France-Lyne Carbonneau, Line Lacaille, Micheline Lamoureux and Danielle Lavigne

April 2004

France-Lyne Carbonneau, Line Lacaille, Micheline Lamoureux and Danielle Lavigne, four courageous mothers of runaway teenagers decided to mobilize in order to combat the widespread prejudice against street kids. Under the "Parents en marge de la rue" program of the agency En marge 12-17, they organized a photographic exhibition designed to demystify street life.

The exhibition, entitled "Émotions noir sur blanc," was presented at Complexe Guy Favreau and then at the Centre Jeunesse de Montréal. It aimed above all to deliver a message of hope, and at the same time to help the parents of teenage runaways break out of their isolation. The photographs explored 12 different themes ― roots/family, isolation, running away, anxiety, distress, waiting, help, limits, prejudices, communication, return, freedom ― which were chosen to make the kids more aware of the feelings being experienced by their parents. With this exhibition, the women managed to demonstrate that running away from home shouldn't be associated automatically with family dysfunction, and to reassure parents of teenage runaways that their feeling of powerlessness isn't due to a lack of parenting ability.

At the same time, the four mothers teamed up with practitioners from En marge 12-17 to co-lead some of the eight-week-long workshops organized by the agency's information support group. They also shared their experiences with future community workers at the Université du Québec à Montréal. And their initiative received media coverage from several broadcasters and newspapers. 

Centraide has supported En marge 12-17 since 1999.