After the Richmond Wellness Club program in the CF Richmond Centre mall was discontinued during the pandemic in 2020, we applied to hold drop-in Tai Chi sessions in the Minoru Centre for Active Living soon after it opened. From January 2022, we gradually moved from outdoors in the Minoru Park to indoors in the Centre as space became available in the mornings of more and more weekdays. Currently, we are holding drop-in sessions Monday to Saturday for anyone with Minoru Centre membership. The Centre charges $2 per person for each session. This fee is very affordable for some of our members who are low-income pensioners.
We have a volunteer Tai Chi exercise leader and several assistants, and we use a video with commentary showing our leader doing several sets of exercises when he is in another room or when he or the assistants are away. Our group averages thirty to forty participants. About four in five have Chinese roots, speaking Cantonese & Mandarin. The rest are from Japan, Philippines and various South American and European countries. Most members are in their seventies, with the oldest one at 93 years ‘young’. It is encouraging to see everyone’s mental and physical health improve as they progress in our program.
By holding a summer picnic with free refreshments on August 26 this year, with NSG funds, we aimed to introduce the participants to affordable Tai Chi exercises to promote their mental and physical health and to connect with friendly, caring neighbours who have a positive outlook on life. We put up posters in several nearby community centres to invite any seniors to check us out. The weather was sunny, air was fresh on our picnic day, and we had quite a few interested new members joining our daily exercises after that event. We have regular coffee gatherings, summer bus trips and other social functions that members can join if they wish.