January 2016

President’s Report (January 2016)

Every person can be kind.  Kindness is the path to happiness.

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks for your generosity in providing this award. I am currently in grade 12 and I am graduating in June next year. As a student whose family has been undergoing financial difficulty, with this program, my family and I have been able to have enough to eat. Of the $100 that I receive from the HOST Program, I have used some of it for food at home which helped me a lot in my academics because I did not have to worry about what my siblings will have to take for lunch at school or eat at home since neither of my parents had jobs. It also helped me to continue saving for my education after I graduate since I did not have to use the little that I get from my recent job to give it to my parents. I was also able to use this money to pay for important field trips at school and for sports tournaments, because I love sports, mostly rugby. This money has not only been a great help to me but also for my parents and many siblings.  Since I started receiving this money I have been able to carry a lunch pack for myself because I know that my young brothers and sisters at least have enough to eat. I remember once I had borrowed $150 from a friend because that day we had nothing to eat.  This might seem too much but for a large family this was only enough for a week. As soon as I had my first deposit from the HOST Program, I used it to pay back the debt because it is not good to stay in debt because it does not allow you to move forward and all the thanks go to HOST Program for this opportunity.

This money offered to many students like me assists us in pursuing our career goals and helps us feel that there are people out there who think and care about us besides our families. This pushes me to study even harder so that I can be able to do the same thing for other students in the future.  I am glad that I was chosen as the lucky student. Thank you for making the HOST Program possible, I will never forget the generosity extended to me!

I cannot be any more eloquent than this student in describing the impact your donations are having on hard-working students in need.

In six short years, the Help Our Students Program has gone from helping three students to thirty-six this year.  We are now supporting students in thirty high schools.  I am very hopeful that we will be able to support at least one student in all fifty Ottawa youth high schools next year.

This phenomenal success is due to the incredible generosity of individuals, businesses and organizations.  Our base of donors has grown and it is so heartening that many donors keep renewing each year. Despite our growth, we still use 100% of your donations to directly support hard-working students living in difficult financial circumstances to help them graduate high school.

We held our Annual General Meeting last October. I am honoured that the following individuals were elected to the Board of Directors: David Hill, Carman Joynt, Dena Splinter and Michael van Aanhout.  They join Suzanne Donnelly, Linda Lussier, Don Stephenson and me.

A number of Constitutional amendments were approved; you can view the revised Constitution and By-Laws on our web site, www.HelpOurStudentsProgram.com.

Our monthly award of $1,000 - $100 for ten months - has not changed since we started in 2010.  Partially in response to the impact of inflation and to recognize how important the Help Our Students Program award is to our students, the Board agreed to give an additional $50 for the month of December this year.  I hope that we will be able to continue to do this in the future.

The Ottawa Citizen has graciously published our Christmas article again this year.  The Citizen is a great supporter of the Help Our Students Program and the publication of the annual article has significantly increased awareness and our donor base. You can read the article by clicking here.

As is our custom, a financial statement is available by clicking here.

I am delighted to provide excerpts from this year’s recipients.  I know that you will find them moving and inspirational.  They clearly demonstrate how your donations are helping them get through high school. You can view the letters in pdf format or on a separate web page.

You may notice that we are using our official name, the Help Our Students Program, more frequently instead of the usual operating name of HOST Program.  This move is intended to differentiate ourselves from other groups and government programs that use the Host Program name.  Our web site has also changed to www.HelpOurStudentsProgram.com; the previous link of www.host-program.org will continue to bring you to our web site.

If we are going to continue to grow and achieve our goal of helping at least one student in every Ottawa high school, we need your continued support.  Visit our web site and make your donation today.  You can donate by cheque or by credit card.  Please consider signing up for a monthly donation.  I also ask you to send this President’s Report to your family, friends and colleagues.

Thank you for your support. I wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year.


Richard Lussier

President, Help Our Students Program

59 Callaway Court

Orleans, ON  K1C 7S4




hostprogram@rogers.com    © RICHARD LUSSIER 2016