There is nothing random about the acts of kindness Yuka Ozawa performs. Her kind and caring gestures are done with thought and intention. That’s not to say that she doesn’t lend a hand at the last minute or unexpectedly too, it’s just that she believes in the power of planned kindness.
“Even if it’s a little act of kindness, do what you can do,” Yuka says. “It can mean so much to others.”
Yuka has been making Banff become a friendlier, more welcoming place since she moved to the mountains permanently in 1998. Born in the countryside in Japan, Yuka dreamed of travelling from a young age, and this dream eventually took her to places like England and France, where she learned the languages while pursuing an education in tourism. This pursuit of travel and learning languages is what first brought Yuka to Banff in 1994.
True to form, once Yuka settled in town she began to find ways to integrate into Canada, like she did in England and France. Combining her passion for acts of kindness and her desire to become a part of the community, she began volunteering.
“Volunteerism gave me a sense of community and it really helped me develop into a Canadian,” she says. “My sense of community gave me support that I now try to give to others.”
(Definitely not a complete list, but) Yuka has volunteered with the Banff Volunteer Centre, Precipice Theatre, Bow Valley Literacy Program, and with Girl Guides. She helped coordinate the Banff Japanese community’s Canada Day float for several years and she continues to run workshops on the importance of cultural diversity when looking for volunteers.
Her love of the outdoors, including her passion for environmental causes, has also made Banff her home — as she and her husband, Ed, enjoy camping, hiking, biking, canoeing, and skiing with their kids, Beck and Alice. (Yuka can be spotted riding up the hill to Valley View on her custom made electric bike.)
“Yuka is a positive person. She doesn’t let much stop her when she decides to do something,” friend Nan Hughes Poole says. “Yuka has a terrific sense of humour and is fun to be around. She is empathic and continues to explore her many passions. Yuka is part of the fabric of Banff.”