The Language of Community with Kevin Wong

Kevin Wong can often be found playing snooker in the billiards room at the Kerrisdale Community Centre. “The snooker table is an important part of social interaction here at the community centre,” he explained. “It gives quite a few of us an opportunity to connect on several levels – playing the game, the banter and conversation with the other players, and knowing that you can always find someone here to shoot a game. It is an important part of the day for many of us.”

Kevin is also a part of a Mandarin exchange, where he and a group of friends meet in the Seniors Centre to help people learn English or Mandarin. “It is a two-way street,” he said. “There are people who want to learn English and others, like me, who want to learn Mandarin. So, we help each other to learn.” The group doesn’t just contain themselves to the community centre; they have become friends and see each other outside of the language classes, including going hiking quite often. He revealed: “The community centre provides the foundation for us to make real friends. It is an easy place to meet people, to learn something new, and to find things in common.”

Kevin also helps those interested in mahjong to learn the complex game. “It is a fun game once you know it, but it can be difficult to understand in the beginning. I help people to learn the basics so that they can play with others here at the centre.”

“It might seem obvious, but the community centre really is about ‘community.’ There are so many things that a person can do here to meet new friends, to socialize and interact, to learn, and to be a part of the community. It is a friendly, welcoming place and we are proud of that.” Kevin added: “No matter what your interests – some might come here for a specific purpose, others to find someone to talk to – whatever people are looking to do here, they can find it. It is place where we all belong.”

What Kevin Wants the Park Board to Know

“Our community centre is not just a place for fitness or other classes. It is an important part of our social lives and we want to keep it the way it is. Our concern is what the changes will be if the Park Board takes over the operations and how people will be impacted as a result of the change. People usually are afraid of changes, especially when everything is running well at the moment. We like this community centre and we would like to keep it the way it is.”