February is here, a month often associated with love, caring and sharing. We are in the midst of Mother Nature’s coldest period, but not to worry, this edition of Laval Families Magazine has stories that will warm your heart and make you fall in love with your city all over again!

Our Cover Story
Meet Tina Garabedian on page 6, an outstanding local ice dance champion who is on track to qualify for the Olympics. At just 19 years old, Garabedian demonstrates true strength and maturity in the face of a grueling school and training schedule, not to the mention all the world travelling involved for international competitions!

Young Authors Contest in Full Swing
Our newest edition of the Young Author’s Contest is all about giving students a unique experience on what it’s like to be a journalist for a day, complete with a local celebrity interview and published article in our magazine! In this issue, we have one elementary student and one high school student honing their interviewing and writing skills. Read their Q &A’s on pages 38-39.

Second Annual Teacher Appreciation Contest
As Teacher Appreciation Week is the first week of February, Laval Families Magazine is kicking off its annual Teacher Appreciation Contest. The contest is dedicated to all teachers for their devotion and innovative spirit. We are excited to announce over $7000 in prizes for our dedicated teachers!

Bringing Education to New Heights and New Lands
On page 20, read about the importance of students getting involved with their student council from the perspective of Lee-Ann Sacks, a History and Geography teacher at Laval Junior Academy. Learn how she and Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board Commissioner Vicky Kaliotzakis, have been making a difference in students’ lives for decades. What’s more, visit page 34 to read about how over 150 graduating Laval Senior Academy students will be making history by being part of one of the biggest Europe Trips ever, “Fantasy 2017”. Being dubbed the “Grand Exodus”, this trip is considered the largest of its kind throughout Canada and the United States.

Mental Health
On page 16, we conclude the in-depth discussion on clinical depression. This is the third and final installment in a 3-part series on the topic, with a Q & A with Dr. Mary Tsonis, psychologist and Founder of Your Psychology Clinic in Laval. As this series draws to a close, Dr. Tsonis helps our readers get a better global understanding of clinical depression, and all of the different ways it can manifest.

Spring & Summer Camps
It’s already that time of year again—parents everywhere are beginning to make selections for their children’s spring & summer break activities. Be sure to visit our Spring & Summer Camps section beginning on page 44 for informative articles on choosing the right camp for your child and to find out more about local camps in your area.

The LFM Community Has Expanded
In addition to the birth of my first grandson last November, our Laval Families Magazine community is now bigger than ever before, with the official launch of our sister publication, Laval en Famille Magazine! This French-language publication aims at providing Laval’s French-speaking community with inspiring, educational and informative resources, as we have been doing with LFM since 2012. We are proud to announce that Laval en Famille will be a unique magazine with its own content and DNA! Look for it on newsstands now!

Laval Families Magazine is Coming to Life!
We are excited to announce that as of February 2017, the Laval Families Magazine TV Show will air on TV09 Laval/MATV. Our show will air to over 100 000 local viewers and 1.3 million viewers in the greater Montreal region on a weekly basis. Stay tuned to our social media platforms to find out more about regularly scheduled programming. All our stories are coming to life!

Final Word
Since we are in the month of love, kindness and sharing, I urge you to go out into your communities and find an organization or cause that you can support. Our city is brimming with tremendous opportunity to serve those in need through fundraisers, non-profit organizations, volunteer associations, etc. Get your children involved too— we all rise by helping others.

Luigi Morabito