February 2018

Help Our Students Program

President’s Report - February 2018

I am very excited to report on our activities so far this year.

To date, 114 students from 56 Ottawa high schools are receiving financial support to help them graduate high school. The students were selected by the high school staff, following our criteria: hard-working and living in difficult financial circumstances. Each recipient receives $100 per month from September through June.

In return for this support, the recipients will submit a letter in April describing the impact of the award, how the award has helped them this year. In addition, they will complete a short online survey in May.

I will share excerpts from their April letters in my July report. However, I want to share several thank-you emails that I recently received from some of the recipients.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you so much for selecting me for this award. It means more to me than you’ll ever know. 

I am writing this letter to thank you for supporting me through the host program. I was able to achieve doing groceries and taking a step further out of debt with the help of your funds given and being said has also helped me focus on school work and getting a job while still having money to support any daily needs. Thanks again for supporting me through the darker times.

And I'd like to say thank you for a unique opportunity that you've given me. You have no idea how much this means to me; to be honest, words can neither qualify nor quantify how important this is to me. It encourages me, motivates me and just shows me the bright side for whenever I get weakened up, I can get up and work two times harder to achieve my goals. Financially, I am pretty relieved because of you guys now, I only work two days a week, thus, I have more time to focus on my school work. I really appreciate and value this gift of yours.

Thank you! This will help my family a lot.


For four years, the Ottawa Citizen, through its Upbeat section, published an article in December about the Help Our Students Program.  The article generated many new donors and new donations. Unfortunately, the Upbeat section was cancelled in December 2016; we missed out by one week!  As a result, we noticed a significant drop in new donors as well as a drop in new donations.  While most of our current donors renew their donation each year, we cannot continue to support the students in need without attracting new donors.  For example, 100 donors, renewing at 80% each year, will become 51 donors in only three years.

The Board of Directors agreed that we should pay the Citizen to publish an article this past December.  Since we do not use donations to pay for administrative and marketing expenses, the Directors contributed their own funds to pay for publishing the article. To date, we have attracted 37 new donors.

The Board of Directors meets in May to decide on the number of students that we will support the following year. Based on the current financial projections, we will be hard-pressed to continue to support one boy and one girl in every Ottawa high school. Much will depend on the level of financial support we receive over the next few months.

I encourage you to renew your donation if you haven’t already and I invite you to find at least one new donor to help support these students.  Remember that 100% of your donation goes directly to help these hard-working students graduate high school.


The biggest challenge of any charitable organization, especially a modest one like ours, is awareness.  I know that people support our mission and our no-administration policy.  However, it is very difficult to be widely known unless we hire fundraisers and spend thousands of dollars on an awareness campaign.  This is not an option for us.  Nevertheless, there may be other avenues to explore but our Board, despite having remarkable backgrounds, has very limited knowledge and experience in these matters.

We are looking for someone to provide advice and guidance on how we can effectively reach out to a wider community.  If you or someone you know has the knowledge and experience to help us, please contact me by email.  The Board does most of its work by email; we generally only meet twice per year.


As usual, a current financial statement is available; to view it, please click here.

Best regards,


Richard Lussier



(613) 830-3633



info@helpourstudentsprogram.com     © RICHARD LUSSIER 2016