The 2023 Annual Fishing Derby

How fishing brings the community of Kahnawake together

Alongside the marina of Kahnawake, community members are setting up for the annual ice fishing derby. Walking out on the ice, one can hear the sounds of chatter and whirling, drilling down as fishers try to get the best spots. On the marina, you could see six pop-up tents and two huts spaced out on the frozen river. 

For the organizer Kirby Joe Diabo, the ice fishing derby is much more than a competition. Diabo also owns the REEL UM’ IN bait shop that overlooks the marina, where the event takes place.

“This event is all about getting people out there to enjoy the outdoors. Family gatherings and the added element of competition is always fun,” Diabo said.  

Fishing has always been an integral part of the Kahnawake community. It’s not only a way to feed families, but it’s also a way to promote healthy family connections and activities. 

“Ice fishing is a lost part of our culture,” said David Fazio, a longtime fishing veteran, and friend of Diabo. “With [Diabo], we are trying to get the people back into it. We used to live off of this. But when the white man came through the seaway, it killed off our natural resources.”

Diabo grew up fishing with his father in the winter and summer. “When I was younger there were a lot of tournaments outside of Kahnawake that we went to,” Diabo said.

But as Diabo got older, he realized the tournaments had stopped due to a decline in interest in the event. As he got more involved in the community, Diabo was motivated to bring them back to Kahnawake.

“When we first started the ice fishing tournaments here, we had a turnout of around 150 people on the ice. Nowadays, it has kind of slowed down and we get a turnout of around 30 people, which is still a lot for a fishing tournament,” Diabo said.

Although this year’s tournament happened, the mild weather created some challenges for the organizers. According to Outdoor Canada, the ice needs to be at least 12 inches thick, or thick enough to support a medium-sized pickup truck for the ice fishing tournament to take place. 

Diabo also couldn’t move his ice huts on the ice in time. Instead, pop-up tents that have heaters in them were set up so people could be comfortable. All the fishing gear that was needed for the day was found in the tents, including bait, rods, and heaters. 

The pop-up tents and ice fishing huts on the morning of the derby. Photo by Dalia Nardolillo/The Concordian

Despite the challenges the event still happened, with temperatures as low as below 30 for a week or so leading up to it.

The cold weather didn’t stop the community from getting out on the ice on Feb. 25. 

For Landon Goodleaf, the marina’s owner, the ice fishing derby is linked to some of his favorite memories of growing up.

“I remember when I was a little kid… One of the marina members, who was a friend of the family’s, invited us to a fishing derby. I remember it being a blizzard and it was wicked cold,” Goodleaf recalled. 

Goodleaf went on to explain that the day was so cold he couldn’t bear staying out, so he ended up going home. The next day, the gentleman who brought him to the tournament came to his house with a trophy for the largest Pike fish caught. Goodleaf recalls that this made him extremely happy.

For Goodleaf, it’s not about winning; it’s about enjoying the moment with his community.

“No electronics for me, I am old school. I have a boat and I am familiar with the water levels, where the holes are,” Goodleaf explained. “I am not gunning out to win the tournament, I just come out and drill some holes and have fun.”

For others, it’s all about finding the most efficient fishing methods. Experienced fishing veterans like Fazio don’t let silly things like the weather get in the way.

At sunrise on the morning of the derby, Fazio got set up on the ice with a hut that he made himself. He acquired all the modern sonar equipment which was scattered around inside his hut. 

Near where he sits in the hut, he has a screen that emits live video from the underwater camera that he has set up. He also acquired a sonar sensor that emits a sonic signal that will bounce back when it encounters an object. Then, it determines the object’s distance and position based on the reflection time and wave pattern. Fazio’s sonar sensor is extremely useful for ice fishing because, on days when the visibility is poor, it helps him determine the distance of where the fish are.  

Fazio’s underwater camera. Photo by Dalia Nardolillo/THE CONCORDIAN

Fazio prefers his modern equipment in comparison to the traditional tip-ups that other community members like Goodleaf use for ice fishing. “I’m a cheater. I am 58 years old and I have had enough of this crap,” Fazio said jokingly. 

To optimize his chances of a good catch, Fazio also set up three fishing holes inside of his hut and five more outside. The five fishing holes had tip-ups stationed at each hole. Tip-ups are usually placed at the edge of the ice hole and are set at a specific depth without actively needing to be manned by an angler. When a fish comes around to bite, the tip-up flag goes up — that’s when Fazio knows he got a good catch. 

