This week, Jen Kazda will be leaving her position as Director of Day Programs at L’Arche Greater Vancouver. The positive impact she has made with these two programs will further their growth well into the future.
Jen’s L’Arche story started before she came to the Vancouver community. The experience has knowledge she brought with her from other L’Arche communities have benefited us all.
Here’s her story in her own words:
In 2003, I moved from small town Ontario to rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to join the L’Arche community there. I was looking for a new experience rather than a job or a career. I was drawn to the radical vision of sharing life together with people of various ages, abilities, religions and cultures after reading Jean Vanier’s Becoming Human essays from the 1998 Massey Lecture series. I had made a one year commitment to be a live in assistant in one of the six homes at L’Arche Cape Breton. One year quickly turned into two.
My life as a live in assistant was rich. I enjoyed how all the member of the house would gather together for the evening meal. Everyone in the house had different places to be throughout the day, so coming together at the table was a time of sharing food, stories about our day and many smiles. I enjoyed cooking together with my housemates, going on holidays together and going out for coffee in the village.
Now, almost 8 years later and having lived in and worked in various homes and administration roles in four different L’Arche communities across Canada, I truly feel part of the global L’Arche family. I have stayed because L’Arche has been welcoming and revealing of my gifts. I have stayed because of the depth of relationship with people I have shared life with. I have stayed because of the value and the strength a good home and community brings to one’s life. I stayed because I have been transformed.
At this point in my life, I have decided to go back to school to get my Bachelors of Education. I will return to Ontario to study and be closer to my family. I have seen many assistants come and go over my life in L’Arche and have been amazed at the variety of ways they have stayed connected to the communities, despite living in different parts of the world. This gives me confidence that despite distance I’ll be able to stay in touch with the friends and connections I’ve made here. I leave with two common L’Arche sayings, “Once a L’Archie, always a L’Archie” and “ you can take the assistant out of L’Arche, but you can’t take L’Arche out of the assistant.
Thank you my friends!
Jen’s enthusiasm and positive energy will be missed. We would like to wish her all the best with her future adventures! Thank you Jen.