Building community, one sentence at a time

Mulberry PARC - Burnaby NewsLeader Feature
Mulberry PARC - Burnaby NewsLeader Feature
Left to right: Tutor and fellow resident, Wayne Mackie of Mulberry PARC teaching residents Ida Dong, 80, and Eva Ko, 82.

 

Excerpt reprinted courtesy of Burnaby NewsLeader

By Martha Perkins

At first, Eva Ko had five very good reasons for not learning English.

Her five children arrived one year after another starting in 1958, the year she moved to Vancouver from Hong Kong. A stay-at-home mom, she had lots to do in those early years to keep her busy. And, since her in-laws owned a grocery store in Chinatown, she was able to get most of what she needed without having to learn English.

“I work hard and I had five children, one year each,” she says. “No time, no money.”

After her husband died in 2009, she did well on her own until she broke her ankle. Rather than have to cope with stairs, at the age of 81 she moved into Mulberry PARC Retirement Residence in February 2014.

She loved everything about it except one thing—it was hard to communicate with the other residents and staff, most of whom spoke English. Since this was her new community, she wanted to feel part of it, embracing all the opportunities it offered for friendship and activity.

That’s why you’ll find her, on Tuesday and Sunday mornings, in a quiet alcove overlooking the rooftop garden. Notebooks and pencils splayed out in front of them, she joins volunteer tutor (and fellow resident) Wayne Mackie and at least two other residents for English lessons.

One of them is 80-year-old…. read the whole story.

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