Tip-ups at the ice holes on the lake. Photo by Dalia Nardolillo/THE CONCORDIAN

The day prior to the fishing derby, Fazio had his hut set up in the “weeds” as he calls them because that’s where all the Pike were.

“It’s been pretty cold these past couple of days. I hope someone gets a decent catch. If it’s going to be anyone it’s going to be those guys out in the weeds over there,” Fazio said as he motioned to the window overlooking the other side of the lake.

However, since the fishing derby was offering a bonus prize for the biggest Walleye catch, Fazio moved his hut a little closer to where the marina entrance is located. 

Fazio with his first catch of the day, a Pike. Photo by Dalia Nardolillo/THE CONCORDIAN

“I’ll have a chance to catch Walleye here because they come in from the deep water to feed. The Pike, on the other hand, goes in to feed on the Perch,” Fazio explained. Pike fish have a more spotted look to their bodies and are naturally a little more slender, whereas the Walleyes are a bit longer in size and have a more striped pattern along their bodies. 

At the end of the event, many prizes were given to the community members for the longest Pike fish caught.

Ben Green was awarded first place for his 30 ¼ inch Pike catch, winning $100 and a $600 gift certificate.

Jaydence Beauvais won second and third place for a 29-inch Pike and a 28-inch Pike.

Finally, the Walleye bonus award was given to Dice Phillips for a 17 ½ inch Walleye.


What can we expect from this year’s Tour de France?

Favourites and Canadians to watch at this year’s Tour de France

With the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 2021 World Tour now underway, many are wondering who will have the chance of bringing the famous Tour de France yellow jersey home. Can the Ineos Grenadiers come back from the dead as they try to restore their name and reputation, and will there be any Canadian riders competing?

Race favourites

All eyes are on the single greatest race of the calendar, the Tour de France (TDF). Out of the three grand tours, the TDF is the oldest and most prestigious cycling competition in the world. Last year, the young Slovene Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) surprisingly won the French Grand Tour by beating Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) on the last time trial of the race.

This year, though, competition should shift up a few gears as many racers who were absent last year are expected to make a comeback. Among those competitors are Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation), who won the TDF four times during his days with the former Team Sky, but missed last year’s edition due to a severe injury.

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), who has never competed on the biggest road cycling stage, is expected to make his TDF debut in 2021. Van der Poel is a four-time cyclocross world champion and started 2021 with an impressive first place at Strade Bianche. Time will tell if he will be able to apply the skills he has learned in the mud to road.

Roglič is one of the main candidates battling for the yellow jersey. Last year, he won the Vuelta a España and finished second in the TDF. He is expected to give absolutely everything to win the title, as this will be his fourth time at the event.

Geraint Thomas is expected to lead the Ineos Grenadiers. He already won the Tour in 2018 and finished second in 2019. He will hope to bring his team back on top after a very difficult tour in 2020.

The end of the Ineos Grenadiers’ outrageous domination

Ineos Grenadiers was founded in 2010 by British Cycling, first called Team Sky, then Team Ineos, before finally becoming Ineos Grenadiers. The team was founded to “produc[e] the first British winner of the Tour de France.” It took them only two years to do so, and they repeated the accomplishment seven times in 11 years.

In 2019, the English industrialist and billionaire Jim Ratcliffe bought Team Sky and renamed it after his chemical firm, Ineos. Ratcliffe bought the richest and the most prestigious team on the circuit, which, at the time, was led by Froome. At the time of the transaction, the team had won six of the last seven TDF. Those years were dominated by Froome, who seemed to fly up French mountains. According to The Hustle, Ratcliffe has invested approximately US $47 million every year in his victorious team. When you realize that World Tour teams have an average $20 million yearly budget, you understand why Ineos has dominated Grand Tours for the last few years. Those numbers bring not only huge possibilities but also huge pressure on cyclists and trainers to always win.

At the end of last year’s TDF, when Ineos’ race leader Richard Carapaz finished 13th, the team faced a lot of criticism. This year, there is a huge amount of pressure on the team’s riders to perform at the highest level and put a cross on last year’s failure. As competition from other teams increases, the British formation has to reinvent itself to go back to its glory days.

Canadian cyclists in the competition

Two of Canada’s greatest road cyclists, Hugo Houle (Astana-Premier Tech) and Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation), are expected to be on the starting line on June 26.

