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Fête de Quartier Val-des-Brises Continues the Tradition
After a three-year hiatus, the Fete de Quartier Val-des-Brises made a
successful comeback in 2016. This year, the event is still going strong, and
will be taking place on September 17th. The local family event initially began
in 2003 when Archie Cifelli, president of Fête de Quartier, decided to start something positive within the
community. Cifelli and a committee made up of citizens rolled up their sleeves
and organized the event that would become Fête de Quartier Val-des-Brises. Since the goal of the event has always
been to create a strong community feel, the logo, which is still being used
today, came from a community contest. In fact, a little girl drew the logo, a V
adorned with a daisy, and won an iPod for her creation (remember: they were
huge back then!).
While Fête de Quartier is now back, and here to stay, there was a break for three years, between 2013 and 2016. During that time, local citizens kept asking Cifelli about the event and offered their help to make it happen again. Because of this ongoing support, Cifelli, along with some of the original members of the committee and some new ones, all residents of the sector, got back to work last year.
The committee is made up of 16 members of the community who also happen to be professionals from the neighborhood, such as Maria from Pâtisserie St-Martin. ''They give their best and we're fine with that. Any time is better than zero time,'' says Cifelli.
When the Fête came to an end in 2013, Cifelli and his team wanted to give the funds raised to a park in the neighborhood, but the city's bylaws and rules made it challenging. The money raised ended up going to the pediatric ward at Fondation Cité de la Santé.
This year, the funds collected will once again be given to the pediatric ward. Alain Demers, Managing Director of Fondation Cité de la Santé, is glad to be on board, especially since the event celebrates the well-being of families. ''When people from the community want to organize an event and raise funds for the hospital at the same time, we're always very happy. I think it's important that the hospital tries to work with the entire community, especially since we're the only hospital in Laval,'' says Demers. Of Cifelli and his team, he says that they're dynamic and do great things. ''In the end, everyone benefits from it,'' he says.
Renato De Cubellis, co-owner of Jaguar Land Rover Laval and main sponsor of the event, is thrilled to give back to Fondation Cité de la Santé. ''It's extraordinary that we have a hospital here in Laval, and we haven't had the opportunity in the past to support it. We thought it was a great opportunity for us to give back to such an important foundation,'' he says.
Although Cifelli is also happy about the partnership with the hospital, he wants to diversify the causes he donates money to in the future. ''We're going to decide what to do next year because there's many different causes that have approached us,'' he says.
What should be expected of the 2017 edition? ''We're going with the same type of concept again. The event is tailored to families, and it's all about the kids,'' says Cifelli. In fact, the 2017 edition includes tons of activities, such as inflatable games, pony rides, a fire truck tour, face painting, balloons and much more. For teenagers, there'll be a ball hockey tournament, with the winner bringing home $500.
For the adults, there'll be animation and dancing. Everyone will also be able to purchase food at the event, courtesy of many partners including Boucherie Capitol, IGA Extra Famille Sévigny and Pâtisserie St-Martin. The event is free, and ''it's open to everybody and anybody,'' says Cifelli. Funds for the event are raised through sponsors, all of which are included in a booklet that gets mailed out to every address (over 2000) in Val-des-Brises before the event, which also details the program of the day.
''All of our sponsors make cheques directly to Cité de la Santé. We're completely transparent, '' says Cifelli. This year, Jaguar Land Rover Laval, the major sponsor, is donating 10 thousand dollars to the event. ''The stage will be called the Jaguar Land Rover stage. There will be a tent for clients and guests, and they will probably have a couple of cars there as well,'' says Cifelli.
The partnership between Jaguar Land Rover Laval and Fête de Quartier was a natural fit for both De Cubellis and Cifelli. Both men have known each other for a few years through the Young Authors Contest that this very magazine organizes, and both know Luigi Morabito, Laval Families Magazine's Founder and Managing Editor. ''Our relationships with both Archie and Luigi are very good,'' says De Cubellis. The drive and energy that both men put into their projects encouraged him to get involved.
This sense of being helpful also runs deep for the De Cubellis brothers. They have sponsored a variety of causes before, such as cancer. ''For these kinds of events, sometimes the small things that you can do go a long way and affect others in a positive way. For us, that's important,'' says De Cubellis.
