson (USA).
 
• The Congress, which will be held in Cincinnati, USA, (October 15-18, 2015) is progressing well. The organizing team promises you current and interesting subjects. Budgets are defined and delegations are getting organized.
 
• The commission on the future and the governance of the Federation already met a few times. Its work is progressing well on substantial items such as the International Charter that must promote common values, the statutes and bylaws of the federation and with a look at budgets. The commission will continue its work during the year and will report.
 
• A workshop allowed delegates forming the Board to review its role, both to reflect the needs of the countries towards the Board as to return to them in order to circulate the decisions and information.
 
• The various elements of the strategic plan of the Federation are progressing well. Some files have already been delivered, others are on the way to completion and adjustments to the plan have been made to update it and reflect needs, including communication ones.
 
• France is actively monitoring a partnership, which should enable the Federation to soon welcome a new member, Romania. Their representatives will be among us in Cincinnati.
 
• Finally, a Committee is currently working on the development of a crisis management policy for emergency assistance needs that could be expressed by members to the Federation. This issue is progressing and the federation will soon be able to count on a well defined framework for action to handle these situations.
 
Pierre Asselin
President
 
The International Federation of the little brothers of the Poor is a non profit international organization established in eight countries, with thousands of volunteers throughout the world.
 
It was established in 1979, so as to promote the action of the little brothers of the Poor globally by helping member organizations to develop their action, by encouraging and allowing communications between member countries and by helping in the development of establishments in other countries of the world.
 
Countries
 
President : Pierre Asselin
 
Allemagne
Delegate : Wolf Hinsching
www.freunde-alter-menschen.de
 
Canada
Delegate : Caroline Sauriol
www.petitsfreres.ca
 
Espagne
Delegate: Francesc Patricio
www.federacionamigosdelosmayores.org
 
France
Delegate : Alain Villez
www.petitsfreres.asso.fr
 
Irlande
Delegate: James O’Brien
www.friendsoftheelderly.ie
 
Pologne
Delegate: Barbara Boryczka
www.malibracia.org.pl
 
Suisse :
Delegate : Hervé Goarant
www.petitsfreres.ch
 
USA :
Delegate: Simone Mitchell-Peterson
www.littlebrothers.org
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Knitting for and with Elders

Pauline Mercier, volunteer and Madame Beauchemin, old friend from Canada

During the last years, various associations of Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly has developed different activities related to knitting. Whether if it is to make some fundraising, solidarity or to share one afternoon between volunteers and elders, the action of knitting is growing and here are some examples …

 

Les petits frères. Canada

A group of old friends from Sherbrooke and Montreal feel useful and break their isolation by knitting for the community. Their soft and warm gesture helps the new immigrants of the region of Sherbrooke with mitts, scarfs and woollen caps, but also in Montreal, where they adorn the view of the passers-by with the creation of a collective work which dresses in a "graffiti-knitting", a tree in front of the house of the “les petits frères” headquarters, at Garnier street.


These projects were introduced by two volunteers who largely contributed to their implementation and who participated, by their leadership, to improve the well-being of the old friends.

Amics de la Gent Gran. Barcelone

 

"La bufanda de la iaia " is a project launched by Amics de la Gent Gran and “El mundo al revés” communication agency. Was set up for the first time in September, 2012. 


The objectives at the origin of this project were: promoting social action and raising awareness by the development of knitting meetings where volunteers of all ages, promote intergenerational relationships and active ageing.

 

Les petits frères des Pauvres. France

 

This action, called “Mets ton bonnet”, was born in 2005. Innocent, a company that makes fresh fruit juice, launched an operation to support les petits frères des Pauvres. The objective was to help the association, but also to create a network of support.

The company suggested the creation of knitting mini-caps to be put on the bottles of smoothie and, for every sold bottle, Innocent will put back 20 centimes to the association. A 62 925,40 euro check marked the end of the operation "Mets ton bonnet" 2014.

 
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"Time has another importance for her"

International exchange is important within our organization. Every two or three years our European volunteers have this possibility to meet each other: 2009 in Barcelona and 2012 in Paris. In 2014 it was up to Germany to be the host.

International exchange is important within our organization. Every two or three years our European volunteers have this possibility to meet each other: 2009 in Barcelona and 2012 in Paris. In 2014 it was up to Germany to be the host.

