Residents at Uniting Wontama were given the gift of festive cheer early, as house captains from Kinross Wolaroi School delivered each resident a personalised Christmas present last week.
We were told its a favourite amongst many residents as they wait intently for the day and speak highly of it throughout the year.
The annual affair was an initiative which began four years ago, Uniting Wontama Leisure & Wellness Coordinator Sandra Brown explained, It was Kinross who approached us and told us what they wanted to do and Uniting was right on board with it. Each year we prepare brief descriptions of each residents interests which is then shared with the school. Kinross seniors then conduct a fundraising effort which results in finding the perfect gift for each Uniting Wontama resident as well as a personalised card.
Each year the gifts and cards are shared with the residents who then also share stories and make connections with the students. Doing so helps promote intergenerational connection which can give aged care residents a sense of belonging and purpose and students a renewed outlook.
Sandra continued, The residents really enjoy their company and there are some beautiful conversations that emerge about their own grandparents and the joy in doing things for others, Its just beautiful to see. I dont know if the kids really know what they do for the residents, it really brightens their day, students come in and they see their reactions when they get their presents, but then these residents will talk about that moment for the next couple of weeks.
For some residents, this is the only time of year they are given a gift, as they have no family. Ted is one of those residents, Its hard because Ive lost my family, I just have myself and my three brothers. I do appreciate the kids very much, we are very lucky here, we get well looked after, these kids and their teachers go out of their way to help us.
Kinross student Sarah Shepherd said, Its all about giving back. Kinross and especially our cohort look to give back to the community and we really enjoy doing this sort of thing. Its also a really positive thing for us, its a shared thing amongst the captains that because we are all going through the drought, we are able to give back to people who have given to us.
Talking about the reactions of residents when opening their presents, Sarah added, Honestly, Ive just got so much joy for them. I think its so cool, like Phil had mentioned to us, they dont get many presents, and for us to give them that, its just such a rewarding experience.
Wontama Uniting Resident, Laurelle Sutton smiled, Its very special to us, the children are all very, very lovely, they are so grown up. Phil was spoilt with a book and some chocolates, and a meercat card which he is very proud of, he loves meercats. I was gifted a beautiful frame and some choccies.
It was truly heart-warming to see well done Kinross, what a fantastic initiative.