Challenges and Looking Forward

Suyeon has seen many changes within the Korean Canadian community in Toronto while operating the For You Telecare Family Service (FUTFS) agency for almost twenty years. Suyeon recalls how “three or four years ago many Korean new comers came here [and there were] also so many visa students,” but now with a booming economy in South Korea, “[the community in Toronto] has changed.” Suyeon has witnessed a wider generation gap between older and younger Koreans, and has found it increasingly difficult to recruit new volunteers. This is disappointing for her, as she believes volunteer work and “engaging the community” are very important so new comers “do not feel isolated,” and can develop leadership and ownership in Canadian Society at large.

Close to retirement, Suyeon worries for the future succession of the For You Telecare Family Service agency. For eighteen years, Suyeon has cared for this agency like “her child,” working twelve-hour workdays: “even the board members worry about who can do this much for the agency.”

Suyeon is still unsure about her role after retirement, but is considering many different options: returning to the agency as a volunteer, opening a hospice for the ageing Korean community in Toronto, or pursuing a PhD. While she considers herself a “Torontonian,” she has not yet decided whether to follow these goals in Toronto or in South Korea.

What can be stated for certain, though, is that Suyeon will continue to use her expertise and innovative resourcefulness to support the Korean Canadian community.

Bill Shield, a supporter and friend, at his 100th birthday party, shortly before he passed away in 2016. Image courtesy of Shield Family.