Renato De Cubellis co-owns Jaguar Land Rover Laval with his brother, Nino. The brothers purchased the dealership in 2005, and it has grown exponentially since then, from 22 employees to 75. For them, a passion for cars is in their DNA. ''My father founded many brands that you see in Laval today: BMW, Volvo, Subaru, and back in the day, Fiat and Saab. He has since retired and sold off the other brands when my brother and I bought the dealership here. With that said, through his leadership and his way of doing business, we continued too,'' he says. ''We pride ourselves on the personal life service that we can offer our customers.''
Although De Cubellis moved from Val-des-Arbres a year ago, the neighborhood still has a soft spot in his heart. ''My brother and I both grew up in Val-des-Arbres, my parents still live there, my brother lives in Val-des-Arbres and my two sisters live in Val-des-Brises. It's an area that is very close to our hearts, it's where we grew up, and it's also a big part of our clientele,'' he says.
In line with the family nature of the event, De Cubellis values family highly. He says that both he and his brother are very close to their families, that they are both married and that they both have children. Nino De Cubellis is the father of two young men, one of whom works at Jaguar Land Rover Laval full-time after having graduated from John Molson School of Business at Concordia University.
Renato De Cubellis has a teenage daughter currently enrolled in high school, and he hopes that she will one day work in the business. Besides their children, both of their wives are involved in the car dealership. "My brother's wife and my wife both work part-time in different capacities. My sister-in-law does administration and my wife does event planning," he says. Renato De Cubellis comes from a family of four siblings, and everyone is close. "We are a very tight family. We continue to do Sunday lunches with my mom, so with everyone's boyfriends and girlfriends, we can be 20 [people] sometimes, but we like to be together. We try to support each other as much as possible," he says.
Archie Cifelli also has a close-knit family and is a proud dad and husband. Next year, he and his wife will celebrate 25 years of marriage. They have three kids: Selina, 17, Giulianna, 20 and Luciano, 22. The Cifelli family also has two dogs, Bella and Mia, two Shorkie-Zus (a mix between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Shih Tzu).
"Family is very important to me," says Cifelli. "That being said, compromising is not easy. If you want to work at it and accept the good with the bad, then you find ways of getting through." Cifelli aims to keep his kids as grounded as possible. "For example, there are no cell phones at the dinner table, because the few minutes that we're together, we need to spend them together," he says.
Cifelli is a busy man. In fact, besides being the President of Fête de Quartier, he is also the Executive Vice-President of Groupe Kloda Focus, a company specialized in sound and lighting equipment. It offers quality service and equipment for a variety of events, such as weddings or corporate events. Cifelli has been working for the company for 21 years.
This year, Cifelli is also running for municipal councillor for the city of Laval in the November 5th election. Until then, Cifelli is spending time talking to people. "I just finished my door-to-door, and I want to make sure that I'm being involved in the community," he says. ''Getting people at a table to organize Fête de quartier is great, but I wanted to do something on a more permanent base, and this is why I decided to run for municipal councillor,” says Cifelli. If elected, one of Cifelli's priorities is to open a community center in Val-des-Brises/Val-des-Arbres for the neighborhood's youth. Cifelli has experience in the field. In fact, he sat on the board of Don Bosco Youth Leadership Centre in Rivières-des-Prairies for a few years, and the center quickly became a game-changer for the neighbourhood's kids.
"We have a lot of young kids in our area, but there's nothing for them to do. It's not their fault, but we’ve got to do something about that," he says. Cifelli also believes that there is a need for a new park in the sector. ''We don't have a real park with a soccer field, a tennis field, or even a building to go to the washroom or in the winter, put on your skates. We have an ice skating ring, but we have nowhere to put on our skates,'' he says.
In Cifelli's world, it's by getting involved that things can change. ''If you want something done, either get yourself involved or let other people deal with it, but then, you can't criticize. I always believed if you want to help, you come to the table and you find solutions,'' he says.
For Cifelli, community is an extension of his family. He believes that when people feel safe and welcome in the community, then it becomes a stress-free environment. ''If it's good for my family, then it's good for the community as well. This is why, from there, I wanted to run as municipal councillor, because I wanted to take it a step further,'' he says.
The future will tell if Cifelli gets elected in office, but for now, everything points to the direction that the Fête de quartier 2017 will be a tremendous success.
In 2016, the event was an outstanding success with over 5000 participants, the average being 3500 to 4000 people in preceding years. This year, the event is happening on Sunday, September 17th, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Parc du Royal-22e-Régiment. ''It's five hours of uninterrupted fun,'' says Cifelli. ''Basically, we're hoping that all the kids and families come out, enjoy the activities, have fun, and make it a great community event.''
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