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SSW- Gerontology student Bo Li stands with her mother in the kitchen of LaSalle Park Retirement Community, where the two are making dumplings

Gerontology student teaching Chinese culture and traditions to retirement community

Newsroom authorby Jon KuiperijMar 15, 2024

Social Service Worker - Gerontology
 first-year student Bo Li is bringing the world to older adults who may not be able to go out to explore it.

During her winter semester practicum at LaSalle Park Retirement Community in Burlington, Ont., Li — an international student from Beijing — has overseen several interactive activities that teach participants about Chinese culture and traditions. She taught residents and staff how to make dumplings and paper lanterns for the retirement community's recent Lunar New Year celebrations, has engaged assisted living residents in a Chinese zodiac memory game, and plans to lead a travelogue about Beijing to demonstrate the city's most popular sights and attractions.

"Many of our residents are no longer able to travel, so initiatives like this are a way for them to see and learn new things, or to reminisce about experiences they've already had," says Angela Blackwood, manager of LaSalle Park's recreational programming. "I have been so impressed by Bo's confidence. She was organizing everything on her own within a few weeks of starting her practicum with us."

"Making dumplings is one of the most important family activities for Chinese celebrations of the Lunar New Year, so I wanted to not only spread the food culture but also help older adults experience the fun of making dumplings," adds Li, whose mother joined in the Lunar New Year celebration during her recent visit to Canada.

"Leading these events has played to my strengths, helped me adapt to the practicum more quickly and given me practice organizing activities and developing my language skills."

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