Volunteers and employees planed and organized hand in hand the meeting. “It was important for us that volunteers contribute to the program. Because they are the main actors and they know best which issues matter.”, says Klaus-W. Pawletko. Very briefly it became evident that the volunteers meeting should provide possibilities to exchange experience in volunteers work. The two days program was correspondingly organized. On Friday Barbara Weigl – member of a parliamentary party and Gertraud Hardtmann – a 82 years old psychoanalyst started with two speeches. Then the around 50 volunteers had the first chance in one-to-one-interviews to get to know each other better.

In the afternoon the volunteers discussed in workshops the issue what is special about the volunteer work within our organization. The answers were quite different. For Brigitte from France was it importance to share her time with an elderly. Because of her visits of an old lady she realized: Time has another importance for her. Attracta from Ireland learned through her volunteer work to listen to old people. “In Ireland there is this phrase: The human as one mouth and two ears. I always have to think about that when I am talking to elderly.”, is she telling other volunteers. Nuria from Barcelona is visiting an old lady and she likes best that her elderly appreciates so much the visits. “I am working during the week. We meet every Saturday. She is visiting a hairdresser before. Just for me. That´s very touching. The meetings with her are a real pleasure for me.”

On the second day the volunteers discussed the challenges in their contact with elderly and how can the organization support them. One big challenge came up very briefly: the appropriate dimension between closeness and distance.

After the two days all participants were satisfied with the exchanges and new findings they can take back home.

 

Ann Bieberstain, staff at Freunde alter Menschen

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Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly celebrates around the world the International Day of Older Persons

The 1st October is the International Day of Older Persons and for this reason, the different organizations members of the International Federation les petits frères des Pauvres, are organizing different events to commemorate it.

In North America, the organization in Canada will have a dinner Garnier Street in the Montréal Chapter to celebrate the event with their old friends and the ones who no longer go out will receive a white rose during the first two weeks of October. Flowers will be distributed also in Quebec City and different events will take place in Sherbrook and Point Island.

The Boston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Upper Michigan Chapters of Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly will be giving flowers to the elderly friends but also in public spaces to raise awareness for the cause. San Francisco Chapter will profit this day to host an open house.

In Europe, different activities are taking place. In Poland, a big event for seniors will be organized as well as a communication campaign on Internet and social networks. Also Spain will organize an important communication campaign #NoEstaisSolos, with the launching of a short film and a scientific seminar where different good practices of fighting against elderly isolation will be discussed by experts.

Ireland will be handing out red carnations in the front of the General Post Office to older people and a ‘Spontaneous Flash Mob Line Dancing event’ which we will film for You Tube. On the Wednesday Club will be around the ‘UN Older Person Day’ themed and they will be announcing the winner of the 2014 Postman of the Year Award.

For the 6th year, XX roses will be distributed in France under the motto “Fleurs de la fraternité” and a communication campaign, including the distribution of a spot on TV and social network is organized for the same day and the weeks before.

In Germany an intergenerational meeting will take place in a school, where kids will ask questions to the elders and also they will prepare a presentation about how they imagine themselves when they will be 80 years old. Elders and volunteers will meet for a coffee afternoon.

The two country partners of the International Federation will join also the international movement. In Romania 5.000 flowers and cards will be delivered in public spaces and one major event for elderly friends will take place with the presence of HRH Princess Margareta of Romania. In Mexico, volunteers will give flowers to the people in their neighbourhood.

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An Out-of-the-Ordinary Organization

This summer was a complete surprise for me. I knew I was going to work with a social organization, but I didn’t realize it would surpass my expectations. I knew I was going to visit Senior Citizens, but I didn’t realize they would end up teaching me. I knew I was going to work with a coordinator and colleagues, but I didn’t realize how much fun it would be to work alongside them.

My name is Lucas Jones, I’m 24, I’m from the state of Georgia in the US and I am so happy that I decided to do an internship with Les Petits Frères des Pauvres in Marseille.

I have worked in other organizations, with political parties and NGOs, but none had the heart and the unity that I found in Les Petits Frères. From Eric at the reception desk to Manuel the director, you can expect a warm welcome and a wide smile, and I could honestly say that about everyone in the office.

