STEP builds connectedness between seniors and teens

Since 2019, IGS students have been engaged in the Seniors and Teens Empathy Program (STEP) with residents of the Annandale Grove aged care facility.

During Term 2, the program was finally able to return for nine weeks of in-person meetings as opposed to online. The program brings a small group of High School students to Annandale Grove once a week to meet with residents, play games and engage in conversation.

STEP seeks to act as an extension of the School’s stated values of connectedness and authenticity.

IGS student Mia wrote the following reflection about of one of the visits:

This week, we returned to Annandale Grove to reconnect with the residents for another exciting week. Gathering in the Dining Room, with lovely new tables, we played ‘Match the Proverbs’ and engaged in thought-provoking discussions about our own opinions of these timeless sayings. Everyone had a great time engaging in various conversations and activities centred around the theme of fun and games.

Amy, Rosemary, Margaret, Emma and Louise
Amy had exciting conversations with Rosemary, Margaret, Emma, and Louise. She discovered a shared passion for Formula One car racing with Margaret, as they both support the same team and racers: Lewis Hamilton and George Russell from Mercedes. Amy and Louise also bonded over their excitement for the upcoming Women’s World Cup soccer tournament. The group enjoyed playing a dog and owner matching game and discussed how dogs often resemble their owners. Amy and Rosemary continued sharing their favourite book recommendations, and they are looking forward to exchanging more in the future. Amy also learned about Margaret’s background in the film industry and discovered that her and Margaret’s daughter share the same name, Amy (Aimee).

Maya and Emma
Emma showed Maya her new teddy that her daughter had brought her. Together, they decided to name it ‘Tiger’ after coming across a tiger photo in a game. They also discussed visiting the zoo and seeing koalas and all sorts of animals. They then talked about her dad’s fruit farm, and Maya shared a story about her great uncle’s farm in the Blue Mountains, where he once had camels for about six months. The topic of rock climbing arose as Emma recognised a photo of rock climbing, and was reminiscing of the rock climbers in Malta. Maya also asked Emma about her favourite day in her life, and Emma shared the story of her wedding day.

Aki and Sheila
Aki’s conversation with Sheila revolved mainly around their shared love for dogs. They expressed their desire to go on a hot air balloon ride, as they both think it would be extremely peaceful and fun. Together with Mia and Patricia they completed the Proverb game and spent some time discussing their thoughts about each proverb.

Elka and Louise
Elka had a lovely time with Louise, who gifted her a book called Cats: An Anthology, along with a very sweet card and cat stickers. They discussed the upcoming Barbie movie featuring Margot Robbie and Louise’s fondness for watching Home and Away from 12-1. They speculated that Louise would be a cat and Elka would be a dog if they were animals. They also shared excitement for the Women’s World Cup and praised the skills of player Sam Kerr. The conversation then veered towards the high ranking of human well-being in countries like the Netherlands and Denmark.

Matilda and Gary
Matilda expressed her frustration to Gary about the English assessment, as she had studied the wrong material. Gary shared that English and maths were his favourite subjects and expressed disappointment about not being able to learn a language. Matilda also discovered that Gary’s favourite dog breed is an Alsatian.

Logan and Katina
Logan had an engaging conversation with Katina about their week and shared details about his history and English exams. They answered questions about their preferred animal and ideal weekend. Katina chose a bird as her preferred animal, expressing a desire to fly, and she shared a dream she had about flying, and she mentioned that her ideal weekend involves jamming out to music. They also played a card game that Katina used to enjoy when she was younger, and later, Gary and Matilda joined them for another card game. Together, they formed a strong team and emerged victorious in the proverb contest.

Mia and Patricia
Mia had an intriguing conversation with Patricia about Uluru. Patricia revealed that her boyfriend and Philip Cox collaborated to name one of the hotels in Uluru ‘Sails of the Desert’, and mentioned that they drew inspiration for the name from seeing sheets of canvas used in a hotel in Abu Dhabi which they saw as they flew over it during a flight. Mia also talked about her recent French and English exams as well as what she was going to do that afternoon. Everyone had a great time engaging in discussions, bonding over shared interests, and enjoying various games and activities. We continued to build strong connections with one another, and we all look forward to more fun next week.

Mr D and Margaret
With Lilla away sick, Mr D enjoyed some fun rounds of Uno with Margaret and got to meet her son, Ian, when he popped in with his  cute and cuddly dog, Ralph, who was a hit with everyone.