(Seniors and Teens Empathy Program)
Supported by: Awesome Foundation Mega Grant, Layne Beachley Foundation,
SEFA/ MACQUARIE Kickstarter
We are currently facing mental health epidemics at opposite ends of life; an epidemic of increasing loneliness and depression in our elderly in aged care facilities and an increasing epidemic of mental health issues in our youth. Fostering intergenerational empathy and connection has been shown to improve mental health and well-being of both groups.
Heart and Soul Story designs & facilitates mental health promotion programs that aim to connect groups of different generations with the Elderly through the SHARING OF STORIES. The programs aim to foster empathy, regain a sense of community, increase resilience and well-being and help encourage inspired & soulful lives across generations.
Please click the picture below for a brief introduction to our intergenerational program between Teens & their Elders called STEP ( Seniors and Teens Empathy Program).
Or listen to the Radio interview with 2 SER The Wire about Heart and Soul Story winning a grant from the Awesome Foundation Sydney for the Senior and Teens Empathy Program (STEP) to be run with students from Youth off the Streets Bowen College, Maroubra.
STEP …. part of our sustainable future
The wisdom, experience, energy and ideals of the old and the young are vital to realising the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “Ageing populations must work with younger populations to foster successful and reciprocal intergenerational relations and partnerships, which will lie at the core of every well-integrated society.”
Heart and Soul Story’s STEP is working towards impacting UN Sustainable Development Goal 3
STEP…. in action
“ When it’s rainy look for rainbows. When it is dark look for stars”
This was the quote painted and presented by one of our Teens to her new Elder buddy in our final gathering with the simple explanation “I just feel happy when we are together”.
On Wednesday 22 November, 2017 our Teens and Elders came together with their families and staff in a final week Recognition Gathering of STEP ( Seniors and Teens Empathy Program). I was blown away by the emotion in the room. The Tribute’s the Teen’s had prepared for their new Elder friends at Bupa Australia Queens Park were each unique and heartfelt ….
There were incredible words shared about how their time together had taught them so much, amazing pictures presented of the Umbrian countryside, rainbows painted and even a mobile app coded and made especially so one of the Elders can keep track of his favourite football team and play his own game of soccer !!
The Elders acknowledged the qualities they admired about their new Teen friends, and offered them advice for their futures… including wise words as simple as ” Be friends with everyone”
This 6-week pilot program is just the first STEP (excuse the
pun ) – relationships have been forged, families were introduced, tears were shed… info packs on opportunities for further volunteering opportunities to interact with Bupa’s inspiring residents were eagerly requested.
Thanks again to Kids Giving Back who have opportunities for programs in Aged Care and a range of other community experiences.
“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)
STEP was designed using a Rites of Passage framework – you can learn more about this here
“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 ” ( http://www.ritesofpassagevisionquest.org/need-community-rites-passage/)
The next STEP will run Term 4 of 2018 / Term 1 2019 so if you are interested or know anybody who you think may be interested please go here and share https://www.facebook.com/heartandsoulstory/
Watch Teen participants Immy and Amy talk about their experience during STEP