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At The Helm

An Interview with Peggy Hayes

Peggy Hayes, Executive Director 

When did you come to The Helm

I “took the helm” of The Helm in February 2018…just celebrated my 2nd anniversary!

Where were you prior?

I spent the previous 20 years working in retail mall management doing marketing and sponsorship at two large area malls (Twelve Oaks and Fairlane Town Center).  Before that I was in the nonprofit health care sector doing marketing and public relations for two hospitals (Crittenton Hospital in Rochester and McLaren Hospital in Flint) when both were single stand-alone hospitals.  I started my career at the American Red Cross.

Why did you decide to come to The Helm?

I was at point in my career that I wanted to make a change and go back to my nonprofit roots.  I learned about The Helm (then Services for Older Citizens) and thought it was a perfect fit between my skill set and going back to helping people.  It also brought me back to the Grosse Pointe area…I was born at the former Bon Secours Hospital here.

What is your favorite part about what you do?

There is a real feeling of making a difference in the world working here.  The team at The Helm are all so giving of themselves and it’s like a family here with staff and our guests.

If you had resources…

We have so many great plans for The Helm and our guests…we would love to build a Men’s Workshop and we’re exploring a bike share program.  And we’ve added so many interesting classes and programs over the past year for every interest and every age.  We can’t wait to get back to work!

How has pandemic impacted you? What essential services are you still providing?

Of course, we had to close our doors to the public and postpone all our in-center programming for the time being.  We have also reduced our hours; we are open from 9 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday for the time being.

Luckily, we are still able to provide important services to the community even now.  With the help of dedicated volunteers we have continued delivering Meals on Wheels to all those in our service area.  We continue to offer $5 lunches (carry out only), we offer Information and Assistance referral services (phone only), Medicare counseling (phone only), medical equipment loan (by phone and pick up only).  I can’t thank my team and the volunteers who continue to provide these services (while strictly following safety guidelines and social distancing protocols, of course).  The PAATS buses are still running as well and currently at no charge for those needing rides to medical appointments and other necessary travel.

Thanks to those who have ready reached out to us to help.

What is your biggest need?

Since we have had to cancel or postpone some of our early season fundraising events and classes, which provide some income, our biggest need is financial.  We need our supporters to make financial contributions, in any amount, so we can continue to provide these services which so many depend upon. 

Contributions can be made by credit card through our website, www.helmlife.org or can be mailed to: Helm Donations, 158 Ridge Road, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI  48236

The Helm is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, non-residential senior community center dedicated to making the Grosse Pointe's and Harper Woods areas a great place to grow older. The organization, open to all citizens and their caregivers in the Grosse Pointe's and Harper Woods, offers programs and services including Meals on Wheels, transportation (through the PAATS program), exercise classes, fellowship and social gatherings, minor home repair services, Meals on Wheels, tax preparation, transportation -- everything to keep older adults informed and engaged./p>

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