Home closes gen­er­a­tion gap

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By SOPHIE LEGGETT

For the past six years, res­i­dents at Longview Rest Home in Tawa have been look­ing for­ward to the vis­its from chil­dren at St Fran­cis Xavier School.

The year 6 pupils from the Tawa school are part of the Young Vin­nies ini­tia­tive for the St Vin­cent de Paul So­ci­ety, and visit the re­tire­ment home ev­ery sec­ond week.

Mar­lene Bowles, re­cre­ation of­fi­cer at Longview, said there was only one group of pupils when the pro­gramme started, but pop­u­lar­ity quickly grew, and there were now two groups.

‘‘The chil­dren hear about it and are keen to put their hands up when they have the chance to take part,’’ she said.

Bowles said the vis­its brought ful­fill­ment to the pupils and the res­i­dents, and she was par­tic­u­larly pleased the res­i­dents were able to con­tinue to pass on their wis­dom.

Longview recog­nises the Eden phi­los­o­phy, which aims to lessen bore­dom and lone­li­ness by cre­at­ing a vi­brant en­vi­ron­ment.

Bowles said the chil­dren’s vis­its cer­tainly con­trib­uted to that, be­cause they re­newed the spir­its of the res­i­dents.

‘‘Some­times the chil­dren might have dif­fi­cul­ties talk­ing to res­i­dents at first, but [ the res­i­dents] help them with con­fi­dence and learn­ing,’’ she said.

Bowles said the vis­its in­volved ac­tiv­i­ties like arts and crafts, gar­den­ing, and of­ten just good con­ver­sa­tions.

She re­mem­bered a par­tic­u­larly spe­cial visit last Christ­mas.

‘‘We got the chil­dren all geared up singing Christ­mas car­ols, and they went around all the cor­ri­dors and sang for res­i­dents who might not have been able to eas­ily get out of bed.’’

Last year the group com­piled an oral his­tory book, af­ter sev­eral months of in­ter­view­ing the res­i­dents about their lives, and each res­i­dent and child re­ceived a copy.

Longview res­i­dent and for­mer teacher Joan Suther­land said she felt as if she was teach­ing again.

‘‘The chil­dren’s vis­its keep me con­nected to the world,’’ she said.

Ayse Kekec, 10, said the main rea­son she likes vis­it­ing the home was be­cause her grand­par­ents didn’t live in New Zealand, so talk­ing to the res­i­dents made her feel happy.

Ayse’s res­i­dent buddy, Eileen Tay­lor, said she thought the chil­dren were lovely and very well be­haved, and en­joyed their dis­cus­sions.

‘‘We talk about jew­ellery, things we did at school . . . you name it, they’ve asked us,’’ she said.

Dorothy Jansen, youth co­or­di­na­tor for the St Vin­cent de Paul So­ci­ety, said the ini­tia­tive had been a great suc­cess.

She said the pupils also helped in other ar­eas of the com­mu­nity by mak­ing gifts for Refugee Ser­vices to pass on to new fam­i­lies and as­sist­ing at Rid­ing for the Dis­abled.

The pupils’ work was recog­nised by Pres­by­te­rian Sup­port Cen­tral, when they won a prize in the best vol­un­teer ini­tia­tive sec­tion of the Qual­ity and In­no­va­tion Awards.

They re­ceived a dig­i­tal cam­era, vouch­ers and a gift bas­ket.

‘‘About a month ago Dorothy and I went to the school to present the award,’’ Bowles said.

‘‘ It was the most in­spir­ing as­sem­bly I’ve been to . . . the whole school is very sup­port­ive.’’

Photo: SOPHIE LEGGETT

Wel­come vis­i­tors: Top, from left, Mar­lene Bowles, Dorothy Jansen. Mid­dle, from left, Ruth Adams, Eileen Tay­lor, Joan Suther­land, and Eileen Her­riot. Bot­tom, from left, Jeshel Ne­po­mu­ceno, Ayse Kekec, Is­abelle Southon, and Troy Hous­ton.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.