Mini Vinnies in action OLHC / Lyndoch program brings generations together
Sharing the love of a good book will have plenty of benefits for a group of Warrnambool aged care residents and local school pupils. Lyndoch Living and Our Lady Help of Christians Primary School are strengthening ties through the Mini Vinnies program.
Through the program, pupils will be paired up with residents to learn about their life and interests. With help from their teacher, the youngsters will then choose books they think their partner will enjoy and read them together. Lyndoch Living’s Audrey Prider Centre nurse unit manager Cath Porter said it was an extension what the two groups were already doing. “We already had a very well-established visiting program with Our Lady Help of Christians Primary School,” she said.
Ms Porter said the new program would improve residents’ well-being and boost pupils’ reading skills. Our Lady Help of Christians Primary School principal Eugene Dalton said the breakfast program had established strong bonds between students and residents.
“This new emphasis is almost a natural extension and adds greatly to the social, emotional development of all participants,” he said.
Lyndoch chief executive officer Doreen Power said the extension of the Mini Vinnies program was about “thinking outside the box”. “The extension of this program adds so much more depth to developing and strengthening relationships between the students and residents,” she said.
MINI VINNIES AT OLHC EAST WARRNAMBOOL
Mini Vinnies at Our Lady Help of Christians East Warrnambool is alive and growing year by year. The group began in 2013 with 9 student members and has grown to involve 54 student members in 2016. The group consists of students in year five and six with two Social justice leaders who are in year six and who have been members since year five.
Group members meet on a regular basis with a staff member to plan, organise and discuss issues of social justice and community. OLHC Mini Vinnies are involved in a community partnership with local nursing home Lyndoch Living. Every Thursday and Friday students visit the nursing home to eat breakfast with the residents. Whilst pancakes and eggs & bacon are a tasty hit, more important to the students and residents are the interactions had. Strong relationships have been formed with some students opting to visit more regularly and even during holiday breaks. Whilst visiting, students eat breaky, play pool or cards, buy and deliver newspapers, play music, engage in crafts or simply sit and chat. There have been great conversations bridging the gap of generations, laughter and tears, but most of all enjoyment on the faces of all involved.
The Minis at OLHC have also organised many fun days at school, raising money for those in need. In 2015, they created Christmas hampers to deliver to the local community with the help of the senior St Vincent De Paul society. The latest venture of students is to share their understanding of the six principles of Social justice with the entire school. Students learnt about these at the recent Mini Vinnie festival gathering in Penshurst last month and are keen to see them displayed and used throughout the school.