Ralph Jeffers – community connector
Many volunteers know Ralph as their touchstone with CCRA as he coordinated the delivery of CCRA News, now CCRA Centennial News, for the past seven years.
CCRA has benefited from the hard work of dozens of volunteers over its 66 years, but few have contributed as much energy and goodwill as Ralph Jeffers, distribution coordinator of CCRA News. Ralph leaves the CCRA executive this month with the promise of well-deserved rest.
Ralph joined CCRA in 1970, less than two years after moving into Centennial, when he realized that new developments coming to the neighbourhood did not adhere to the City of Scarborough’s official plan. He worked on committees with former CCRA president Gordon Grieveson and attended Ontario Municipal Board hearings to fight developers trying to build larger homes on smaller lots and other variances from the plan.
“Some we won, some we lost,” he laughs today, but feels that CCRA played a valuable role in ensuring that community character remained as envisioned by the City of Scarborough.
Following some years away due to work demands, Ralph rejoined CCRA. He was involved in the fight to clear and secure toxic soil around the former Johns-Manville plant at Port Union in the late 1990s, and in the long term to address the question of remediation and future development. These were years that saw CCRA and other community groups play very important roles in planning issues.
Beyond the “big” issues, Ralph has been a familiar face at all of Centennial’s community events. He was always a cheerful presence at the Port Union Waterfront Festival with Transportation Chair Junior Ward, setting up and manning the booth for the lines of children impatiently waiting for face painting.
He represented CCRA on Sir Oliver Mowat C. I. parent councils and regularly attended meetings with Mowat staff during lunches to discuss how the school community could get involved with the neighbourhood. Ralph is convinced that youth and seniors can be more connected in Centennial. He says, “I was amazed at how much schools had changed – so I learned.”
Many volunteers know Ralph as their touchstone with CCRA as he coordinated the delivery of CCRA News, now CCRA Centennial News, for the past seven years. His personal touch and knowledge of the volunteers who deliver and distribute this paper kept it coming to every home in Centennial, as well as businesses, schools and groups. CCRA delivery volunteers knew that Ralph understood and would do his best to meet individual needs.
Of course Ralph understands the value of a good volunteer – he has been involved with CCRA for more than 20 years. We wish him a healthy retirement in the Centennial neighbourhood made better by his gift of community involvement.