Last year, Houle, who was born and raised in a small village just outside Drummondville, Quebec, was the only Canadian on the tour. His team director has not yet confirmed his presence at the competition, but based on his excellent results last year, where he finished 47th, he is very likely to be on the starting line this summer.

Last year, Woods left his old teammates from the newly-named EF Education-Nippo and joined new, promising formation Israel Start-Up Nation. The 2021 TDF will be Woods’ second appearance at the race.


Graphic by Taylor Reddam

Student Life

Beyond the business benefits of JMUCC

Non-business students attending Case Competition walk away inspired

While you need to be a business student to join the John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition (JMUCC), you do not have to be a business student to reap the benefits it has to offer.

Last week, 24 universities from around the world came to the 11th edition of the JMUCC. During the competition, teams of four are presented with a real case from a local business where, in three hours, they must identify a problem and create an action plan how they intend to solve it. Contestants must present their ideas through a PowerPoint presentation to a panel of judges in 20 minutes, after which they will face a 10-minute question period. Teams did this three times from Feb. 25 to 27, and then completed a 24-hour long business case on Saturday. The event is open to the public to watch for free or live online. Students from all business disciplines are allowed to compete—but what about non-business students?

“This whole experience is about not just cracking a case, but it’s also about how you develop that business thinking that’s so crucial and so important to all the programs that people are studying,” said Kawish Lakhani, a tech volunteer for the event.

The John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition (JMUCC) was held at Hotel Bonaventure at 900 Rue de la Gauchetière from Feb. 25 to 27, with the final day on March 2. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

During presentations, guests witness how teams have worked together by putting forward their individual skill sets. Students can learn valuable presentation skills like voice projection, concise phrasing and developing unique presentation styles. Most importantly, students can learn to have fun while developing new skills; a mix many students deem impossible when presenting. Seham Allison, a contestant for Concordia, did just that by laughing with the judges at her tongue-tied moment when she tried to say the word “compensation.”  As an added bonus, with the 10-minute question period, students can see how participants think quickly on their feet—a skill they can use for future job interviews.

Concordia contestant Mathieu Kost brought up a different point of view. He expressed the limitations for non-business students visiting the event, as they do not have access to read the cases beforehand and therefore would not be able to understand and learn fully. However, he did mention that there are benefits for students who own businesses as they could learn “tangible actions that don’t cost too much money […] and then replicate that specific piece of recommendation in their business.”

For those who wish to travel or pursue careers elsewhere, they must know beforehand that every culture thinks differently, especially in a work setting. Students participating in the competition come from Canada, the United States, China, England, Ireland and more. “You can see there’s a cultural difference in how we look at issues, how we solve problems, what we prioritize as a primary issue,” said John Fragos, a member of the Concordia team.

“You can bond with a bunch of JMSB students that you wouldn’t necessarily get to meet if it weren’t for JMUCC, and meet people from all around the world,” said Julia Wheeler, the VP of logistics for the event. Due to the large amount of international students present, an extensive list of companies sponsor the event, such as RBC, CN, Ardene and IBM, to name a few. Students can make connections that can help them in their personal or business-related endeavors.

“It’s inspirational,” said Kevin Phok, a member of the Concordia team. At JMUCC, students from all domains can be inspired and educated. These professional skill sets can be applied to their own lives since, after all, when you’re an entrepreneur, everything is a business opportunity.

Student Life

Four Montreal students take first place at HackHarvard

Four Montreal students take first place at HackHarvard

“HackHarvard was maybe my 10th hackathon,” said Nicolas MacBeth, a first-year software engineering student at Concordia. He and his friend Alex Shevchenko, also a first-year software engineering student, have decided to make a name for themselves and frequent as many hackathon competitions as they can. The pair have already participated in many hackathons over the last year, both together and separately. “I just went to one last weekend [called] BlocHacks, and I was a finalist at that,” said MacBeth.

Most notable of the pair’s achievements, along with their other teammates Jay Abi-Saad and Ajay Patal, two students from McGill, is their team’s first place ranking as ‘overall best’ in the HackHarvard Global 2018 competition on Oct. 19. According to MacBeth, while all hackathons are international competitions, “HackHarvard was probably the one that had the most people from different places than the United States.” The competition is sponsored by some of the largest transnational conglomerates in the tech industry. For example, Alibaba Cloud, a subsidiary of Alibaba Group, a multinational conglomerate specializing in e-commerce, retail, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, as well as Zhejiang Lab, a Zhejiang provincial government sponsored institute whose research focuses on big data and cloud computing.