My responsibilities consisted mainly of managing the logistics of a local team of volunteers. I carried out the internal communication of a specific area in Marseille, managed updates, logistics and whatever else was needed to ensure the smooth functioning of the team’s small working parts. I also compiled and organized information so that all involved could easily access and understand key data.

Along with logistic work, twice a week I visited senior citizens in their homes. I will always remember Madame B’s stories of her ancestors, the wonderful cakes of Madame D’A and all Monsieur C’s funny stories.

I worked alongside an excellent team of volunteers with a coordinator that trusted me, that listened to my needs as well as my ideas. Instead of telling me exactly what to do, I was presented with a problem and given the creative liberty to resolve the issue in the best way I saw fit. True to the mission of Les Petits Frères, I was always treated with respect and fellowship.

What did I find in Les Petits Frères? An organization with people as good as their motto: “Some flowers before the bread.” If an organization can be judged by the quality of its employees, you will not find better. As I now finish my internship with them this summer, I can say without hesitation that this organization is truly as good as it seems.

Les Petits Frères’ mission isn’t just charity work; it is a real need to which they are responding in our society. Both the employees as well as the volunteers believe in the mission and importance of Les Petits Frères des Pauvres. I am so thankful to have been able to improve my work skills while performing a work truly significant.

~Lucas Jones

Volunteer, team Chartreux in Marseille. July 24 2014

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Vacation program : Let's go !

Summer voluntary work

During the last summer, 95 foreign volunteers strengthened the teams of volunteers for the holiday program in France.

As every year, with the arrival of the summer, the movement of volunteers who decide to share their holidays with the elderly began. It is the case of Laura that, on June 27th of this year, left Madrid with a suitcase and a big desire to live a new experience as volunteer with elderly.

It is thanks to the friend of her mother, Rosario, volunteer in Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly in Madrid, that she learnt about the possibility of participating in holidays organized by the association les petits frères des Pauvres in France. Her wishes: practice the language, because she studies French at the official school of languages in Madrid, but also to make activities with isolated people. 

In the program, 12 days in the holiday home called La Prée, and the discovery of the region: the Cathedral of Bourges, the market of Issoudun and his museum of contemporary art. But also times playful as visit in the farm, the marriage of the daughter of the gardener, the “petanque” matches and music and dance evenings (piano and flute thanks to Pauline and Guy, coordinator of the group).

Finally, days filled with happiness and with unforgettable moments for her and for the elderly who, thanks to her commitment and the one of the other volunteers, were able to take advantage of 12 days outside their routine and their everyday life.

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Marseille and Madrid get together

Le 20.05.2014

« Nous étions neuf en tout, raconte Chantal, dont Michel, le responsable, ainsi que Marcel et Mireille, deux bénévoles. Bien encadrés, choyés et bien logés, nous avons aussi été gâtés à tous les repas (tapas, tortillas, paella, jambon crus, etc.). Nos hôtes, les bénévoles espagnols, se sont relayés à nos côtés durant tout le séjour »

Six people accompanied in the region of Marseille left to meet the Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly in Madrid (Amigos de los Mayores), who welcomed very well the group and played their role of guides through this big city of culture and the party.

Thanks to funds collected during two years, with different fundraising activities, six old friends were able to leave for four days to the discovery of Madrid.

April 9th of this year, plane transporting the group arose on the airport of Madrid, where a minibus waited for them to take them to their hotel, ideally situated in the city center, on Gran Via Street.

The stay started by a walk in the city to locate the historic center, the Royal Palace surrounded with magnificent gardens and the Almudena Cathedral. The next day, the group discovered the city under another angle, comfortably installed in a tourist bus, with the explanations of the main districts and monuments.

Friday, the group was welcomed for breakfast at the Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly office. They were able to share a good moment with five invited elderly, as well as a team of employees and volunteers. This brotherly time allowed the meeting, as well as exchanges of small presents.

The last day, a relaxing walk in the big Retiro Park and its Crystal palace, the lake with its boats and its monuments, in a Spanish-style atmosphere and a good "siesta" on the lawn. On returning to Marseille, the group, tired but happy, knows that they will share the good memories of this journey during a long time.

