You could have heard a pin drop.
All conversation stopped as heads turned toward a small glass-walled meeting room where a petite senior citizen was staging a solo performance of traditional Chinese song. Fuqin Xu sang with the clear, strong voice of a woman half her age.
Sometimes moving ahead means going back to where you started, but with new skills. Brad Peters knows about that. Two years ago, he was a learner in a job skills program. Today he’s moved to the head of the class – literally, as a facilitator in the same program.
When a young mother asked for directions at a downtown bus stop, she had no idea she was about to find a mentor, an untapped skill and a way to help her nine-year-old son discover his special talent.
All it took was connections.
One of the things people discover when they come to the UBC Learning Exchange is that learning can happen in unexpected ways, and can lead to unexpected results. This was true for members of a small group involved with a Learning Exchange program called Snap Happy.
“Volunteering is a two-way street. When you help other people, you enrich your own life ... you learn from those you teach,” says Ron Sander. Sander is a recently trained facilitator who’s helping absolute beginners learn how to use computers as part of the UBC Leaning Exchange’s Contributing Through Computers program. The program is based in the Downtown Eastside - a place the UBC Learning Exchange is proud to have called home since 1999, offering programs and tools to neighbourhood residents from its location at 612 Main Street.