By Peggy Chapman
Northwest Asian Weekly
There is a valuable resource for seniors in the Asian American community that many might not be aware of.
Club Bamboo, part of the Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS), offers meals, activities, medical referrals, and even haircuts. The Center’s intent is to provide services to low-income and limited English-speaking adults in a comfortable environment where seniors can engage with their peers, participate in cultural activities, and receive assistance and referrals about medical issues that might be difficult to understand. There is also access to job training, transportation help, housing assistance, and English language classes.
The club/program originated as a senior lunch program in 2008 but a grant from the city now allows the initiative to become a full-fledged program that operates 9a.m.-5p.m. every day. With the funding ACRS was able to hire a full-time coordinator and a senior nutrition and assistance program manager.
While there are many social services offered, Program Director Gary Tang says members prefer to consider it more as a community center, where seniors can gather and not be deterred by the stigma of being a “senior” center. Artwork by local artists and an open environment were intended to contribute to this initiative. The club itself is in a gym, but the lively open feel, with club members participating in a yoga class, eating, talking, even singing, does not make it feel like it is just a gym; it is a community center. Friends and strangers gather around tables; conversations in different languages take place.
Alongside the popular nutritionist-crafted meals (a suggested, but not required $2.50 donation), the list of activities the club/community center offers includes yoga, table tennis, Vietnamese stick exercise, Tai Chi, Qi-Gong, karaoke, art classes, creative movementclasses, and even line and ballroom dancing. The list of activities offered is comprehensive and impressive.
Club Bamboo’s soft opening was in February, and it has already garnered 350-plus members. The grand opening will take place May 28th, starting at noon. There will be lunch, a language station, and a showcase of all the activities offered.
Membership for Club Bamboo is only 10 dollars a year and the only eligibility requirements are to be 50-plus years old. (end)
Peggy Chapman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.