Our aim is to provide equitable, inclusive and access to high quality education for all students within the greater Montreal area. Make it Matter will fund project-specific initiatives and provide resources to families who have children with special needs and learning disabilities. We hope to support children in meeting their full potential and see them through their years as learners.
Meet the Founders of Make it Matter
Co-founder - Make it Matter
Co-founder & Director - ADE Academy
Born & raised in Montreal and a proud McGill University graduate, Deborah Athanasopoulos spent 5 years teaching and coaching in New York City, in addition to earning her masters degree in Education from NYC’s Relay Graduate School of Education. It is her passion for fundraising and education that lead her to realizing a life-long dream of starting a non-profit organization at the age of 22 years old. In addition to her experience with Make it Matter, Deborah is also co-founder and Director of Elementary Education at ADE Educational Network, a network of tutoring centres, educational consulting & preschools.
Favourite Quote: "Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire"
Co-founder - Make it Matter
Though she is native to Montreal, Olivia Sheehy-Gennarelli considers herself to be a citizen of the world. Having travelled and lived in several countries, Olivia has developed an interest in people, places and things. She has a bachelor’s from the School of Public Affairs and Policy Studies with a minor in First People's Studies at Concordia University, and holds a graduate degree in Community Economic Development. She started her career as a Public Servant at Indigenous Services Canada 3 years ago, where her passion in education, policy, community engagement, and Indigenous advocacy are at the heart of her day-to-day work. The co-founding of Make it Matter has allowed Olivia to build partnerships, further her experience in advocacy work, all the while working toward making education accessible.
Favourite Quote: "Be the change you wish to see in the world"
HOW IT STARTED
The story behind Make it Matter
Olivia and Deborah began their journey with Make it Matter in July 2016. Bonding over a mutual love for fundraising, social justice and education, both decided to dedicate hours of free time to networking, hosting events and building the non-profit while attending university and earning their bachelor’s degrees. With a lot of hard work, failed attempts, and harsh realities, Make it Matter came to life and raised money for project-based initiatives in schools within the greater Montreal area.
Learn more about Make it Matter's past projects & events!
Inspirations Newspaper shares the challenges and celebrates the accomplishments of children and young adults with special needs while providing information about educational, therapeutic and recreational services in our communities that are often difficult to find.
Via their publications, outreach, events, and a Special Needs Resource Database which shares over 500 resources, Inspirations reaches out to parents, caregivers and teachers who are searching for support and community when they are most in need. These tools break down barriers in an effort to educate the public at large and foster acceptance and inclusion.
The funds supported this non-profit organization which helped the resource data base to keep growing, and for Inspirations to keep story-telling through their Newspaper.
THE STEVEN ATME PROJECT
After being diagnosed with autism at the age of four, Steven Atme faced many difficulties speaking, understanding, and following directions. Despite his diagnosis, and thanks to the dedication of his teachers, friends, and family, Steven eventually learned to read, write, but most importantly: he learned how to play the piano. From the moment his parents bought him an electric keyboard, he was hooked. Steven started taking lessons and eventually was granted a scholarship to study at McGill University's Conservatory of Music.
THE FUN 15 INITIATIVE
2018 - 2019
Alana Goodings is a special education teacher at Edward Murphy Elementary who started the Fun 15 initiative last April for Autism Awareness month. Her goal was to provide an inclusive space during recess time for all students. This initiative was to increase autism awareness and social interaction through fun and interactive activities where befriending peers with autism is its primary focus.
The funds raised went towards paying for the resources and materials needed to offer students an inclusive space all year long.