When Anna Yu joined WoodGreen Community Services as an Early Childhood Educator (ECE) back in 1980, she didn’t know that she was going to gain something more than a job.
Originally from Winnipeg, Anna left her family behind to move to Toronto to study early childhood education at George Brown College. After she graduated and started at WoodGreen, her new colleagues quickly became her second family.
Anna Yu, the manager of WoodGreen’s Leslieville Child Care Centre is retiring this week after working 41 years at WoodGreen.
“I attended their bridal showers and baby showers,” said Anna. “They also witnessed my life events. Some of my colleagues attended my wedding and baby showers. And when I had a difficult life event, my colleagues were there for me.”
Fast forward 41 years and Anna, who is the manager of WoodGreen’s Leslieville Child Care Centre, is getting ready to say goodbye. This week, she is celebrating her retirement.
EXPERIENCING MANY CHANGES OVER THE YEARS AT WOODGREEN
During her decades at WoodGreen, Anna has seen a lot of changes. When she first started working at WoodGreen, it was a small organization with one building and the logo was a tree. Now, not only is the logo different, but the organization has 750 employees and multiple buildings in Toronto.
Personally, over the years, she has also experienced a lot of changes as an employee. She began her career working directly with infants and toddlers as an ECE and then moved into a managerial position. During her time at WoodGreen, she has also worked in four different child care centres, which has kept her on her toes.
“I was floating and moving around to different centres and picking up new challenges and that made it exciting,” she said.
“THEY WILL ALWAYS BE IN MY HEART.”
Anna has always had an interest in working with children. She remembers growing up in Hong Kong and taking care of young children in her neighbourhood — taking them to the park, playing with them, and even singing to them to make them fall asleep.
She gets a lot of satisfaction working with infants and toddlers and watching them grow and be able to do things on their own. Because she has worked with WoodGreen for so long, she has had the privilege of watching some of those children grow up and become parents and send their children to a WoodGreen child care centre. She is also proud of the nickname they’ve given her: “Grandma Anna”.
“Seeing the kids grow up healthy, polite, and being good kids, that’s great,” she said.
When asked if it will be hard to say goodbye, Anna’s response perfectly sums up how she feels about all the children she’s had the pleasure of teaching over the years.
“They will always be in my heart.”
Thank you Anna for your 41 years of dedication to WoodGreen. We will miss you and wish you all the best in your retirement.