KCR Presents GivingTuesday Stories: A series of heart-warming stories and a glance at our different programs we offer.
Lourdes moved to Kelowna from the Philippines in 2001. She is now 78, active in her church and very independent, but wanted more support to help navigate the Canadian culture and assist her with using technology to communicate with her family abroad. Lourdes was particularly interested in learning how to play the guitar like her granddaughter. Only able to formally complete grade six back in the Philippines, she worried about her ability to learn new things at her age. Through the support of KCR Community Resources, a connection was made with Chelsea.
At twenty, Chelsea and Lourdes are years apart in age but have built a bond based on a shared interest in music and their culture that transcends the fifty-year gap. “I call her Manang Lourdes. It is a term of respect for an older person. I never really had a grandmother growing up and she plays some of that role. I have been teaching her the basics of the ukulele; it is smaller and easier to hold. We have been learning how to play songs and even sang at the Christmas party here last year. Although I grew up in Canada, I have made trips to the Philippines. Lourdes’s family is from a city near where mine is from. It has helped us connect.”
Chelsea has also experienced powerful lessons from her relationship with Lourdes; lessons which will no doubt contribute to her prospective career as a nurse. “It has fueled my passion to help people, to show care, and give back. Meeting Lourdes has helped me to get out of my comfort zone and given me the gift of appreciating the things in my own life. I now better understand the value of support and the challenge of loneliness.”
Lourdes echoed the enjoyment she has found in the connection with Chelsea. “It was important to be able to learn, to play.” She praised her young friend, “Chelsea is so honest, giving, and intelligent – she is my good Samaritan. I think of her like my granddaughter. She is somebody to talk to, to ask questions of…I am so proud of her. I hope I can go to her graduation.”
These two women meet every week; their connection now extends beyond the ukulele lessons that brought them together initially. Coffee dates and the occasional lunch have been added and on the day we met, Chelsea had organized a surprise for Manang Lourdes – a cake to celebrate her birthday. Both want the relationship to continue and are confident that the heart connection they have developed will carry on into the future.
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