Will’s great experience
As part of a Kinross Wolaroi School English assessment, year nine Student Will Englund was involved in a volunteer community service project with Gosling Creek Aged Care.
From Monday to Friday, Will made it his mission to get to know several residents, to sit down and listen to their life stories - after getting as much information as he could, Will then took the information back to school to write a little book on that residents life, which will be presented to them as a gift.
Will explained, “It’s been a really great experience, I’ve heard lots of interesting stories and to hear how different things were when they were my age, some were still getting horse and carts to school.”
Jo Beldham added, “It’s a great experience for Will, but it’s also a great experience for the residents because they are getting involved with the younger generation and they just love that he’s a fresh face to see around here, they’ve loved having him around.”
“As the residents walk around now, they say oh there he is, that’s the boy! That’s what it’s all about, have interaction between two different generations and having people genuinely interested in them.”
Some of the questions that Will covered included their; childhood, schooling, careers, love and politics.
“I think my favourite questions to ask were ‘What was your best job? They get really passionate about that one, or ‘What were the happiest years of your life’ and ‘Describe your spouse’, some got quite emotional which made me a bit sad, some of the residents have been or were married for 65 years. Pat Fell for example described the moment she knew she had met ‘the one’, when her and her husband held hands and that was it, she knew straight away, it’s great that they can still remember those things and share them.”
“It’s very different to what I would normally be doing for community service, this is much better. It’s great for me to hear their stories and what other people have experienced and been through, I think I easily chatted with Len Nash for over an hour.”
Joanne added, “I think it’s also great for someone of Will’s age to come in here and know, oh well they don’t bite.. a lot of young people don’t know how to approach an older person. It proves you can come into these homes and have that interaction; you can still have a joke and a laugh. These residents are just as cheeky, they have lived their life, they have no filter and they can say what they want.”
“It’s a huge achievement on Will’s behalf, he’s done a great job and we thank Kinross for being involved in this and we hope to continue the relationship in the future to become an annual occasion.”
Will smiled, “This project has made me appreciate my family a lot more, and it’s given me the idea to ask my own Grandparents these questions, I think it would be very interesting. Mum even mentioned to me that she wished that she had done the same with her Grandparents.”
“It’s been really sweet wrapping it all up and the interesting thing is that not one of the residents has any regrets. The last bit I write in each book is describing them as a person and I think it’s really nice to finish on, it’s an outside perspective of them, and maybe I took something a different way that they had insinuated and they get to see themselves a little differently, either way I hope they will enjoy the read. If I had the chance to do this again I would definitely do it, it’s a really worthwhile experience for anyone to do.”
Why don’t you give it a try yourself? Ask your grandparents or if you’re lucky enough ask your great grandparents about their life. You never know what might find out.