Local Chinese association attracting younger members
The Essex County Chinese Canadian Association is wrapping up a new initiative intended to teach youth about their culture and traditions.
"We know the importance of [the] younger generation, to carry on the good work. We have laid the groundwork," said Catherine Fung, one of the board directors members who has been teaching the program. "We feel the younger [kid] should have the knowledge of their roots."
With the population of the Chinese association getting older, the group created a six-week summer program to keep young people connected to their heritage through art, crafts, music and dancing.
Recent university grad, Jeremy Huang, helped organize the programming.
"A lot of parents try to have their children go back to China and immerse in it, but if it's not for a long time you lose it," he explains. "So you must have a community here to remind them. [It's] a sense of belonging," he said.
He said he would have benefited from a program like this when he was younger.
"When I was here, I never was a participant of the organization ... I feel deeply regretful of that," he said. "Had I known earlier, if there were more youth programs like this, I'd be really glad to attend it. My life here would be much more enriched. I'd feel more of a connection to Canadian society as well."
That's what Fung said she noticed as summer is coming to an end.
"When I come and see their interest, it really touched me and I hope from what they learned here during the summer camp will carry them further," she said.
Fung said many parents are happy their children are speaking more Mandarin and Cantonese at home.
Organizers said based on the positive reaction the want to run the program again.