Home Celebrations Filia Association for Senior Citizens celebrates its 40th anniversary

Filia Association for Senior Citizens celebrates its 40th anniversary

Seniors’ group that began in Montreal has been active in Laval since 2006

Close to 200 guests gathered at the Château Royal in Chomedey on the afternoon of Nov. 20 for the kind of celebration that calls for merriment, music and lively dancing – the 40th anniversary of the Filia Association for Senior Citizens.

Consul General for Greece in Montreal Katerina Varvarigou (seen here with Filia executive-director Joanna Tsoublekas) spoke glowingly of Filia’s contributions to Montreal and Laval seniors. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Newsfirst Multimedia)

Filia began providing assistance for Greek women of the Park Extension Hellenic community in the early 1980s.

Its mandate was later broadened to include senior citizens of every origin, while providing help to seniors in Laval since 2006. Some of the services Filia provides are home housekeeping and supervision, volunteer training and a healthcare clinic for the feet.

Gathering of dignitaries

Longtime Filia supporter Peter Deros, left, and Laval city councillor Sandra El-Helou were carried away by their enthusiasm during Filia’s 40th anniversary celebration and got down on the dance floor. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Newsfirst Multimedia)

Among the dignitaries who attended the celebration were Vimy Liberal MP Annie Koutrakis, Saint-Laurent Liberal MP Emmanuella Lambropoulos, the Consul General for Greece in Montreal Katerina Varvarigou and Montreal city councillor for Parc Extension Mary Deros.

Also present were Laval city councillor for Souvenir-Labelle Sandra El-Helou (responsible for seniors), Laval city councillor for l’Abord-à-Plouffe Vasilios Karidogiannis (representing Mayor Stéphane Boyer), former Liberal MP Eleni Bakopanos, and Shield of Athena executive-director Melpa Kamateros.

El-Helou, one of several dignitaries who addressed the gathering, spoke without a prepared speech, saying she was there “to speak from the heart to my family. Because when I speak to Filia, I don’t feel that I’m coming as a politician. I feel like I’m coming here as a member of Filia.

‘The work that Filia does to support these wonderful seniors in living the best lives possible, deserves the utmost praise,’ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said

In praise of Filia

“I’ve witnessed all the work, all the sacrifice, all the time that they’ve been giving especially during the pandemic to make sure that our seniors didn’t miss anything,” El-Helou added. “They were there. They sacrificed their time, they provided their energy and care.”

The Troupe Syrtaki, a traditional Hellenic dance ensemble, gave a spectacular performance during Filia’s 40th anniversary event at the Château Royal in Chomedey on Nov. 20. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Newsfirst Multimedia)

In a brief forward-looking address, Joanna Tsoublekas, Filia’s founder and executive-director, said her wish for Filia is for it “to continue and fulfill my dream. This day is very important for Filia and very emotional for me. You should know that Filia is my baby, because I founded it and I was left to take care of it. My baby today is 40 years old.”

Laval city councillor Sandra El-Helou, left, and Filia founder Joanna Tsoublekas. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Newsfirst Multimedia)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Papineau where Filia’s offices are located, sent a message restating his longstanding support for Filia and the work it has accomplished for seniors over the last four decades.

Justin Trudeau’s message

“Occasions such as this which unite Canadians, and encourage them to celebrate their diversity, truly help make Canada strong,” said Trudeau. “In a country built by immigrants, the contributions that seniors of Greek descent have made – and continue to make – to our shared nation are invaluable.

From the left, Montreal city councillor for Parc Extension Mary Deros, Laval city councillor Sandra El-Helou, Filia founder Joanna Tsoublekas, Laval city councillor Vasilios Karidogiannis and Vimy Liberal MP Annie Koutrakis.

“Thank you for everything that you have done to help Canada become the greatest place to live in the world,” the Prime Minister continued. “And, the work that Filia does to support these wonderful seniors in living the best lives possible, deserves the utmost praise. To the entire team behind this amazing organization, thank you for forty years of service and impact. I wish you many more decades of continued growth and success.”