It was a send-off fitting for a woman who has dedicated much of her life to helping others.
A celebration happened at the Envision Counselling and Support Centre's Estevan office on June 13 to mark the retirement of long-time executive director Patt Lenover-Adams. Lenover-Adams has been at the helm of the organization for more than 19 years, and dozens of people turned out to recognize her.
Representatives of Envision and the different agencies that the organization works with offered tributes to her. Vice-chair Vic Wiebe said that Lenover-Adams has brought great leadership to Envision.
“It has addressed the needs of people living in this area,” Wiebe said.
Regardless of what she does, Wiebe expects that Lenover-Adams' passion for people will come through regardless of what she does next.
“We're going to see the same Patt that we've always known, who cares a great deal for people, particularly people who are disadvantaged in some way,” said Wiebe.
She has also prepared the staff and the board for the future after she retires.
In a brief and emotional speech, Lenover-Adams said that she worked with “remarkable board members, amazing staff and volunteers,” and there have been so many people who have helped with Envision's success.
“Envision's given me far more than I've given it,” said a tearful Lenover-Adams.
Other speakers were Linda Selin, Cheryl Gamble and Rod McKendrick from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice; Michael Piluk from the Ministry of Social Services, Valerie Hall from the Quota Club of Estevan, and Rod Watson from the Alternatives to Violence Program in Weyburn.
“Thank you, Patt, for making the choice to work in the area of interpersonal violence and abuse,” said Selin. “It is not an easy area. It has no glamour. It is not well-paid. It depends on people who want to make a difference in the world.”
McKendrick noted that the work that Lenover-Adams has done for women and children in Canada has been incredible.
Letters were also read out from several people who couldn't attend the reception, but wanted to congratulate her.
Lenover-Adams joined Envision in 1995 – about six months after the agency's inception. At the time, it was known as the Violence Intervention Program, and it had one office in Estevan.
During her tenure, Envision grew to add offices in Weyburn and Carlyle. It gained new staff members, programs and services, and its profile grew in the region. Their case load has grown considerably, as well.
There was also a name change from the Violence Intervention Program to Envision. Not only do they continue to help those affected by domestic violence, they have launched preventative efforts, outreach programs, support services and more.
The search for a new executive director for Envision is ongoing.