Alexis Wenzowski is the club's energetic Director of International Services, Public Image social media contributor, and “go to” member, but today she shared her story focusing on her classification talk.
Alexis, daughter of Steve and Allyson Wenzowski, grew up in the University Gardens neighbourhood of Dundas. She attended Pleasant Valley, Dundana, District and Highland. As a young person she was involved in soccer, swimming, and Guiding. Her Dad, Steve was a police officer in town and involved in the community. Allyson, her Mom, was also very involved (a former member of RC of Dundas, DVSRC and now a member of Rotary After Five in Hamilton). Alexis thanked her parents for providing her with a strong foundation of core values that highlighted giving back to others.

After graduating from McMaster in 2004 with a B.A. in Political Science and History, her first job was in the constituency office of John Bryden, M.P. From there, she moved to Waterloo to study Peace and Conflict at Conrad Grebel College (affiliated with Waterloo). After completing this programme she began work for Waterloo Region first as a Freedom of Information Officer and then as assistant to the City clerk.
In 2008, Alexis pivoted to an Canisius College in Buffalo where she concentrated in literacy for African American youth. At the time, she was considering living permanently in the U.S.A. and so she did her practicums in New York State (some Canadians will do theirs in Canada). Her experiences were life changing in that for the first time in her life she worked in situations where she was ”the other”, one of the three white teachers in a school of black students and teachers in an urban high school in Buffalo. This awareness and resulting empathy has shaped the next ten years of her life.
In 2009, Alexis took a teaching position in Northern Saskatchewan in a First Nation community. She considers this to have been a watershed experience. Her passion for Indigenous issues and mental health issues was confirmed. Her desire to make a difference challenged and affirmed. When she left in 2014, Alexis chose to take those learnings and apply them to children in our region.
She worked for the next 5 years with ROCK (Reach Out Centre for Kids) focusing on children’s mental health and building alliances with other agencies.
Then in 2019, Alexis took the role of Executive Director of the then Jewish Social Services soon to become Hamilton Jewish Family Services. Over the past two years, under Alexis’ leadership the agency has developed and expanded. Two significant areas of development are: mental health support programmes and food security assistance.  HJFS offers services for all members of the community regardless of religion and culture.

The mental health supports include several counselling programmes, a phone a senior weekly programme and a knit-a-long programme in addition to Kibbutz Korner, an interest support group.
In terms of food supports, Alexis has overseen the development of the Kosher Food Bank, the only one west of Toronto. She has promoted the inclusion of fresh food (first contributor was our DVSRC with produce from the Sunrise Garden). Fresh food brings much pleasure to the users. HJFS now has three more gardens adding to their food baskets! Kosher on wheels, a weekly food delivery service runs throughout the year and this year added Passover hampers to the delivery. These new ideas demonstrate Alexis’ creativity and commitment to making the users feel cared for and valued.

On a personal note, Alexis is the proud carer of 3 cats, a published poet, and a restorer of miniatures. Her Rotary interests were first sparked by a trip with Allyson to the R.I. convention in Sao Paulo. She was impressed by the breadth and depth of this global organization committed to making a difference in the world. How fortunate are we that Alexis returned to work in Dundas and is making a difference on our community and DVSRC.