While living at Tapestry, our residents stay active in their local community and volunteering is one of the most rewarding ways to do that. Someone who has contributed to the community by volunteering her entire life is Nona, a resident at Tapestry at Arbutus Walk who recently received an honorary lifetime membership for outstanding service to the Kitsilano Community Centre Association. The award, which was recently presented at the annual general meeting, is only the sixth to ever be presented. The award recognizes Nona’s 21 years of volunteerism, including as a board director.
Nona says she started volunteering at a very young age – something that was encouraged by her family as she grew up first in smaller settlements and towns (including Westwold and Kamloops) before moving to the Vancouver area. “In these small towns, everyone volunteered –you just had to work together and we shared what we had with others,” Nona says.
Nona first volunteered at the Kitsilano Community Centre in 2003 after retiring from her career as a teacher. While there is a long list of community centre programs and events that Nona spearheaded and supported over her years as a volunteer, she is probably best known for running a multicultural program for seniors that celebrated 164 cultures.
Nona and her team of more than 50 volunteers offered five events each month under the program including cooking, dance and craft classes, and a monthly complimentary lunch. There were also regular presentations on other countries, with speakers from the country’s consulate and from travel professionals or from local seniors who had immigrated to Canada. And seniors from all over the Lower Mainland, not just the local neighbourhood, attended the program.
“Nona was the driving force behind the seniors’ multicultural program,” says Arlene Brown, a director of and treasurer for the community centre board. “She was instrumental in keeping the program alive after the provincial grant funding ended, with some financial support from the board.”
Nona also ran a book club with materials from the Vancouver Public Library and – an avid photography buff herself – she also offered a free photography class.
It’s clear from a quick look through Nona’s scrapbook that she has a lifetime of achievements to celebrate. She was also notably a recipient of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Volunteer Award for ongoing and outstanding volunteer work for the people and community of Vancouver Quadra.
Nona acknowledges she had plenty of help along the way. In addition to her volunteer helpers at the community centre, Nona says, “I couldn’t have done all of this without the help of the staff, the support from the board, and the funding.”
Nona also says she’s made many friends throughout her years of community involvement. And while she has many favourite sayings, one that resonates with her many years of volunteer work is, “My life is an open book. I try to fill every page with as many memories as I can.”
At Tapestry, we support an active and healthy lifestyle by ensuring our culture is aligned to the 7 Dimensions of Wellness. Volunteering is a wonderful way to stay connected and to keep your mind engaged.
If you are looking to join a vibrant community of seniors who are living life to the fullest, please contact us. We would be pleased to host you for lunch and a tour.