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Tuesday, January 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Powerful prose: Youth essays show love for elders

Twelve-year-old GaoShoua Moua wrote an essay about how much her grandmother, Thia Thao, left, means to her. She also wrote that her grandmother teaches the younger members of their Hmong family about their culture. Moua is wearing a traditional outfit, often worn on holidays, such as the Hmong New Year. (Jesse Tinsley)
Twelve-year-old GaoShoua Moua wrote an essay about how much her grandmother, Thia Thao, left, means to her. She also wrote that her grandmother teaches the younger members of their Hmong family about their culture. Moua is wearing a traditional outfit, often worn on holidays, such as the Hmong New Year. (Jesse Tinsley)

Fostering relationships between youth and elders is an important mission for the Senior Assistance Fund of Eastern Washington, which has an essay writing contest each year for area students. In May, 60 students wrote about their grandparents or a special older person in their life. The winners were chosen this summer.

GaoShoua Moua, who wrote the essay as a sixth-grader at Arlington Elementary last spring and now attends Garry Middle School, won for her tribute to her grandmother, Thia Thao, a Hmong refugee who lives with her family.

Lynn Kimball, the director of Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington, surprised GaoShoua in July when she presented the award and Silverwood Theme Park tickets to her during Thao’s birthday party and blessing ceremony.

“It was wonderful,” said GaoShoua’s mother, Mai Yang.

Kimball helped judge the essays.

“Children have a way of expressing love and appreciation so simply but so eloquently,” Kimball said. “In GaoShoua’s essay, I liked how she expressed all the ways her grandmother impacted her life and how she appreciates her positive example.”

The other winners were Aaron Rogers, third-grader at Brentwood Elementary; Mason Mischke, fifth-grader at Logan Elementary; Maria Wendt, fifth-grader at Logan Elementary; and Jerry Koontz, sixth-grader at the Washington Academy of Arts and Technology.

By GaoShoua Moua

Dedicated to my Grandma Thia Thao

I believe that my 82-year-old grandma is very special because she has many great qualities that help my family and me to have a happy and fulfilling life. She is so kind-hearted, persevering and helpful.

My grandma is very loving and caring. Whenever I come home from an after-school practice, my grandma always asks me if I am hungry and then would make me a PB and J sandwich.

Even though I will sometimes get impatient with her, she is still there for me. For example, every morning before my sister and I leave for school, my grandma always hugs us and say good-bye. If my grandma sees someone crying or unhappy, she will come to them, talk with them and get them feeling better.

Even through her old age and struggles, my grandma still perseveres in being kind and helpful. She is often outside, whether it is 70 degrees out, you will find her in the garden or sitting down to pull the weeds, even while she may experience pain and aches.

She is not only helpful to me, she finds ways to be helpful to my whole family. Sometimes we may take her for granted. She still attempts to help do the dishes, help with folding laundry or sweeping the floor. It takes her a longtime but she still does not give up. This is a great lesson she has taught me – to not give up.

I admire that my grandma gives me little lessons about different Hmong works and how to speak Hmong. She does not want us to lose our culture and she always encourages us to be proud to be Hmong.

I love my grandma because she makes me feel safe, loved and cared about. It would be hard to imagine life without my grandma.

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