Senior Spotlight: MingMing He
Mar 27, 2019 10:53AM
● By Pamela Johnson
Talk with MingMing He, and you will hear repeated mentions of words including harmony, love, whole heart, gratitude, compassion, humility and forgiveness. MingMing is a relatively new member of the Bellingham Council on Aging’s Board of Directors. She joined the Board in August 2018 after several years of observing the Senior Center from a distance.
Born close to seven decades ago in China, she has lived in Bellingham for the past 15 years. Her mother, 95, still lives in China and is visited by her daughter every year.
Following graduation from the Boston University School of Social Work, MingMing went to work as a clinical therapist but after more than a dozen years she quit her job “to focus on a spiritual path.”
“We need to learn love,” explains MingMing, “and believe in heart and soul.” She says this commitment brings strong and positive physical results. “I haven’t seen a doctor for illness in more than 10 years.”
She was slow to dive into Senior Center activities. “I joined some programs like painting and dancing,” she recalls. She noticed over the past summer how harmoniously and productively the new Center director, Josie Dutil, worked with a previous director, Laura DeMattia. She says she felt the “energy, love and joy and it made me want to participate in a deeper way.”
“Being a board member,” says MingMing, “makes me feel more settled into the Senior Center. I’ve noticed more people coming in, new programs starting, and lots more smiling faces.”
One of those programs is run by MingMing and it’s called “TOGETHER.” It’s on Tuesdays at 6pm, and includes movement, sing-a-longs, and conversation that will help attendees “gain clarity, and live a more joyful, healthy life.”
Someone at the Senior Center, in conversation with MingMing recently, said, “I can’t do anything anymore.” MingMing replied, “You can teach love.”
In addition to her work at the Center, MingMing is a senior companion at Blair House, volunteers at a local soup kitchen and runs the weekly Bingo game at Wrentham Manor. “I didn’t even play Bingo,” she smiles, “but recognized that the game provides an opportunity for residents to come together.”
And it’s this idea of coming together that drives MingMing. Developing community. Harmonizing with others. Spreading joy. This is what she hopes to do a lot more of at the Senior Center.
One final question in our 60-minute interview: “If you could go back in time and give advice to your 20-year-old self, what would it be?”
“God is listening and ready to help,” she answered.