Seniors are coming together to learn the accordion every Tuesday at The Salvation Army’s Flushing, N.Y., Corps, but Lieutenant HyeokJun Kang says they’re getting much more than music.
“Many friendships have been formed and memories made through the program,” says Kang, the assistant corps officer. “Each participant helps one another grow creatively through learning new pieces every week.”
Kang says the accordion class meets at the corps community center Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon with teacher Soondo Jo, a soldier at the corps. Kang, who is still learning the instrument, helps out and believes regular participation in such programs is the most effective way for seniors to maintain and improve mental and physical health.
“For seniors participating in the corps programs and our local community, it is nearly a surefire method to enhance their social life, general health, and quality of life,” Kang says. “In that sense, the accordion class motivates our local Korean community seniors.”
The seniors enjoy playing the accordion at Christmas during kettle season and at occasional small concerts. The classes began last September and Kang says the performances are a “positive motivation” for seniors, who are often searching for community.
“I think they showed that accordion classes can be rewarding and improve your quality of life,” Kang says. “It taught me that age has nothing to do with activities for God. And with the success of that class, I plan to continue to increase programming for the local community.”
Kang, who is from South Korea, has been able to connect with the seniors on a “more personal level” since most of them speak Korean.
“At the Flushing Corps, we focus on loving the people who come through our doors,” Kang says. “It feels like a big family here. Our spiritual ministries are what we’re known for, but in the coming months we plan to expand our social services to provide a wider range of opportunities to assist Flushing locals.
“I just feel blessed to be a blessing to others here at The Salvation Army. I love my job.”