MacBeth said he and Shevchenko sifted through events on the ‘North American Hackathons’ section of the Major League Hacking (MLH) website, the official student hacking league that supports over 200 competitions around the world, according to their website. “We’ve gone to a couple hackathons, me and Alex together,” said MacBeth. “And we told ourselves ‘Why not? Let’s apply. [HackHarvard] is one of the biggest hackathons.’ […] So we applied for all the ones in the US. We both got into HackHarvard, and so we went.”

Essentially, MacBeth, Shevchenko, Abi-Saad, and Patal spent 36 hours conceptualizing, designing, and coding their program called sober.AI. The web application uses AI in tandem with visual data input to “increase accuracy and accessibility, and to reduce bias and cost of a normal field sobriety test,” according to the program’s description on Devpost. “I read a statistic somewhere that only a certain amount of police officers have been trained to be able to detect people [under the influence],” said MacBeth. “Drunk, they can test because they have [breathalyzers], but high, it’s kind of hard for people to test.”

MacBeth explained that the user-friendly web application could be helpful in a range of situations, from trying to convince an inebriated friend not to drive under the influence, to law enforcement officials conducting roadside testing in a way that reduces bias, to employees, who may have to prove sobriety for work, to do so non-invasively.

Sober.AI estimates the overall percentage of sobriety through a series of tests that are relayed via visual data—either a photo of an individual’s’ face or a video of the individual performing a task—that is inputted into two neural networks designed by the team of students.

“We wanted to recreate a field sobriety test in a way that would be as accurate as how police officers do it,” said MacBeth.

The first stage is an eye exam, where a picture of an individual is fed to the first neural network, which gives an estimation of sobriety based on the droopiness of the eye, any glassy haze, redness, and whether the pupils are dilated. The second stage is a dexterity test where individuals have to touch their finger to their nose, and the third is a balance test where people have to stand on one leg. “At the end, we compile the results and [sober.AI] gives a percentage of how inebriated we think the person is,” said MacBeth.

“Basically, what you want to do with AI is recreate how a human would think,” explained MacBeth. AI programs become increasingly more accurate and efficient as more referential data is inputted into the neural networks. “The hardest part was probably finding data,” explained MacBeth. “Because writing on the internet ‘pictures of people high’ or ‘red eyes’ and stuff like that is kind of a pain.” MacBeth said that he took to his social media pages to crowdsource photos of his friends and acquaintances who were high, which provided some more data. However, MacBeth said his team made a name for themselves at the hackathon when they started going from group to group, asking their competitors to stand on one leg, as if they were sober, then again after spinning around in a circle ten times. “That was how we made our data,” said MacBeth. “It was long and hard.”

Participating in such a prestigious competition and having sober.AI win ‘overall best’ left MacBeth and Shevchenko thirsty for more. “HackHarvard had a lot more weight to it. We were on the international level, and just having the chance of being accepted into HackHarvard within the six or seven hundred students in all of North America that were accepted, I felt like we actually needed to give it our all and try to win—to represent Concordia, to represent Montreal.”

MacBeth and Shevchenko have gone their separate ways in terms of competitions for the time being, however the pair’s collaborations are far from over. Both are planning to compete separately in ConUHacks IV at the end of January 2019, where MacBeth explained that they will team up with other software engineering students who have yet to compete in hackathons. “We’re gonna try to groom other people into becoming very good teammates,” said MacBeth.

The first-year software engineer concluded with some advice for fellow Concordia students. “For those in software engineering and even computer science: just go to hackathons,” advised MacBeth. “Even if you’re skilled, not skilled, want to learn, anything, you’re going to learn in those 24 hours, because you’re either gonna be with someone who knows, or you’re gonna learn on your own. Those are the skills you will use in the real world to bring any project to life.”

Feature photo courtesy of Nicolas Macbeth


Healing athletes one injury at a time

Part-time exercise science teacher John Boulay has worked at events like the Olympics and the Francophone Games

Just a few blocks away from Dawson College is the office of Concordia University part-time faculty professor John Boulay. Upon walking in, you are immediately greeted by a plastic spine in the corner of the room and the helmet of former Montreal Canadiens player Bob Gainey hanging on a coat rack by the door with a laser pointer attached to it.

