"My husband Peter and I are from Taiwan. We both speak Mandarin and Taiwanese," says Karin Han, a resident at Eagle's Trace, an Erickson Senior Living community in West Houston, Tex. "We have some Chinese neighbors who speak Mandarin as well. It's great being able to speak our native language!"
Across the 72-acre campus, Mandarin and Taiwanese are just two of the 22 languages spoken by residents and staff members.
Eagle's Trace, a welcoming community that celebrates the many heritages, religions, and languages represented by its members, is a proud advocate of inclusivity and belonging. Through year-round educational sessions and cultural events, the community ensures that residents feel seen, heard, and free to be themselves.
This cultural immersion is a reflection of the broader community, as Houston tops the list of the most diverse cities in the country, according to a recent WalletHub ranking.
Inspired by the community's cultural opportunities, Peter and Karin signed up for a Spanish language class soon after they moved in July 2018.
"We are always eager to learn more," says Karin. "A fellow resident taught the course. It was really fun."
To share their love of the community's inclusive environment with others, the couple serves as ambassadors, sharing insights and personal experiences with prospective residents.
Karin, a member of the welcome committee, meets with retirees who recently moved to Eagle's Trace.
"Welcoming new residents is rewarding," says Karin, who's glad that her peers are able to enjoy the same vibrant, engaging lifestyle.
When they're not busy expanding their repertoire of languages or chatting with newcomers, you'll find Peter and Karin playing mah-jongg.
They also enjoy walking around campus--an activity that Karin says is enhanced by the recent opening of Cardinal Run and Mockingbird Plaza, the newest residence buildings at Eagle's Trace. They'll sometimes run into other residents of Chinese heritage and stop to speak in their native language.
"It's such a beautiful campus. We love to walk here," she says.
The range of cultural events offered at Eagle's Trace that Peter and Karin enjoy are often planned by the community's diversity and belonging committee.
"We aim to educate people about others' cultures," says resident Pat Osborne, co-chair of the diversity and belonging committee.
She continues, "To illustrate the components of diversity, we found a picture of an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg represents race, religion, and other broad differences between people. But underwater, we see the depths of identity. What was your career? What kind of books do you like to read? What are your hobbies? There's so much below the surface."
To touch on that deeper understanding of identity, the diversity and belonging committee created a video program called Our Tales. Each episode focused on a different person or persons and their experiences.
One episode featured nurses and their challenging careers, while another focused on grandparents and what their nurturing role means to them. Yet another episode featured women talking about how they started in their professions and how their careers evolved.
Another educational event was a "book study." Participants read a book introducing them to a specific culture. After finishing the book, participants met for a group discussion about the book, as well as to ask each other questions about their own cultures.
"It was definitely an enlightening event," Pat says.
An immersive experience
Year after year, the committee's Diversity and Inclusion Fair continues to be extremely popular among residents and staff members.
Booths line the venue, each one manned by a resident or employee who represents a different country or heritage. Visitors peruse displays of cultural attire or artifacts, sample ethnic foods, and watch performances that are designed to enlighten as well as entertain.
There's also a representation of religious diversity at the booths, educating visitors about various faiths throughout the world.
"The purpose of the event is to recognize and highlight the amazing diversity at Eagle's Trace," says Pat. "Residents and staff work so hard to design their booths."
You belong here
At Eagle's Trace, backgrounds intertwine to create a community that promotes understanding and belonging. It's not just a place to live, but a home where each voice is celebrated and embraced.
To learn more about affordable, independent senior living at Eagle's Trace, request your free brochure to get the scoop on amenities, floor plans, and so much more.