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Committee for Geelong's Weekly Addy Opinion Piece - Adopt a Pop

Our region is made up of so many different groups, each with individual strengths that shape our way of life - and the more connected these groups are with each other, the stronger the fabric of our community. 

For many people, the connection between grandparents and grandchildren is considered the norm, but relationships between the generations differ from household to household.

Some children spend a lot of time in the care of their grandparents while parents or carers are at work, but for others busy lifestyles, extracurricular activities and longer distances between family members mean little to no contact with grandparents.

And with an ageing population, the matter of caring for our older generation is becoming more and more pressing.

As part of the Committee for Geelong's Leaders for Geelong program, a group of emerging leaders have developed a project Adopt a Pop, Gain a Granny that aims to bring seniors and school children closer together.

To facilitate Adopt a Pop, Gain a Granny- and connect organisations and schools with each other - the group secured sponsorship from iCareHealth for the creation of a project website. The site aims to make it easy for primary schools to set up an intergenerational learning program, includes a step-by-step blueprint for teachers as well as a guest blog and links to various social media platforms.

The project provided the opportunity to have an aged care facility partner with a primary school, to allow for children to care for and interact with seniors, and for seniors to share their talents, knowledge and experiences with children.

The pilot was run with Maryville Aged Care facility and St Patrick's Primary School, and was highly successful. Year 6 students from St Patrick's visited the residents of Maryville Aged Care in March, creating wonderful dialogue between the generations.

The seniors who participated enjoyed the experience immensely, and listened intently as the students shared stories about their families, pets and friends and from the sporting field. In turn, the children were really interested in the residents' childhood experiences, their families and history, and how they spent their free time without today's technology.

The successful pilot provides a generic framework that could be used for future roll out.  Imagine the impact if Adopt a Pop, Gain a Granny was embedded in every school's curriculum in our region.

The benefits of this initiative are very broad - it connects members of our community, allowing both groups to learn from each other; it allows a better understanding of the needs of our seniors, and how the younger generations can support them better; it fosters stronger community advocacy on their behalf; and it can also influence younger people's career choices, by exposing them to the opportunities available in the growing aged care sector.

Adopt a Pop, Gain a Granny is an exciting project that aims to bridge intergenerational gaps with smiles, conversations and care. As Geelong transforms with its ageing population and our incredibly busy lives, this project has the potential to deliver benefits to all of us within our community.

Rebecca Casson is the Committee for Geelong Chief Executive Officer. Follow the Committee for Geelong on Twitter @Comm4Geelong.

Adopt a pop

The Adopt a Pop, Gain a Granny project team Nick Uebergang, Hannah Cameron, Lisa Harrup & Mark Jones (absent)



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