Above: L’Arche Saint John recognized Saint John Non Profit Housing and Greer Stackhouse as recipients of the inaugural Spirit of L’Arche Award at its sold-out Building Community gala Wednesday night, in recognition for their outstanding commitment to building an inclusive community. From left are Narinder Singh, General Manager of Saint John Non Profit Housing, Krista Simmons of L’Arche Saint John, Greer Stackhouse and Rachel Vander Vennen, Community Leader & Executive Director of L’Arche Saint John.
As we enter the season of Thanksgiving, I am full of gratitude for you, our friends and supporters.
Or, in the words of Krista, a member of our community:
“You are our friend and you share with us your peace, love and caring! Thank you!”
Krista said these words at the podium before a crowd of over 400 people at our Building Community gala last week, in recognition of Greer Stackhouse, a long-time volunteer and friend in our community.
As Greer approached the stage to receive the Spirit of L’Arche Award, she was met with a standing ovation. The same was true for Narinder Singh of Saint John Non Profit Housing, the other well-deserved honouree. You can read more about the award here.
The sold-out event brought hundreds of business and community leaders together in our city to celebrate the contributions of adults with intellectual disabilities and individuals and groups, like Greer and Narinder, that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to inclusion.
It was a beautiful evening of celebration. Patrick serenaded guests on the piano during the reception, Stéphane bantered on-stage with our emcee, Emily Rodger, and we debuted a new video showcasing April’s story about her journey towards independence through our new L’Arche Connects program. Our special guest, Roxanne Fairweather, sat down with our president, Dave Stonehouse for a fireside chat, and the evening capped with a live auction of a beautiful painting by Lana Langille-Doucette.
Looking back, my only regret is not being able to meet everyone in the crowd personally. But as we approach the season of Thanksgiving, I'm filled with gratitude for the love and care shown on that night.
It was a moment to celebrate, but it also reminded us that there's still work to be done. We need to keep building better support systems, more housing options, and a stronger sense of community for adults with intellectual disabilities.
Together – with you and our partners – we can build a world where adults with intellectual disabilities can take their rightful place at the table. Together, we can build a world where everyone belongs.
In this season of Thanksgiving, I am full of gratitude for your friendship and support.
Rachel Vander Vennen
Community Leader and Executive Director