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School holiday program to bridge gap between seniors and youth

A school holiday program, developed by Flinders University social work student Jasmine Daws, is aiming to bring South Australian primary school students together with older residents in the community.

Resident Ila Kalnins and students Tatum and Lockie try their hand at lawn bowling (Source: ACH Group)
Resident Ila Kalnins and students Tatum and Lockie try their hand at lawn bowling (Source: ACH Group)

The program, titled “The Connexon program”, will involve Port Noarlunga Primary School students visiting residents at Perry Park Residential Living during the upcoming October holidays, and again in January.

“I thought it was a good opportunity to promote intergenerational learning and sharing, connections and to promote wellbeing and active community support of residents,” Ms Daws says about the program.

A State Government grant of $1,668 will ensure the continuation of the program over the next few months. Minister for Education and Child Development Susan Close says that the State Government is proud to support Ms Daws’ project, praising her work highly.

“The Connexon program is a brilliant initiative,” says Ms Close. “Its popularity with both generations is testament to its success and I want to congratulate Jasmine for creating such an innovative and thoughtful program, which is delivering such positive results.”

The first trial of the program took place in July, which involved Port Noarlunga Vacation Care students gardening, cooking, and battling it out against residents on the ten pin bowling Wii game.

Port Noarlunga Out of School Hours Care Director Robyn Harris says that the children are enjoying the program and are very much looking forward to returning next month.

“A lot of kids don’t have extended families around anymore. They’ve really enjoyed spending time at Perry Park and many of them asked when they could go back. It was a good chance for these kids to practice kindness and empathy and work on their social skills.”

Resident Ina Kalnins is also enjoying the benefits of the program.

“It’s great for us because we’ve all got grandchildren and great-grandchildren but we don’t always get the chance to see them. I love spending time with these kids.”

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