Valerie and her mother Liz have been regular attendees at the Virtual Keiro Forums, learning about new topics and joining in on discussions each week. They say, though, these weekly sessions are more than just a time for education.

Valerie initially heard about the forums through Dexter Yuen, who is also a regular attendee, from Cerritos Baptist Church and immediately decided it was time to get her mother, Liz, registered for Zoom.

Joining Zoom

The process for Liz to get on Zoom was not the smoothest, but with assistance from Valerie’s brother, who lives with Liz, they were able to set up Zoom on her computer. Valerie then taught her how to register for Keiro Forums online via phone call. After several practices, they were ready to join the forums.

The first Virtual Keiro Forum that Liz participated in was Conversation Kitchen. Conversation Kitchen is a Keiro staff led cooking webinar discussing different conversations around food.  During this virtual forum, Lauren Yoshiyama, Keiro program associate, demonstrated how she prepares spam musubi, and participants discussed the similarities and differences of how they make the dish. “Immediately [after] my mom said, ‘let’s go out and get the spam! I want to make spam!’ So the next day we went out to the store and bought it all!” Valerie recalled.

The Joy of Learning

From then on, they attended different presentations together, and the Virtual Keiro Forums became a part of their quarantine life routine. “I look forward to the time we’re going to have the class. And most of them are very practical,” Liz said.

One of Liz’s favorite forums so far was Community Lunch with Kevin Onishi, Keiro’s director of programs, where participants discussed a Japanese term called ikigai, or purpose in life. “It was [an] open conversation while we ate and he chose a topic that I was really interested in. It was about people that live to be 100 years old. It was very interesting and I did some research on that [after]. It was very enlightening,” Liz shared.

For Valerie, the earthquake preparedness forum was a memorable one. “It’s always in the back of your mind to make sure that you’re prepared and it was very practical because they tell you what to buy,” she said.

Valerie in the Earthquake Preparedness Keiro Virtual Forum

Staying Connected

Valerie knew her mother loved to learn, but she sees other benefits from attending Keiro’s forums.  “I really appreciate that there’s things she can not only learn, but also connect with the people too. I’m glad we’re able to see the people too rather than just the presenter by themselves,” Valerie shared. “My mom just recently has a lot more time to do things because she was a full-time caregiver for my Dad for over six years, so she’s really been able now to interact and spend more time for herself. So I was really grateful to Keiro to be there for us during this time.”

Liz, as a regular now at Keiro’s events, enjoys casual conversations with Keiro staff members before the forum starts. For Valerie, “it just brings me joy to see her enjoying it.”

Applying Zoom

The knowledge of how to use Zoom expands beyond Keiro classes for Liz and Valerie. They both enjoyed this interview, with constant smiles and laughter throughout. They recently used Zoom for a Mother’s Day gathering with Valerie’s sister who lives in Hawaii, something that they were unable to do before. They now can set up these gatherings with ease because of the practice that Liz has had through the Virtual Keiro Forums. Liz uses Zoom on her computer and Valerie accesses Zoom on her iPad.

Liz has been motivated and excited to join the different forums, and looks forward to the upcoming topics. “It’s very motivating for me. It’s things that you wouldn’t do ordinarily so let’s go do this. It’s inspiring for me,” Liz smiled.

If you are interested in joining a Virtual Keiro Forum, please see our schedule here.

To learn how to use Zoom, click here.

For tips on how to teach your loved ones technology, click here.