The neighbourhood angel

In the hustle and bustle of the city there is the sweet story of a tightly knit community where mutual aid and friendliness are at the heart of the neighbourhood. It is a movement first initiated by a woman, the local angel, Marie Sterlin. It is Élise who suggested her neighbour, Mary, as a model of kindness.

Marie has been so present in the lives of Élise and her daughters that it was natural for her to introduce us to her.

Now, let's take it from the beginning. Élise, a single mother of two grown daughters, 13-year-old Raphaelle and 9-year-old Sasha, is also Vice-President of Operations for a computer company. Unfortunately, Sasha has a very rare genetic illness. Physically, nothing is wrong, but her intellect evolves so slowly that it is comparable to that of a 2-year-old child. Sasha still wears diapers, is not able to speak on her own, and knows only a few words. However, she is very close to her emotions and can connect very quickly with people. Sasha sees her father every other weekend and lives with her mother for the rest of the time. This has had an impact on Élise's life. Fortunately, there is a whole tribe around her: her boyfriend, Nycolas, her precious babysitter, Maude, Grandpa Bob, who comes to dinner with them every Tuesday and... the wonderful Marie!

Marie Sterling The neighbourhood angel

" She knows the names of all the neighbourhood kids. She is a mother to all of us. " -Élise

Besides having a 16-year-old daughter herself as well as being a researcher and documentary filmmaker, Marie is deeply involved in her hometown. Immediately after moving to the Mile-End in Montreal, Marie first established ties with her neighbours. Marie later became friends with local parents by giving knitting classes once a week at the local school. Once everyone knew each other, a real community net was formed between citizens, which allows the exchanges between people to be enriching. Above all, a high level of trust has been instilled within the community. For Marie, the neighbourhood members must help each other to provide the best possible environment for local children.

" One day, Sasha came right up to talk to me. From then on, Sasha, Élise and Raphaelle Have been in my life. » -Marie

Sasha and Marie met four years ago. Élise and her daughters were walking down the street. When Sasha saw Mary from a distance, she ran towards her to throw herself into her arms. The young girl's "kindness radar" was able to detect Marie's kindness. From that moment on, Élise opened the door to Mari as well as to a whole network of support.

Motivated by infinite goodwill, Marie visits Sasha 3 to 4 evenings a week to brush her teeth, an art that only she seems to master. The emotional care that Sasha requires makes her very sensitive to any changes in emotions. Her daily life is carried out at her own pace and requires a lot of time and patience. She is also very sensitive to transitions and needs a lot of time following each request. If Mom is a little too tired, in a hurry or worried, it becomes even more difficult to get Sasha to cooperate. It is here that the magic of the entourage works. Helping each other allows Élise to recharge her batteries and come back ready to take care of Sasha.

Occasionally, Marie brings Sasha to school to allow Élise to get to work earlier. To give Élise a helping hand, Marie regularly takes the little girl for a walk in the neighbourhood or to play in the park. Marie is always there for the family. She helps without ever expecting anything in return. Élise's neighbour has become like an aunt you can count on in any situation—or a fairy godmother.

Sasha's toy

" That which you give, you get a lot out of it. It comes back to you. " -Marie

People like Marie remind us of the importance of being open to their community. Good deeds always turn into snowballs. This, Marie understood well. Whether it is with Sasha and Élise or with any neighbour, being open and helping others can only bring good. Her endeavors, her good heart and her commitment make her a true model of caring.

Discover more stories

" That which you give, you get a lot out of it. It comes back to you. "
-Marie, neighbour of Elise and Sacha

Share a story of kindness

Do you know someone who is exceptionally kind and does great things for their community? Share their story so that we can highlight their involvement and encourage the community to follow their example.

A member of the Familiprix team may contact you to get more details on their story as well as the person's contact information.