The combination may be odd but it’s all part of his work. When Boulay isn’t teaching, he works as an osteopath and an athletic therapist at Osteo Med-Sport in Montreal, a clinic that specializes in injury rehabilitation and health maintenance.

Boulay said, while holding his Bob Gainey helmet with pride, that the helmet and the laser pointer are used on patients who are recovering from concussions. Essentially, the patient puts on the helmet and has to keep the laser pointer within a small circle. It’s a test to see if the patient is regaining their balance.

In terms of his teaching career, Boulay said he teaches what he knows. For the last 20 years, he has been a part-time exercise science teacher at Concordia, the same school he got his degree from.

“I was taking my classes at Loyola in the brand new exercise science program,” Boulay said. “Before I got there, the program was called biophysical education.”

Boulay knew he wanted to get into athletic therapy after injuring his knee in high school. He was a football player at the time and the athletic therapist for the team was one of his grade 10 classmates. Boulay said he thought his classmate’s skillset was interesting, and kept the profession in the back of his mind.

“I was thinking of getting into medicine at the time,” Boulay said. “I applied for medicine and didn’t get in so I figured I would do an undergraduate in something that would be fun. So I picked the new exercise science program at Concordia, did it in three years and never went back.”

After graduating from Concordia, Boulay said there were only about two or three athletic therapists in the province at the time. This lack of therapists led Boulay and some friends he graduated with to open up their own clinic near the Olympic Stadium. However, as Boulay described it, politics and paperwork kept the clinic from opening.

Despite not opening the clinic at the stadium, Boulay was able to open one at Concordia, where he spent nearly a decade. The clinic at Concordia was called the Concordia University Sports Medicine Clinic and was open to the entire population of Montreal.

“We were asked to open the clinic but we were also asked to teach some undergraduate courses,” Boulay said. “We were just fresh out of our bachelors with no teaching degree. I was teaching kids the same age as me so I told them, ‘You don’t have to call me Mr. Boulay. You better call me John.’”

When Boulay and his partners opened the clinic, there were six national Olympic teams stationed in Montreal at the time, including the judo team, the wrestling team and the diving team. Since their clinic was the only clinic in Montreal, they became the go-to place for any national team athletes who were injured or needed care.

Of all of the teams, Boulay worked with the judo team the most and ended up working with them full-time for 22 years. During those 22 years, he was the Chair of the Sports Medicine and Science Committee for Judo Canada from 1985 to 2008.

“I went from provincial to national to international tournaments,” Boulay said. “I also went to the Olympics and the Pan Am Games. It was just a case of right place, right time and right opportunity.”

Boulay’s first experience with international competition was at the first-ever Francophone Games in Casablanca, Morocco in 1989. He explained that, at the time, the judo team’s budget was low, which meant he was the last line of defence if an athlete got injured.

“We were in the middle of the desert half the time,” Boulay said. “Honestly, it was quite rural and very backwards.”

After having gone to so many international competitions, Boulay said his favourite was by far the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, Australia. He said he and his colleagues “had a ton of fun” over the 13 days, as they got to experience a new culture and exchange therapy techniques with trainers from other countries.

Boulay said the 2000 Olympics were also different from more recent ones because there wasn’t as much security present.

“It was a very innocent time,” Boulay said. “We’re talking about pre-9/11 so there was less security and everyone wanted to have fun and embrace the world. Everything was really open and friendly and we could visit the other mission houses.”

Aside from working with national teams, Boulay has collaborated with NHL and CFL teams. While he hasn’t treated the athletes directly, he has worked with the therapists who help rehabilitate the athletes.

According to Boulay, the teams don’t want their players to visit private clinics. However, some doctors are always looking for better ways to treat athletes and he has been able to give advice when doctors come knocking on his door.

“Usually, we get called in to consult when something bad happens,” Boulay said. “The first time I was called in to work with the NHL was when Richard Zednik of the Montreal Canadiens suffered a spinal injury. We’ve been helping the Montreal Canadiens’ guys for a few years now.”

Boulay’s career in athletic therapy led him to become the founding president of the Quebec Sports Medicine Council. He said his goal in creating the council was to bring athletic therapists together so that they could work as a team instead of as competition.

The council discusses ways to improve how athletic therapists perform their jobs. One issue they have all come together on is concussions and how to better treat athletes who suffer from them.

“Go back to the 1990s—concussions weren’t on anybody’s radar,” Boulay said. “[Athletic therapists] used to pull athletes out of competitions when they got concussions. The coaches would hate us, and it took three deaths for them to finally start listening to us.”

