October is Women’s History Month and to commemorate this occasion I invited Vancouver Quadra residents to share stories of notable Canadian women and show the whole country the countless ways that women have contributed to our country. We are celebrating their victories and acknowledging the enormous challenges that they overcame. We are retelling their stories and inspiring the next generation of Canadians to carry on the important work that still needs to be done to achieve gender equality.
This is the story of Ying Zhou as told by her friend and colleague Rose Wang. Ying and Rose are now both Directors on the board of the University Neighbourhoods Asssociation in Vancouver Quadra. With Ying and Rose’s permission I am re-posting this story and hope you will share it throughout your networks as a means of inspiring people, especially those new immigrants, who can help shape the future of our communities and our Nation.
The Person who has inspired me – by Rose Wang
My name is Rose Wang and I am a newly elected Resident Director of the Board of the University Neighbourhoods Association (UNA). I have lived on the UBC Campus for more than 10 years. Ying Zhou is one of the most wonderful persons I have known over this period. She inspired me and encouraged me in my process moving from an active volunteer to a community leader.
The first time I heard about Ying was in The Campus Resident newspaper in February 2012 when her profile and photo were on the first page. I was impressed by a new immigrant who could get so deeply involved in our community within 3 years of moving here. After that, I followed the news that Ying became a resident director of the UNA Board in September 2013. She was (is) a great role model for a community where more than half of the residents are newcomers to Canada.
When I became the vice-chair of the UNA Civic Engagement Committee (CEC), I began to work closely with Ying, founding Chair of CEC, on bridge-building between our “older” community members and newcomers through various programs and workshops. From my observation, Ying always works hard to break down the cultural and language barriers.
When I started becoming familiar with UNA Board issues, I realized that how much time and energy Ying has dedicated for our community. As Board Treasurer and Chair of the UNA Audit and Financial Committee, Ying advocated for a 5-year Financial Plan which plays a crucial role for the organization’s financial sustainability. This year, as a member of the UBC Neighbourhoods Taxation Working Group, Ying strongly opposed the new provincial fire protection service tax, which has an adverse impact on the community’s financial position.
As a mother of two young daughters, Ying has balanced her time between her family and commitment to the community. She was the Co-Chair of the Parent Advisory Council of the University Transition Program, through which her elder daughter, Amily Yao, went to UBC Sauder School of Business at age of 15.
I would like to share the comments that Mr. Jim Taylor, founding Chair of the UNA Board, made regarding Ying in The Campus Resident on February 2014: “Ms. Zhou, in addition to all her Board duties, she—all as a volunteer—runs the Sudoku Club, works tirelessly to help new neighbours learn about our community, is a very active member of the UNA’s Multicultural Committee and is intimately involved in our community’s new Seniors and Friends programme. She is every day making this community a better place for all of us to live in and enjoy.”
Ying’s story has inspired me very much. It will be my privilege to continue working with Ying, as a member of the UNA Board of Directors, to help shape a vibrant community in the university neighbourhoods.