The group was anxious to add this: "THANK YOU, thanks to our new Spanish friends and thank you again to Danièle A. Michel R. and Louis who were not able to come, but who were involved in making this unforgettable journey come true. You are our family ". 

According to Michel Florian, volunteer in Marseille

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The European Group welcomed in Toulouse

Le 31.03.2014

During two days, members of the European Group of Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly, worked in Toulouse with various actors of the region Midi-Pyrénées - Roussillon on the models of development.

Twice a year, the European Group, which is formed by representatives of Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly in Europe, meets to work together on various themes. Normally the handled themes are related to communication, common projects or best practices in giving support to isolated elderly. 

Between the new challenges which emerged by the growth of some of the European organizations, in the last European group that took place in Berlin in September, 2013, a shared feeling emerged on the need to know first-hand the process of development of the associative project in France. 
So one day of this meeting was concentrated to know the process experimented in Toulouse. Yann, the director of the Region, Laurette, the president, and Nicolas, who is in charge of the development, presented us the history of the region and the various models of development of autonomous teams.

Christine, Marie Christine and Isabelle, from Perpignan, Rodez and Toulouse respectively, with their testimony showed us how the volunteers live their autonomy in the region. The creation of every team, the organization with committees or how the team feels stakeholder of the region, are some of the subjects approached on its interventions. 

And finally, but is not less important, we had Marie Pierre's intervention, employee for approximately ten years. She explained us how her work had to be adapted with the implementation of the associative project; the difficulties met and learnt lessons.

The last day we exchanged on other themes as the evaluation of the accompanied elderly, the European strategy, the volunteers meeting that will take place in Berlin in September and the European Voluntary Service (SVE). 

Two very fruit-bearing and interesting workdays. Thanks for the good welcome to the team of Toulouse!

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The British Embassy in Paris supports les petits frères des Pauvres

The charity committee of the British Embassy has decided to support Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly in the context of its fundraising activities for 2014.

The charity committee invites each year the employees of the British Embassy in Paris to participate in various activities to raise funds for one association. This year, the Little Brothers were honored to be chosen.

In this context, at lunchtime, fifty employees ran into the garden of the Embassy and near Place de la Concorde. Ambassador Peter Ricketts, put on his running shoes as well and took part of the Sport Relief Mile with all the participants. To conclude, the riders met for an appetizer in the gardens of the residence.

Little Brothers would like to thank the employees of the Embassy for their mobilization and especially members of the charity committee. With actions like this one done by the British Embassy staff, Little Brothers can accomplish their mission by supporting a greater number of older people living in multiple precarious situations.

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Evening of French-American Philanthropy

Le 20.12.2013

Barbara Bringuier, International Coordinator for the Little Brothers of the Poor, Ambassador François Delattre, French film actress and director Zabou Breitman

On December 12, François Delattre, Ambassador of France to the United States, welcomed a French charity to the French Embassy’s premises for an evening of fundraising and solidarity with the cause of needy elderly around the world.

The American Fund of the Little Brothers of the Poor, which provides social assistance to seniors, brought together supporters of the group’s work. The evening featured speeches, a silent auction, and a dégustation of French cuisine prepared by top chefs.
François Delattre, Ambassador of France to the United States, provided remarks during the dinner. "In today’s testing times, the values of respect, fraternity, and helping those in need are more critical than ever," he said. "These values are at the core of the relationship" between France and the United States.
The idea of conducting the event at the Embassy in Washington hems to the Fund’s desire to launch operations in the nation’s capital. "We are already active in seven U.S. cities," explained Barbara Bringuier, the group’s International Coordinator, who works at the headquarters in Paris. "We’re hoping to expand, and maybe open new chapters in New York" as well.
Called the Association Les Petits Frères des Pauvres in French, the organization has offered social support to aging persons since its founding in 1946. Its services range from financial assistance and accompanied outings to holiday events, each of which seek to address the isolation that some experience in the latter years of their lives.

On hand to help raise awareness of the group’s American activities was Zabou Breitman, a prominent French film actress and director. She described the Association as "very special, and very necessary," adding that their charitable work "helps us remember who we are."
 From : http://ambafrance-us.org/spip.php?article5157


More information : www.petits-freres.org/fr/actualites/premier-gala-caritatif-a-washington-dc.html and www.littlebrothersofthepoor.org

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