The Saintlo Foundation’s commitment: to train the future Citizens of the World

A word from the director Team Adolescence Indicators Young people’s needs

By acting on behalf of young people ages 10 to 17 in precarious situations, we hope to promote equal opportunity by breaking down the barriers of poverty, psychological distress and academic failure.

We dream of becoming true actors of change by sharing values related to social solidarity, diversity and inclusion. To do so, we offer young people the opportunity to participate in a citizen training program to develop their full potential.

Our program, Culture and Citizenship in Québec, develops students’ knowledge on their needs, points of view and others’ points of view, as well as on the social and cultural foundations of their identity. It encourages recognition of oneself and others and interconnectedness between individuals, and contributes to the pursuit of the common good. This program thereby trains informed and empathetic citizens who engage actively in democratic life by integrating the principles and values of public life in Quebec into their own lives.

general manager’s presentation

In the 1980’s, Jacques Perreault held practically every possible role at the Auberges de jeunesse du Saint-Laurent. Then, in 1988, he took the reins of the organization and fully embraced the principles of the social economy, a commitment he has never abandoned since. As a young man, he quickly realized that venturing far from his familiar surroundings would broaden his horizons.

But the pandemic gave him a different perspective on Quebec, focusing on the St. Lawrence River and the regions that border it. His entrepreneurial spirit is constantly pushing back the boundaries of the social business model of youth travel. He transformed the hostels, bringing them up to date, making major acquisitions and, in 2022, creating a hostel collective called Collectif Saintlo. Today, Jacques continues his journey by infusing a renewed vision into the Saintlo Foundation, with the aim of enabling underprivileged young people to explore the world.

A multi-disciplinary team to develop an impactful training program

Leading experts have been mobilized to not only contribute scientific support to our educational pathway, but also to measure the impact of our approach and to validate our intentions toward young people, their families and their schools.

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Adolescence: an essential time of life, between fragility and hope

In spite of the prejudices that surround it, adolescence is one of the richest periods in a person’s life. Not only is it a period of significant physical changes, but some neuropsychological studies also show that teens’ brains undergo a major “reshuffling” during this phase of existence. Looking to build their adult life while discovering themselves, teens yearn to leave the family environment and to shift toward their peers. The world around them takes on a whole new meaning and invites them, little by little, to discover it.

But, as in any transitional phase, adolescence can also be a period of vulnerability that can lead teens off course with more or less healthy encounters. This risk is much higher for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who develop in environments that don’t always help them thrive.

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5 indicators highlighting the need to create a more equal and open world for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds


23% of young people in Quebec from disadvantaged backgrounds leave school without a diploma or qualifications.

social equity

8% of teens aged 11 to 17 in Quebec live in poverty.

mental health

2/10 of secondary students in Quebec have at least one diagnosis of a mental health illness.

Diversity and inclusion

1/4 of the population belongs to a racialized group in Canada.


80% of 15- to 39-year-old Quebecers are pessimistic about how the environmental situation will evolve in the next year.

7 psychological needs of young people according to michel fize

How we contribute to their well-being through travel.

Need for Trust

Trust is unconditional: it’s not something you can buy. Those who receive trust can then give it to others. With trust comes self-esteem and the desire to act.
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Need for Dialogue

Dialogue is the exchange of ideas, which may lead to disagreements: thinking for yourself means thinking differently from someone else. Dialogue assumes that the people speaking are equals. Dialogue is a preventative response to violence.
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Need for Security

The feeling of security depends on markers, references and beliefs (parental). It does not depend on making things off limits or forbidden, or on authority, which are instead expressions of power. It involves reassuring and constantly supporting the teen who lives in a troubling world.
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Need for Autonomy

Autonomy is being able to choose for yourself your standard of conduct, the direction of your actions and the risks you’re willing to take. Autonomy is the very meaning of adolescence (and of education in general). Teens can experiment. They have to take risks to grow; they have the right to make mistakes.
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Need for Taking responsability

Teens are less in need of empowerment, which is still an exercise of adult power, than of assuming both personal and social responsibilities. Responsibility brings back the (lost) feeling of usefulness.
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Need for Affection

Affection (love and friendship) is the most important thing for a teen who needs to love and to be loved. Teens need to hear how important they are to others, especially to their parents. You can never love them too much.
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Need for Hope

Hope is something many teens lack in a very demanding world, such as the hope of succeeding in school, succeeding in love, choosing the right career.
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Our purpose

Opening horizons to offer
a world of possibilities

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