Blais steps down as Agape Centre executive director

Blais steps down as Agape Centre executive director
Agape Centre executive director Alyssa Blais.

CORNWALL, Ont. – After five and a half years, the Agape Centre is losing Alyssa Blais, who has stepped down as its executive director.

“I set out to do something at Agape and I accomplished my goals,” Blais said in a media statement on Wednesday (May 11). “I feel like my time has come to an end, and I’m leaving it in great hands.”

The executive director’s last day will be May 26, and the Agape Centre’s board members will announce “recruitment plans soon.”

“Alyssa has provided stability and direction to the running of the Agape Centre that will be missed,” said Jim Healey, Agape board chair. “The board wishes Alyssa a well-deserved rest and great success in all of her future endeavors.”

Blais, 44, plans on taking a sabbatical for six months to a year, and traveling to Newfoundland, Nepal, and Thailand.

“We’ve built a good team here. I feel good about leaving it now,” said Blais.

Kendra Smith, fund development and communications officer at Agape, said Blais significantly contributed to the organization’s success, notably overseeing an important shift within the non-profit towards improving the quality of food distributed, earning the Agape Centre formal recognition as a Good Food Organization.

“I want people to recognize that we have hunger in our community and it’s not going to go away,” said Blais. “The Agape Centre is an important resource and service, and I want to see it at the forefront to alleviating poverty in this community.”

She also planted a fruit forest, introduced a kid’s cooking program called Curious Chefs, and brought two new fundraising events to the organization: Coldest Night of the Year and Canstruction Cornwall.

Blais said her proudest accomplishment is the $1-million ‘Within These Walls’ building campaign, she and her team carried out last year, renovating the 27, 000 square-foot building into a safer, more accessible space.

“Working with Bourgon Construction, and seeing the progress of a crumbling building turning into a place where people can come and feel comfortable was something special,” said Blais. “There’s a sense of peace that wasn’t here before. We dusted off this building and made it into a beautiful and safe place. It’s our home and people are happier here now.”

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