A sense of home: volunteer Karen shares stories of a life in Brazil with residents

Volunteer Karen Goncalves da Fonseca has found a sense of home at Three Links. When she was a teenager, Karen lived with her grandmother in Sao Paolo, Brazil. She has such fond memories of those days that, when she moved to Vancouver, she started looking for a seniors’ program to volunteer with. She landed at Three Links Manor leading the Wednesday evening bingo program for a group of enthusiastic residents.

“I feel very comfortable here,” says Karen, “the seniors are always curious about Brazil and I like it when they ask me questions. I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile and it’s a good opportunity to practice my English.”

Now that she’s settled into life in Vancouver, Karen is studying construction estimating at BCIT. She was a Civil Engineer in Brazil and dreams of restarting her career in Vancouver and settling here permanently. She likes that it’s safe to walk around at night in Vancouver and that people are not squished like sardines on the city buses.

During her summer break from classes, Karen offered to lend a hand at Three Links Care Centre to bake cookies and chat with the residents. Over afternoon tea, the residents ask her about Brazil, her family, and what she thinks of life in Canada. Of all the places she’s visited in the world, Karen says that Vancouver is the one place that has captured her heart.