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With a Grateful Heart

Alan Cavin always greets you with a bright smile and a warm handshake. He listens intently, making you feel that you are the most important person in the room.

It’s not a show; if Alan has engaged you in conversation, you are the most important person in the room. It is one of the many gifts that Alan has brought to his role as director of resource development for Communitas Supportive Care Society and Matthew’s House for more than six years. At the end of April, he will leave that role to pursue other interests. He leaves with a grateful heart.

“This has been a life-changing experience for me.” Alan, director of resource development

“I came here having almost no experience of people who live with developmental disabilities or complex care needs,” he says as he reflects on his time with the organization. “I have learned that we are all the same, we want and need the same things – love, acceptance, work, friends.”

Alan and “Spider”, one of the many friends Alan has made during his time with Communitas

Alan says that he has been humbled, both by the people served through Communitas and Matthew’s House but also by the people who have shown support.

“I think generosity is the highest virtue,” he explains. “Giving when you don’t have to, in response to a need is really an expression of God’s love.”

Alan began with Communitas just as Matthew’s House was preparing to open its doors. The opportunities to meet with families made a deep impression on him. He was moved by the strength and resilience of parents who were given both a gift and a burden.

“It’s such a challenge to care for a child with complex care needs and it can have such an impact on families and marriages,” he says. “I’m just in awe of them.”

Coffee Morning is the annual Matthew’s House fundraiser that Alan introduced. (seen here with Laura Ullock, his former resource development assistant)

Alan is also a man of deep faith. During his time with Communitas, he was ordained as a deacon in the Catholic church, receiving a Masters in Pastoral Studies from St. Mark’s College at UBC. He quotes Hebrews 6:19 as he describes his faith: We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

“I’ve seen how God has put his love in the hearts of our staff. They serve with such care and love,” he says. “I really believe that all life has value, dignity, and purpose. There are no mistakes.”

As he prepares to leave, there are things he will miss but also things he’s looking forward to, including a shorter commute. For the last 6 years, Alan has divided his time between Abbotsford and his hometown of Nanaimo. He’s planning on spending more time with his wife of 36 years and his two children. He is also excited about starting a new job with Coco Café, a café and catering company in Nanaimo that employs people who live with developmental disabilities. Alan is looking forward to applying the experiences from Communitas to this new work and hopes people will stop by.

“If you’re in Nanaimo, come to Coco Café for coffee!” he says.

One thing Alan knows for certain, he will miss the friends he has made here. He takes comfort in a quote from Winnie the Pooh:

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

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