The first in a series of articles that give us insight into the folks who serve on our Board (without pay!). This month, Noel Chrisman shares part of his story.
I first came to South Park in the mid-90s. In 1995, I began teaching community health nursing (CHN) to graduate and undergraduate nursing students from the UW. CHN is a health approach that uses community organizing to help communities to promote the health of their citizens. We started to work with the senior center near the end of the decade. Thus, the South Park Senior Center is a community agency very close to my heart.
Over the years (even after I retired in 2017), students partnered with the center. A few projects included evaluating the nutrition of meals, helping to develop the Vietnamese dinner night, creating the raised beds at Marra Farm, and organizing health evaluations.
After I retired, Dagmar Cronn invited me to join the Board of Directors of South Park Senior Citizens. I was amazed at the amount of growth from the 90’s. Finally in the 2000’s, the city started paying attention to the small immigrant neighborhood and one of its premier institutions, the senior center. Over the last five years, the organization has grown a lot.
Very impressive has been the growth of the Vietnamese cohort and recently the Cambodian cohort. Chanthy Luouth, the Cambodian woman who serves on the board and is the liaison with the Cambodian seniors, invited me to attend some of their Monday evening events now that gathering restrictions have lessened. The main event seems to be just being together. But the fun really lies in karaoke. A professional couple leads the singing on some occasions and member elders do this on other occasions. And that’s the time for dancing! Even I have been coaxed on to the floor.