We are saddened to hear of the passing of our dear friend, Phil LeBlanc, our Director from 1980 to 1983.
We would like to share the following tribute from Almerinda Rebelo, Program Director for St. Stephen’s in the early 1980’s and long-time friend of Phil:
“Philippe LeBlanc died peacefully on December 30, 2017. It is with great sadness in my heart that I learn the news. My thoughts go to the time when we worked together and of our friendship over the years.
I worked with Philippe in the early 1980s, in my capacity as Program Director, while he was the Executive Director at St. Stephen’s Community House. Those were important years of development for the House, at the time, supported by a small core staff team dedicated to serve its community.
Philippe LeBlanc brought in his experience in community advocacy, human rights policy and government relations, focusing on the needs of families with young children, youth and new immigrants living within the Kensington Market neighbourhood. Under his leadership, the childcare services expanded with the opening of a second day centre located at the King Edward School and the establishment of the first youth employment program. Successful negotiations also brought sustainability to a number of temporary community projects.
Philippe LeBlanc was very supportive of the staff teams, highly regarding the daily work of the childcare educators and community workers. He supported innovation and creative initiatives especially those undertaken in the youth program. His leadership was not limited to the management of the House. His gentle and thoughtful approach included mentorship and coaching as well as support and advocacy for individual youths who reached out to him.
When he left the House, our friendship continued over the years and I had the privilege to hear about his work especially as the Permanent Delegate of the Dominican Order of the United Nations in Geneva. He was very passionate about social justice and the plight of those affected by repression and human rights violations. As he would usually be back in Toronto before December, for many years, we kept a pre-Christmas catch-up lunch date. Philippe was a superb listener and thoughtful advisor. He will be greatly missed.”