2014 Richmond Hill
“I want the concept of giving back to the community to be the norm.”
Marj Andre wants to get to know the many people doing good things in our community, and have them get to know each other. Through her website, email newsletter, weekly networking group, frequent oneonone meetings and email introductions, she is a catalyst in bringing community members together. Marj’s goal is to weave a stronger social fabric. Marj started her Connecting the Community group in 2011. It is best described as cross sector collaboration. Initially there were just a few who gathered at a local coffee shop each week. Now the group meets at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts and it has surpassed all expectations. Connecting the Community provides a supportive environment. Everyone is encouraged to find some community involvement that resonates with them.
“I want to put people together and create the climate where people will want to be supportive, to help and be involved.”
Marj leads by example. She is an active member of the community and is involved with Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra, the Garden & Horticultural Society. Historical Society, Chamber of Commerce, Toastmasters, Cultural Leadership Committee and more. Marj recognizes that the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts has offered much to our community in its five years and will readily talk about how it enriches our lives and is a venue that plays an integral part in bringing people together.
Marj believes that being involved contributes to a better and longer life. She is pleased to welcome those who are easing out of the workforce and now have more time since they so often have so much to offer the community.
Marj talks politics and religion. One of Marj’s goals is to bring politicians and the community together. She explained, “I want politicians not to be just a name on the ballot. We need to feel they are approachable.” Marj regularly meets with various faithbased organizations to learn how they are supporting the community. She said, “We all have a purpose and we need to find out what it is.”
Marj prefers to lend more support to charities that may not have high profile recognition. Hill House Hospice, is one she supports with a weekly collection at Connecting the Community. She also likes to
support L’Arche Daybreak in their work caring for those with intellectual disabilities. Marj firmly believes that we need to have compassion and awareness in our communities. Marj encourages residents to open their eyes to what is around them in Richmond Hill. Marj is disheartened when she sees lack of support for that which is in our own backyard. She is striving to correct this.
Marj has lived in Richmond Hill for 25 years and has raised five sons. Her love for nature comes through in her new hobby: she loves to take photos of fungi. Marj would like to extend what she does beyond the borders of Richmond Hill by coaching people to be able to do the same thing in their communities.