Volunteer Recognition

Volunteer Recognition- July 2020

Featuring – Jim Harder

The Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) is pleased to declare Jim Harder as the worthy recipient of the July Volunteer Recognition.

Jim first came to the GRCOA when he was part of a small delegation from the Retired Teachers Organization (RTO).  After that first meeting, Lucy Marco asked if any of the retired teachers would be interested in board membership, and Harder answered the call.

Throughout his teaching career, Jim taught every grade level with a focus on special education and was a principle at several elementary schools.  Over the years he gained valuable insight and experience that served him in good stead when he rose to become a Department Head at a local high school for 9 years. Teaching was not his only focus during those years for as a dedicated family man, he and his wife proudly raised their family of five. In his spare time, he was a volunteer hockey coach for more than twenty years and still coaches sports today

As a resident of Paris, Jim brings County experience and knowledge to the Board of Directors. Over the years spent with the GRCOA, Harder has been part of many planning initiatives and endeavors with a prevailing focus on what might be best for the seniors residing in the County of Brant. When asked for a special memory of his time with the GRCOA, he answered simply, “all of it”.

As a quiet, unassuming gentleman, Jim thinks before he speaks and when he does, he presents different viewpoints and diverse ways to look at a given situation. Time after time, Jim has proven to be a dependable, reliable volunteer.

Whenever there is an event or activity for the GRCOA, Jim has been there as a member of the Board of Directors and a volunteer; be it the Musical Matinee, the Age-Friendly Summit, Taco Fest, or others.

As a member of the Brant County Accessibility Committee he was proud to witness the E-Rider transportation program released in late 2019. Wherever he goes in the County, he wears his “age-friendly” hat while continuously promoting the efforts of the GRCOA.

In the City, Jim provides his “age-friendly” perspective to the annual Jane’s Walk (Asset Based Development Collaborative) and to the GRCOA input relative to the City of Brantford planning initiatives.

With sincere thanks to Jim, The Grand River Council on Aging is still growing and evolving in its dedication to encourage the development of an “age-friendly community” for all residents from 5 to 105!



Volunteer Recognition – June 2020
Featuring – Peggy Wickham

New Monthly Recognition Program
The Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) is proud to announce Peggy Wickham as the first recipient of the newly established Volunteer Recognition Program.
In 2010, recently retired and looking for volunteer opportunities, Peggy chose the GRCOA and during her stint, was present for much of its’ growth and progression. As a life-long volunteer, she also worked full-time and raised a family, all while negotiating the rewards and challenges of being a military wife

Over the years, her employment history and her very employable skills, had a significant bearing upon her volunteer choices. She spent her career counselling, teaching, coaching and training always with the view to help people understand what they had to offer. She is blessed with keen intelligence and wit and is strong in planning, development and implementation.

Peggy joined the Grand River Council on Aging in 2010 and held the office of Secretary and a member of the Executive Committee until 2018. She was also a major contributor to the Communication/Education Committee that created the Workshop on a Bus concept. An accomplished proof-reader, Peggy’s skills have contributed to internal and external publications and the web site.

Peggy was an integral member of the Age-Friendly Summit Working Group that went on to host two information sessions and eight community forums designed to determine what seniors want and need in order to create age-friendly communities. The resulting Community Impact Report included 628 suggestions from the residents of Brantford, Brant County and Six Nations of the Grand; its contents still guiding planning efforts
When asked about her favourite moment or memory from the GRCOA, Peggy quickly answered, “oh, it has to be the first Workshop on a Bus!” She then went on to describe how much fun that first bus trip was and her pride in the way this event has continued to be of strong appeal and value to seniors for seven years. Peggy continues to be involved and is a regular member of the Communication/Education Committee and remains available as an editor for any new work published by the Council on Aging.

With appreciation to volunteers like Peggy, The Grand River Council on Aging is still growing and evolving in its dedication to encourage the development of an “age-friendly community” for all residents from 5 to 105!