Staff and Leadership

Meet our Staff!

Alice Plug-Buist
Executive Director

Alice joined Helping Hands in 2018 as a volunteer, and took the lead as Executive Director in 2019. She appreciates Helping Hands as a place where people can safely come together in community, to forge friendships, support each other, and engage in hope-filled conversation together. Alice loves to engage people in discovery of how each person is a valuable image-bearer of God and how they can live into that reality.

Eli Navas
Friendship Manager

Eli is our new Friendship Manager! His journey with Helping Hands began with a life-changing experience in his first week, igniting a deep love for the impactful work we do. With over 20 years as a Worship Pastor in El Salvador, the USA, and Canada, Eli blends academic prowess in Theology, Music Education, and Performing Arts. Recently graduating in Immigration Assistance from CDI College in Toronto, Eli brings a dynamic skill set to his role. Eli’s passion for worship and community engagement sets him apart, making him an ideal candidate for roles requiring a mix of spiritual leadership and practical experience.

Kristina Ivanovic
Hospitality Coordinator

Kristina was first introduced to Helping Hands Street Mission through her field placement while completing her Social Service Worker Diploma at Mohawk College. She loved the experience so much she continued to volunteer after her placement was over. She strongly believes in and respects the mission’s values and vision. Through her position here she has been given the opportunity to continue building positive relationships with our friends as well as helping those in need with the services that are provided at Helping Hands.

Lauren Galenkamp
Executive Projects Assistant

Lauren began working at Helping Hands in May of 2022 as an Administrative Assistant. As her role developed, she was able to work on several projects aimed to aid Helping Hands in communication through different creative storytelling methods. This has included the development of the new website, fine-tuning impact tracking systems, leading the development of video storytelling materials, and developing vision for our annual Gala for the past 2 years. Lauren loves being able to continue to learn how to be a good neighbour and a good friend in the neighbourhood where she both lives and works.

Lisette Sayes
Community Engagement Manager and Project Hope Lead

Lisette was born and raised in Hamilton to parents of Guatemalan descent. She studied at Redeemer University with a major in International Development and a minor in Political Science, hoping to one day use her experience to be a missionary. As part of her studies, Lisette was required to complete volunteer hours and chose to do so at Helping Hands Street Mission. After having a great experience, she went on to become a summer intern at Helping Hands in the summer of 2016. Since then, Lisette has worked in both non-profit organizations and in political offices, always focusing on social justice work. Lisette loves the friendship-based support of Helping Hands, and ultimately wanted to expand the capacity of Helping Hands so that God’s love would reach more people in the Barton Street community. She’s excited to see what God will be doing in her role as the Community Engagement Manager and Project Hope Lead.

Our Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors provides governance to Helping Hands Street Mission as a registered charitable organization. They set strategic goals and hold the organization accountable to fulfilling its mission and vision. Each member comes with their own unique perspective, and together they seek the flourishing of people in the Barton Village community and the expansion of God’s kingdom here.

Phil Beck, Jessica Koning, Kevin de Jong, Lynn Bruulsema, Peter VanDyk, and Gordon Hornsveld.

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