More than 30 Year Six students from All Saints College visit residents from AFME most Friday mornings as part of an intergenerational project and is proving friendship has no barriers when it comes to age.
The initiative sees the youngsters form small groups with residents to participate in conversation and a good old-fashioned chinwag.
Welfare Officer, Carena Blair, says the benefits of the partnership extend both ways, with the students and residents involved genuinely enjoying their time together and forming strong bonds.
“We’re delighted by how well our intergenerational partnership with All Saints has been received, by both the residents and students alike,” she says.
“Our residents love spending time with younger people and they’re very keen to share their hobbies, stories and life lessons with the children, and equally love hearing their ‘show and tell’ stories.
“The partnership is also a way for young people to learn from and respect the elderly in the wider community; they’ve certainly loved spending times with residents and many of them share some of the same interests, particularly reading and music.”
Participant and retired schoolteacher, Deirdre Russell, has been involved in the program for several months, initially spending time with a group of boys during term one, and then with a group of girls during the second term.
“What I love is that no two weeks are the same, and it’s very enjoyable to spend time with the students; most of them don’t have grandparents and so spending time with us elders is interesting for them,” says Deirdre.
“I’ve been asked what my favourite lollies and TV programs were as a child, and of course I’ve had to explain that I grew up during WWII, when things were strictly rationed. I think the girls in particular have enjoyed listening, and at the end of term they presented me with a beautiful box decorated in my favourite colours, which was lovely to receive.”
Helen Corr, Chaplain at All Saints agrees that the programme has become a resounding success.
“Cross generational activities are a blessing, we each learn so much from the other and it deepens our shared humanity,” Helen said.
“It gives hope to older people that the future is in good hands with this younger generation, and students are exposed to the wisdom gained from a well lived life, and perhaps most importantly this program breaks down barriers between age groups.”
Volunteers are currently being sought to help with this intergenerational activity at AFME. Please contact Carina for more details on 9311 4488.