Founder of Heart & Soul Story, Samantha Heron has been invited to speak at a number of corporate, government, NFP, health care and education forums and conferences about
– Designing and facilitating the Seniors & Teens Empathy Program across different schools & aged care homes. Heart & Soul Story was invited by the Agency for Clinical Innovation to present at the 7th Annual Aged Health Collaborative Forum Westmead to a wide range of clinicians, health professionals, managers and consumers from a range of health and partner services who lead and influence care and outcomes for older people.
– Youth and Older People’s declining mental health and the benefits of intergenerational connection as one part of a wholistic approach to community wellbeing. Become a member of the Australian Institute of Intergenerational Practice to see the presentation at their National Symposium in 2022 & 2023.
– The power of deep listening, sharing stories and building authentic relationships as a catalyst to good mental health . Heart & Soul Story was invited to be the Keynote speaker at the Museum of Contemporary Art during Vivid Sydney for the Awesome Foundation.
– The best practice principles and opportunities and challenges of running intergenerational programs and initiatives in the community, and specifically, within the aged care environment. Heart & Soul Story presented a 3 hour Webinar in conjunction with Aged Care Health & Education with attendees across Australia from aged care, councils & health networks, disability services
– Cultural & best practice considerations in running intergenerational programs & Initiatives. Heart & Soul Story presented as a Guest Speaker at the MYAN NSW (Multi Cultural Youth Affairs Network) quarterly meeting.
To discuss having Heart & Soul Story consult on a strategy for an intergenerational initiative or speak at one of your next events please contact us here
2023 Upcoming Talks
June – Positive Schools Wellbeing In Action Conference
Excerpt from School News Special Report, Term 4 2022
Heart & Soul Story founder Samantha Heron has facilitated intergenerational programs with older students and said the benefits for teens were just as apparent. “I work with Years 9 and 10, and within the teenage groups, they’re on a journey into adulthood themselves,” she said. “So that can be quite a self-reflective time in life, but it can also be quite a narcissistic and egocentric time.” However, Ms Heron said that self-reported outcomes from the teenagers saw an increase in gratitude, in patience and an increase in confidence. She said that after her initial pilot study in 2017, she followed up with one of the students who had been involved to see the long term impacts of the program. “She had been in Year 7, and I caught up with her in Year 9,” she said. “She really reflected on the fact that at the time, she was so caught up in how bad everything in her own life was. And I think having heard stories from an older person who’d had a pretty difficult life, you know, been through the war, had lost a few brothers in the war. And yet she was an incredibly resilient and happy older person. “So, I think for the student, it really made her reflect on the fact that sometimes they were getting caught up in stuff in their lives that might not actually be that important. “And she was quite a shy, nervous child and she also said it gave her so much more confidence to be able to go back to school and actually speak to other kids.” In addition to the friendships formed with the older people, Ms Heron also observed a strengthening in friendships for the students. “I think for teenagers [the feeling of loneliness] has been exacerbated by social media, it’s all about the number of followers and the number of likes,” she said. “But they get to make authentic friendships with the older people, and also within their group. It’s like anything, when you go through an experience together as a cohort there’s a sense of camaraderie.” Ms Heron said that while intergenerational engagement was not the “magic solution” to youth mental health, it could form a valuable part of the response. “I see it as part of a holistic solution. We’re certainly not going to say, ‘hey, we can solve mental health’. But I think it’s a crisis of our time that young people don’t have access to the elders of our society who used to play such a pivotal role in helping guide our youth. “I look at our Indigenous people and how they work as a community, and I think we should look at how our society could bring our communities back to being closer to that.”