Keeping a Promise in China
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Keeping a Promise in China

Just a few months after their first event for seniors, our team in China is furthering the cause once again

Back in November of 2010, our team in China participated in a surprisingly enlightening community service event at a nursing home for the elderly. They learned a great deal about the difficulties that senior citizens face in their country—primarily because of a negative social stigma surrounding those who don't have family to support them in their later years. "We realized that it is not easy to further the cause of senior care in China," says Elaine Yau, our Regional General Manager in China. "Its development requires much more concern from society as a whole. Giving a happy later life to elders is the responsibility of everyone."

Since then, the team has organized two additional events to help brighten the lives of seniors. First, the staff of our Beijing office celebrated the Year of the Rabbit with elders of Donghan Village. And in late February, 21 members of our Shanghai team worked together to clean up a nursing home in the Caoyang neighborhood, which regularly hosts Grand Circle travelers for meals with local families.

The participants were in high spirits as they distributed healthy snacks of high-calcium biscuits and soy milk to nursing home residents—one of whom is 105 years old. They also spent time cleaning the facilities and providing welcome company and conversation. Elaine received many positive comments from the nursing home staff, including the director of the nursing home, who said, "It's seldom to see so many young people here. You brought much fun to the elders."

Many of the participants revealed to Elaine that they had fun during the event. "It reminds me of our childhood," said one, "when we used to clean up the school with our classmates. The group also appreciated getting to know a few local vendors, who also took time out of their schedules to participate—specifically, representatives of Yafan Longmen Hotel, Bund Riverside Hotel, Shanghai Carpet Factory, and the Caoyang Foreign Affairs office. Elaine gives special recognition to All Seasons China, Grand Circle's ground operator, for helping to coordinate the event.

But despite the lighthearted tone of the day, the group never forgot the true purpose of their visit. "We will all get old," said one participant. "It was a very meaningful activity to spend time with the seniors…. It's not only helping the others, but also helping ourselves."

Featured in our March 2011 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.