Just as each remarkable sunrise can touch us with a feeling of amazement and admiration, so too can the energy of being in a room of people with over half a century between them as they give thanks and recognition for time shared together.
The Recognition Gathering week of STEP (Senior and Teens Empathy Program) saw students from Youth off the Streets Bowen College show their gratitude to their Elders in front of their community of parents and teachers.
The students had worked on gifts of respect as diverse as booklets of images of their time spent together, interspersed with pictures from their Elder’s homeland … to the making of an intricate dream catcher.
The Elders too, passed on their words of gratitude and recognition in cards. Some offering simple advice for the future such as ” Don’t smoke” … others crafting words from the heart about the journey ahead that the Teens will be able to turn to for years to come.
One of many incredible outcomes from this 8-week program, is that one of the students who was so motivated by her weekly visits with her Elders, she has chosen to go on to do her work experience in the Aged Care home this term.
“Who of us in our digitalized and remote lives has not wondered about our disappearing sense of connectedness — face to face, person to person and within a tribe? The more we find ourselves hitting “send,” “reply,” and “post,” the less connected we often feel and become … there is a growing longing to return to a sense of real community ”
Mike Bodkin, Executive Director, Rites of Passage Vision Quest
STEP was designed using a Rites of Passage framework as a program that aims to nourish and develop the souls of adolescents on their path to find purpose and meaning through a vision of life that is bigger than self. Simultaneously, it gives purpose and meaning to our wonderful Elders to share their stories and their advice from their life journey.
“A modern-day rite of passage is achieved when the community create experiences for youth which are perceived to be transformative and, in fact, offer them increased status within the community and facilitate their healthy transition through adolescence” Blumenkrantz, 1996
Heart and Soul Story is excited about the potential opportunity to work further with Youth off the Streets to implement STEP as part of their Service Learning curriculum for 2019.