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Ontario Senior of the Year Award

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The Ontario Senior of the Year Award gives each municipality in Ontario the opportunity to honour one local senior who has made outstanding contributions to their community after the age of 65 years old.

Congratulation to Waterloo's 2018 Ontario Senior of the Year - Maedith Radlein!

A resident of Waterloo, Radlein is a retired Waterloo Region District School Board elementary school principal. She is being recognized for her long-standing commitment to city and regional organizations, institutions, clubs and groups both during her time as a principal and since her retirement.

Radlein worked with the KW YWCA to assist vulnerable women and their families fleeing violence and homelessness. She founded the local Coalition for the Success of African, Caribbean Canadian Youth and
is a member of the Congress of Black Women of Canada, a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of black women and their families. Recently, Radlein chaired the group's African-Caribbean Parents' Network and worked with the local school boards to ensure equitable outcomes for African and Caribbean students. She has also organized Black History month panel presentations, monologues and skits to help educate the larger community about the contributions of black people to Canada, North America, and world events.

Radlein has served on the executive of the Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region - an organization that promotes education and the cultural interests of the Caribbean community with an emphasis on youth engagement.

In March of this year, Radlein moderated a panel discussion to commemorate United Nations Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The panel included the region's police chief, a university professor, an activist, a school board equity officer and an Indigenous elder.

Even though Radlein seeks little recognition for her volunteer work, over the years, she has been recognized with many awards, including the Waterloo Region Outstanding Volunteer Award, and the City of Kitchener Salute to Seniors for Community Involvement Award.

The Senior of the Year award will be presented to Maedith Radlein on Monday, May 28 during a regularly scheduled city council meeting. 

Past recipients of the Waterloo's Ontario Senior of the Year Award 

2017 - Rick Chambers

Rick's contribution to the community is far-reaching and he has long been recognized for his strength of leadership and character. His passion lies with promoting an age friendly community. He was chairperson of the City of Waterloo 55+ advisory board from 2013 - 2016 and remains an active member of the City of Waterloo age friendly committee. Highlights of Rick's contributions include:

  • volunteer facilitator and presenter at the City of Waterloo Friday Flick drop-in program
  • volunteers his piano-playing talents during the meal program at the Adult Recreation Centre 
  • Partnered with highschool students and elementary students for the 2015 Mayor's Age Friendly Forum and orchestrated the delivery of an intergenerational presentation that was well received and praised by all participants
  • active member in the strategic planning at his church 

2016 - Arlene Groh

Arlene, a registered nurse, is a consultant for Healing Approaches for Elder Abuse and Mistreatment, an organization which aims to provide opportunities for change and healing to communities affected by elder abuse. She pioneered and
coordinated the Restorative Justice Approaches to Elder Abuse Project and was a founding member of Waterloo Region's Elder Abuse Response Team. Arlene advocates for legal, health and social services, faith and cultural communities and the government to work together to build safe communities for older adults. Highlights of Arlene's contributions and accomplishments:

  • Co-facilitator, Empowering Seniors: Elder Support Group Program (2013 to present)
  • Chair, City of Waterloo's Age Friendly Cities Mayor's Advisory Committee (2010 to present)
  • Board Member, Victim Services of Waterloo Region (2003 to 2012)
  • Waterloo Region Committee on Elder Abuse (1992 to present)
  • Board member for Focus for Ethnic Women (2003 to 2004)
  • Mediator, Community Justice Initiatives(CJI) (1999 to 2001)

2015 - Chris Barker

Chris was chosen for her impressive list of volunteer activities that have made a difference in shaping out community. A sampling of her contributions include:

  • preparing and serving food for up to 50 people once a month at RCAFA Wing 404
  • Mayor's dinner committee member
  • Mayor's dinner silent auction committee member
  • Social committee chairperson for the Old Salts Senior Canoe Club
  • Board member, garden volunteer and community ambassador for Parents for Community Living
  • Long-time visitor to an older group of women living at senior retirement homes.

2014 - John Phillips

John is an active volunteer with the City of Waterloo. Highlights of his contributions to the community include:

  • volunteer with the St. Jacob's Playhouse
  • volunteer with his church
  • enthusiastic greeter of guests at the Adult Recreation Centre (with a characteristic smile)
  • plays piano for the Senior Outing Day Program 

2013 - George MacAskill

George, an avid golfer, was honoured for his extensive community involvement spanning the last 30 years and including:

  • volunteer with the second annual Manulife Financial LPGA Classic at Grey Silo as a golf course marshal
  • member of the 55+ golf league