Retirement village residents  forge connections with local students

Port Phillip Village residents are being called upon to volunteer with students from Altona Primary School as part of a popular intergenerational school volunteering program.

The program, which brings together people from different generations, is run by EdConnect Australia and stems from the intergenerational experiment: ABC’s Old People Homes for 4 year olds and Old People’s Homes for teenagers.

In December 2022, students from Altona Primary School hand-made Christmas cards to give to residents at
Port Phillip. In return, the retirement village is inviting Altona Primary School students to a fun-filled Easter
event on Wednesday 22 March 2023.

Village Manager, Retirement Living by Lendlease, Chris Sharp is keen to build on the connection with the
local school, as residents have already shown interest in volunteering there.

“This year, we are all excited to build on this two-way connection and have the wonderful children come
into our village and spend time with the residents. We have planned craft activities for the children to make
an Easter basket with the help of an older person, and there will be opportunities for students and residents
to read and draw together. We also hope the children will sing for us, too,” he said.

EdConnect Australia successfully secured a Victorian Government’s Emerging Stronger Grant, which
supports connecting residents of retirement villages with nearby schools to provide classroom support,
library assistance, special programs and mentoring for students at risk of disengagement.

Assistant Principal of Altona Primary School, Nicole Fridey said that the value of bringing young people and
older people together cultivates a sense of purpose and enriches all participants:

“Altona Primary School highly values its ongoing partnership with EdConnect Australia and the weekly
support of its current volunteers. Our Grade 2 Team was pleased to extend this partnership making further
connections within the local community with Grade 2 students writing Christmas cards and now planning to
visit the Port Phillip Village residents at the Easter party,” she said.

EdConnect Australia General Manager East Coast, Danie McNeil hopes to form a mutually beneficial
partnership between Port Phillip and Altona Primary School:

“EdConnect recognises the dedication, commitment and care that each volunteer contributes to helping
students who may otherwise struggle in school and in life. At Port Phillip, we will work closely to match
residents who put their hand up to volunteer with students with similar interests and passions.”

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