Sometimes in traditional Guatemalan dress, always in bright colours, and always a bright, cheerful presence — that’s Paula Juliana Ovalle, a 16-year volunteer with the Spanish Outreach Program.
“I love to be here,” says the 82-year-old, who makes the long trip from North Vancouver every Wednesday and with the skill of long experience, prepares the lunch-time salads.
That’s just her official role. Then there’s the rest of what she does.
“She brings people together, whatever their age, she encourages them to enjoy each other,” says Program Coordinator Marina Sanz Vara. You see it as Paula moves about the room, exchanging smiles, a touch, a few quick words with everyone she passes.
“She’s a happy person,” says Marina, “and she makes a big contribution.”
Story and picture by Penny Williams