Since it’s May, we couldn’t resist interviewing one of our newest trainers this month: Ms. Kwongmei To, May for short! Not only is May’s name especially fitting, so is her attitude. May is all about positivity, so much so that some of her students call her “Ms. Smiley Face.”
Outside of Senior Planet from AARP, May is a volunteer Board Director of the New York Metropolitan Chapter of Information Systems Audit and Control Association and a passionate origami artist, specializing in tessellation origami – complex, repeating patterns with one sheet of paper.
How are you enjoying being a Senior planet trainer?
Becoming a trainer for Senior Planet from AARP has brought back my passion. I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of this team and teaching classes in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
“Becoming a trainer for Senior Planet from AARP has brought back my passion.”
The reason I applied to be a trainer was because it was time to give back to society. I wanted to find a career path, not a job, where I can inspire others.
How do you hope to inspire others?
When some older Chinese people talk about struggles with new technology, they say, “It’s like my arms and legs are being tied.” I’m hoping to untie their arms and legs and their mindset to be able to say, “it’s not so scary.”
I always say, “would you like to be a flamingo in a crowd of penguins or a penguin in a crowd of penguins?” Meaning – you want to be successful in life? You need to step outside your comfort zone.
My message is that you, as a person, are like a piece of paper. Depending on how you fold that piece of paper, your life path changes.
I feel that in the long run besides being a trainer, I want to be a life coach. I want to inspire those who feel that they cannot go forward. If I can, you can.
Tell us about your origami practice!
I love to do origami. I do 3D, tessellation origami.
My message is that you, as a person, are like a piece of paper. Depending on how you fold that piece of paper, your life path changes. And you have no idea what type of art piece you have made until your journey is coming to an end.
What does aging with attitude mean to you?
It means to have a positive attitude. It brings you further. It’s scientifically proven!
Know a Mandarin speaker who could use some technology tips? Send them here!
Pam Hugi is Senior Planet’s Community and Advocacy Manager. Based in Brooklyn, she is a contributing writer for this site.