For the last 14 years, Boulay has been teaching the Advanced Emergency Care in Sport course, which teaches students how to react and take care of athletes who have sustained an injury.

He and one of his colleagues have collaborated on the course, with Boulay taking care of the theory aspect and his partner working on the more practical side of the course.

This year, however, Boulay found out he would not be teaching the course. According to Boulay, the exercise science program decided to take three courses from the curriculum and assign them to a teacher undergoing a limited-term appointment (LTA), which is a term that usually lasts three years.

“They decided to take a recent graduate who just finished their master’s and dumped our three courses on this poor person,” Boulay said. “I wish them well but it took me 13 years to figure out how to teach one course and I’ve been in the business 30 years. It’s a hard assignment.”

Boulay explained that, as a part-time faculty teacher, he realizes there are campus politics, especially when it comes to issues like LTAs. He said it can be frustrating when part-time faculty members have their courses taken away because by the time the replacement’s term has ended, the old teachers are off doing something else.

Despite losing his class this year, Boulay still teaches. However, he has to travel a bit farther as he now works at the Univsersité de Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) and the Université de Sherbrooke. At UQTR, Boulay teaches two courses in their new exercise science program, and at Sherbrooke, he teaches sports care and first response.

Boulay said he’s able to balance his workload between Osteo-Med Sport and teaching because he has a passion for it.

“During the semester, I’ll take two mornings off of my clinic and actually lose money because my practice makes more money than teaching classes,” Boulay said. “But I do it because I love it. It’s not about money, it’s about giving back.”

He also added that what he teaches can help people in life or death situations which, for him, is important.

“Rule number one in my classes is that you’re going to encounter some deaths and my second rule is that you can’t change rule number one,” Boulay said. “Then there’s rule number three, which is that if we do our jobs right, we can lessen the amount of deaths we encounter and that’s really what it’s all about.”

Watch our extended video interview with John Boulay below.

Student Life

Concordia graduates give back with Foundation Amal

Fondation Amal, a non-profit organization founded by Concordia University graduates, is helping the Children’s Wish Foundation’s Quebec West Chapter make the dreams of two kids affected by a life-threatening disease come true. Jade, a 6-year-old battling against a rare cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma, dreams of going to Disneyland and Miguel, 7, is fighting acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and wishes to swim with dolphins. To help make these dreams a reality, Fondation Amal will be hosting an event entitled “Délices au Pays des Merveilles” at New City Gas on Oct. 23, where five Montreal chefs will face off in a cooking competition.

Fondation Amal will be hosting an event entitled “Délices au Pays des Merveilles” at New City Gas Oct. 23.

The chefs will each create their own original dish which will be tasted and compared by guests who will ultimately select a winner. Restaurant owners and chefs Adam Aspelund of Ludger Buvette Gourmand, Fisun Ercan of Restaurant Su, Sergio Mattoscio of Macaroni Bar, Antonio Park of Park Restaurant, and Alexandre Gosselin of Chez Victoire will be the highly-skilled professionals competing at the event. All based in Montreal they are also covering the cost of the ingredients for the event.

The goal for the night is $20,000, or $10,000 for each child’s wish. This is twice the amount of their June 2012 fundraising event, Sorbet et Pétales, which surpassed its $10,000 goal for the Leucan-CSN Summer Camp charity that provides holidays for families of children suffering from cancer.

Fondation Amal has given itself a mandate to raise money each year for a different charity focusing on children with illness or disabilities. The foundation was originally the brain-child of Sherin Al-Safadi, a former MBA student at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business and current PhD candidate in the university’s neuroscience department. After writing up the business plan for the foundation while on a plane to Dubai in early 2012, she pitched the idea to three of her former classmates in the MBA program who became her co-founders.

Most board members and volunteers range in age from 21 to 32 years old, many of whom have studied at the John Molson School of Business, and each bring their own expertise to the foundation. For many on the board, their involvement allows them to put a different, less capitalist spin on their business skills.

“Not-for-profits, charities and very small entrepreneurial startups are not things I see often at work, in which I occupy a spot within the capitalist mechanism,” said treasurer June Svetlovsky, who works as an accountant at KPMG. “I wanted to use my accounting knowledge for a positive reason.”

Tickets for their fundraiser, “Délices au Pays des Merveilles” at New City Gas on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m., can be found online at Tickets cost $90 of which $75 is tax deductible.

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