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WS YOU 177
Dylan Tan and Jean Thomas
Stouffville Creek
Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library
Stouffville Sun-Tribune
Ontario Trillium Foundation
United Way Toronto & York Region
Congratulations to the WS YOU 177
winning story in the Listen to a Life Contest!

Dylan Tan is 13 years old and a student in grade 8 at Wendat Village Public School. He interviewed 83-year-old Jean Thomas,
a long-time resident of Whitchurch-Stouffville.

Dylan enjoys art and drawing, and aspires to be an artist. He also likes storytelling and writing, and found it interesting to do a biography with Jean to get a different perspective on life.

Dylan entered the contest with his classmates after teacher Erin Stanojev shared stories of her grandparents. Many students don't have grandparents nearby (Dylan's grandparents live in Malaysia and he hasn't seen them for many years). Students wanted to make connections with local elders to find out more about their lives and life lessons. The afternoon of sharing was a memorable experience for young and old.

Dylan wins a $250 gift card from a major retailer courtesy of Stouffville Creek Retirement Residence. He and Jean both receive a framed award certificate featuring the winning story…

"The constant heat of the sun on my face, the soft soil underneath. Another day at the farm, another day with the sun."

Her motivation when she was young was simple: maybe if she works hard enough, she'll be rewarded. She has faith in God; it was one of the things that motivated her, a reason to work for more than what was needed.

Jean Thomas is now 83, still persevering with a family of her own.

When you're going through life so fast, you start having regrets. For her, it was not having enough time for people – not having enough time to cherish each person's thoughts and feelings.

She grew up with four brothers; their relationship was not as strong as she wanted it to be. She really wanted to know each one, get to know their story. Since she was on a long and arduous journey, there didn't seem to be time for many of these things.

Her life motto is, "Sharing and Caring." She wants to be there for others, which she has accomplished. Throughout her life she was willing to learn, always willing to share. She played piano, baseball, sang in a choir, volunteered for work. But there never seemed to be enough time.

Everyone is on a different chapter of their life, but in the end it's all the same: the book comes to an end. There's no such thing as an everlasting book. So, before it ends, make the last page exciting. Life is basically a story; what's yours about?

In the words of author Stephen Covey, "Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important."

Jean Thomas is a person with a story – ready to take the time to share it with you.

WS YOU 177 Contest