News & Events

Age barriers continue to fall

April 15, 2018

OCAV’s Rushall Park residents and neighbouring Fitzroy High School have once again embarked on the intergenerational project that was a highlight of the school’s VCAL curriculum last year.


The 12 VCAL students have been matched with residents at Rushall Park and several interviews were conducted in term one. The project storyboards will be completed in the coming weeks as part of the Year 12 students’ Work Related Skills unit.


Sandra Dickins, the school’s VCAL Teacher and Pathways and Community Leader, said the Intergenerational Project, first done last year, was such a success that both organisations were very keen to partner again.


“OCAV and Fitzroy High School are geographically very close, yet we have historically had little connection. This project is a wonderful partnership that not only supports the VCAL students in an important unit of work, it offers very valuable life experiences for the teenagers and the OCAV residents,” Sandra said.


“Many young people now, for a variety of reasons, have very little contact with older people. Some have no contact. It’s one of the things that make this project so important. It’s also challenging for most of the students to try and create a connection with an older person they meet for the first time; some of them were terrified.”


Most of the VCAL students will go on to do a TAFE course or move into the workforce where communication skills are important. The intergenerational project demands the student spend time with an OCAV resident over a period of weeks, listens to their story and communicates what they have heard via the story boards.


Stories of various residents and students will be featured on the website throughout the year. Bernard and Jean Pidd, who are featured in this newsletter (April 2018) impressed Alex Mottershead with the story of how they came to Rushall Park after surviving the February 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Kinglake. The couple also survived the Hobart bushfires in February 1967, which destroyed their home.


Sandra said the students were ‘disgruntled’ at first about having to participate in this year’s Intergenerational Project, but she saw a dramatic change in their attitude after the interviews with OCAV residents began. She credits a lot of the success of the project to the thoughtful ‘matching’ of students and residents by OCAV’s Gail Field.


“I have noticed a change in this year’s stories which I think reflects an added layer of thought by the students. They are interviewing the residents, listening to what they have to say and then finding things they have in common. They are weaving some of themselves into the project. I think the students want to impress the OCAV residents,” Sandra said.

The Intergenerational Project will be exhibited at Rushall Park sometime this year. Sandra is also hoping for a community exhibit in North Fitzroy to showcase the work of the students and the interesting lives of the OCAV residents.

Caption: Participants in last year’s intergenerational project, Sue Course and Abdi Nur.

Dorothy Clayton has felt very much ‘at home’ since she moved into Braeside Park nine years ago. Now, Dorothy, the village’s volunteer pastoral care worker, tries to ensure that others also feel a sense of belonging in the Berwick village.

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