NEWS RELEASE | L’Arche Saint John appoints a new leader amid needed growth

NEWS RELEASE | L’Arche Saint John appoints a new leader amid needed growth

April 3, 2023.

SAINT JOHN, N.B. –  As L’Arche Saint John seeks to continue to grow to serve the needs of adults with intellectual disabilities and their families, the organization has chosen the woman behind its recent successes in fundraising and communications for its next Community Leader/Executive Director.

Rachel Vander Vennen, who has served L’Arche Saint John as Community Development Co-ordinator since 2020, takes over the leadership role effective immediately. She replaces Zoël Breau, a 45-year veteran of L’Arche who is leaving Saint John after five years for a position with L’Arche Montreal.

She was chosen following a recruitment process that drew applications from around the world and involved a series of consultations within the L’Arche Saint John community. Her appointment was unanimously confirmed by the non-profit organization’s board of directors.

“I couldn’t be more delighted that Rachel has been chosen to lead L’Arche Saint John into a future where we are more determined than ever to help meet the critical needs of adults with intellectual disabilities and their families in the region,” says Dave Stonehouse, President & Chair of the Board Directors of L’Arche Saint John.

“Rachel is a natural leader with exceptional talents, whose commitment to excellence and to L’Arche Saint John has significantly elevated our profile and our discipline in raising funds – both essential to our ambitions,” Stonehouse says. “At the same time, she is someone of warmth and deep care for others who believes wholeheartedly in our mission to make known the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities.”

Prior to joining L’Arche Saint John, Vander Vennen worked with L’Arche Chicago and with Romero House in Toronto supporting refugees.

“It is my great honour and privilege to step into the role of Community Leader/Executive Director at L’Arche Saint John,” she says. “I look forward to working with our amazing team, members and partner organizations to build a more inclusive society where adults with intellectual disabilities are celebrated for their contributions.”

L’Arche Saint John is a community of people with and without intellectual disabilities. Founded in 2005, the local non-profit operates McKim House on the city’s west side and the Creative Connections art studio and program uptown at 95 Prince William St. 

More recently, it launched the L’Arche Connects program for supported independent living which will see four adults with intellectual disabilities move into apartments of their own at The Wellington apartment complex operated by Saint John Non Profit Housing.

“I am grateful to Zoël Breau, who has an incredible passion and dedication for L’Arche and whose commitment to L’Arche Saint John has been instrumental in taking us on this exciting path of bringing the L’Arche model of care to more people and families in this region,” Stonehouse says. 

Breau, who will stay on for the month of April as an adviser to the new leader, said he was comforted to be leaving L’Arche Saint John knowing that it is under Vander Vennen’s care and leadership.

“As a leader, it is a luxury to be able to leave knowing that your successor is a person of Rachel's calibre, knowing that she has a vision and a love for L'Arche Saint John that will allow for new growth in the community,” Breau says. “I look forward to continuing to see L'Arche grow and shine in this province.”

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Dave Stonehouse
President & Chair of the Board
L’Arche Saint John

PHOTO CAPTION: ​Rachel Vander Vennen is L’Arche Saint John’s new Community Leader/Executive Director. Shown here at L’Arche’s Creative Connections art studio uptown, she takes over leadership of the non-profit as it plans for future growth. L’ARCHE SAINT JOHN PHOTO.

1 comment

Avec joie et bonheur, je te présente mes très vives félicitations à ta nomination comme leader de la communauté de l’arche saint John. Compte sur mes humbles et ferventes prières pour ta grande et lourde responsabilité. Révérend frère Angelo Gabriel Richard Muanambo

Muana mbô Kankienza Angelo Gabriel Richard

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