George Yoshida’s vast accomplishments as a volunteer prove a thirst for knowledge does not diminish with age. At 78 years old, Yoshida says he is still learning.
“All my volunteer work is a learning experience,” he said. “I don’t limit myself to any single volunteer effort. They are all very interesting.”
A Korean War veteran and Hawaiian native, Yoshida worked as a clinical social worker for 35 years at Denver’s National Jewish Hospital. He retired in 1979. Decades of service and dedication to his community followed.
From helping launch an Asian Film Festival to packing up medical supplies for developing countries in need at Project C.U.R.E., Yoshida’s efforts are diverse. He and his wife have volunteered for the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival for 10 years. In 2009, he co-chaired the festival’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of Hawaii’s statehood.
Yoshida was also a community reporter for Asian American Times and refers many articles to Asian Avenue as one of the magazine’s advisors. He said he spends a lot of time on the computer keeping people updated on diverse activities in the community. No matter what activity, Yoshida said he tries to spread the word.
“Diversity has really kept my interests going,” Yoshida said.
Many of his volunteer interests stem from his work as a clinical social worker. Since he spent so much time with adolescents and families, Yoshida said he acquired a passion for helping kids make something of themselves. He thinks helping them develop proficient reading, writing and verbal skills is important to success.
“You need to establish your identity and be proud of your heritage,” he said.
Yoshida was awarded the Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award and is now active on the committee that selects yearly honorees from the Denver metropolitan area. He is looking forward to the celebration of the 35th year of the Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award in December.
“I am very proud to be a Japanese American and have been very influenced by my upbringing and cultural heritage,” Yoshida said. “It has taken me where I am today.”
Yoshida is the father of four and the grandfather of five. He plans to continue volunteering as long as he can. In addition to enjoying the Colorado outdoors, he likes to garden and watch the TV show “Hawaii Five-O.” He lives in Highlands Ranch with his wife, Helen.