Industry: Weight Training
Title: Coach, YMCA, Notre-Dame de Grâce
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Ralph Harris has been in the physical fitness industry for over 50 years, 47 of them spent as a YMCA volunteer.
Ralph was born in Parris Gap, Westbury Road, St. Michael, Barbados on February 23rd, 1933. As a teen, he developed a love of weight training at Apollo and ACME gyms and soon went on to win the junior and senior Olympic Powerlifting Championships in Barbados. In 1960, he left Barbados to do farm work in Florida for almost 3 years before returning to the island, and finally emigrating to Montreal, QC in 1963. He worked at the Jewish Hospital of Hope all the while continuing to train while working as a 22-year volunteer at the downtown Montreal YMCA. He then left to join the Westmount YMCA for 3 years. When they closed the gym for renovations, he joined the Notre-Dame de Grasse YMCA and has been there for over 22 years.
3rd place in the Quebec Powerlifting Championship (1975); 1st place in the Montreal YMCA Power Lifting Championship (1976); won the Montreal Power Lifting Championship (1977).HonoursToday at age 77, Ralph is still the weight training coach at the Notre-Dame de Grâce, YMCA and is teaching youth and young adults about life skills while strengthening their minds and bodies. He’s noticed that once the kids have a belief in themselves and a plan of action at the gym, getting them to translate that to their academics and home-life is very straight-forward. Once they receive some care and guidance at the gym, they go off to accomplish many things in life. Ralph pays it forward with these youth, since he never forgot what was done for him when he was a teen. He has learned that we all need mentors; mentors help shorten the path to success and they show belief in you before you may have that belief in yourself.
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