I joined the board of L’Arche Saint John three years ago at the invitation of Jim Kokocki, a friend and mentor who served as president and chair of the board.
Jim often talked about L’Arche. Although I had lived in the Saint John area for more than 15 years, I had not heard much about it. Jim always spoke of it in reverential and noble terms. Back then, he spoke of a new community leader who had arrived in Saint John, Zoël Breau – someone who had served L’Arche for decades in Canada and around the world.
He wanted me to meet Zoël for coffee, to think about joining the board. I was immediately struck by Zoël’s energy, his ability to share his passion for L’Arche and a world that is inclusive of all.
It was inspirational. How could I say no? In those first months with the board, in the times before COVID-19, directors could gather for tea and homemade goodies with the core members and staff at McKim House before shuffling downstairs for our meetings. These were special moments – a way for a rookie board member to get to know the L’Arche Saint John family and the meaningful difference this organization plays in our community.
Today, I have the honour of succeeding Jim as president and chair of the board. I am humbled by the opportunity to serve, to continue on the path of progress and growth for L’Arche Saint John that Jim has so ably set for us.
Jim has served L’Arche Saint John with distinction for more than six years, and served as chair and president for more than half that. Under his leadership, we became a much stronger organization.
Jim led an increased focus on fundraising, community awareness and engagement along with a drive for more sustainable funding, including the establishment of endowment funds to increasingly ease our reliance on fundraising for basic needs. Thank you for your leadership on this and so much more, Jim.
In 2022, we'll continue to support our core members, staff and volunteers – together, they fuel the nurturing, welcoming, respectful environment that makes L'Arche such a ray of sunshine in our world.
We will build new partnerships that will empower L’Arche Saint John to grow our family and community.
We will continue to work diligently to raise money and awareness – awareness of the critical needs of adults with intellectual disabilities and their families, and awareness of the meaningful ways L’Arche can meet those needs.
We will continue a dialogue with our partners in the provincial government on enabling L’Arche to flourish not only here in Saint John but across the province.
We’re committed to this as we seek to build a more inclusive and compassionate society. But we could not do this without you – our supporters. Your support is essential to our ability to carry out our mission today and to our efforts to grow.
President & Chair of the Board