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Alvis P. Stayt

posted by Scott Williams

Each year International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8. The first International Women's Day was held in 1911. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women's groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day. The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “Make it Happen.” The day represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women and also advocate for greater equality. Today, we happily #PaintItPurple in support of the work of women and women’s rights.

KW Counselling Services has been serving women, children and families in Waterloo Region for 65 years. Today, it seems appropriate to celebrate the achievements of the woman who founded our agency and served as its first executive director: Alvis P. Stayt.

We are proud to have been founded by such a forward-thinking and community-minded woman. Mrs. Stayt was born in England March 5, 1908 and came to live in Kitchener in 1950. She set up a new agency, the Family Services Bureau, later KW Counselling Services, and became the executive director.

 Alvis P. Stayt

Stayt founded and served as chairman of the KW Red Cross homemaker service and initiated the After Four Club for children aged seven to ten whose parents worked outside of the home.  She was president of the KW Philatelic Society, was chairman for local stamp shows and took many awards for her fine collection.

One of the challenges Stayt faced as executive director of KW Counselling Services was a lack of trained social workers. In 1966, she served as one of several consultants when Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier University) was developing its new graduate School of Social Work. To this day, KWCS has a wonderful partnership with WLU. Several social work students train here as interns each year.

In 1975 Stayt retired as executive director of KWCS and the Council of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo extended her a “vote of appreciation” for her 25 years of service to the community and wished her a “healthy and happy retirement.” Stayt was also honoured at a provincial ceremonial dinner for her contributions in the social service field and was cited for her role in establishing the KW Social Planning Council, founding the local Parents Without Partners and her membership on the board of governors of the Canadian Welfare Council.

In 1976, Stayt returned to England where she passed away in November 15, 1985. In 1992, Alvis P. (Peggy) Stayt was inducted into the Waterloo County Hall of Fame.

Alvis Stayt built the foundation upon which our agency still stands. On this International Women’s Day, we pay her tribute.