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Gosford pen-pal program connecting generations

Gosford pen-pal program connecting generations

Gosford pen-pal program connecting generations

16 May 2017

The Woodport Primary School student pen-pal program is building community connections with a local aged care centre.

By Lauren Martin

An inter-generational pen-pal program being facilitated by Gosford Corps on the NSW Central Coast is connecting primary school students with elderly residents from The Salvation Army’s Woodport Aged Care Plus Centre.

The exchange of letters began with a few students and residents early last year, and has since grown to 11 primary school students writing to 11 hostel residents once a month.

Gosford Corps Youth and Children’s Ministry Worker, Camilla Hall, who facilitates the pen-pal program, says it’s a beautiful way to connect people in the local community who would rarely interact.

“Some of the hostel residents involved don’t have grandchildren, or their grandchildren are far away, so having that connection with the younger generation is really exciting for them,” Camilla says. “For the primary students, it’s making that connection the other way – with the older generation – and giving them the opportunity to ask questions if they don’t have that kind of role model in their life to ask.”

She says writing letters is also a great way for hostel residents to keep up their cognitive and fine motor skills and keep their minds active. For the young students, it’s a novel way of communicating in this age of emails and instant messaging.

“They (pen pals) have not met each other in person yet, but now that it’s been running for over a year we’re looking at ways that we can connect them and hopefully be able to introduce them,” Camilla says.

Loving community is at the heart of what Jesus wants for his people, so when the opportunity came up to facilitate such a program, the team at Gosford Corps was excited to be involved. They also facilitate visits to Woodport Aged Care Plus Centre with their corps playgroup.

“It’s all about building community and letting people know who’s in their community,” Camilla says. “Connecting people together so that they’re not separate hubs just living out their lives alone.”

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