Fostering inclusiveness; one partnership uniting young and old

INCLUSIVE FOR ALL: Students at the Welcome to Australia Walk in October.
INCLUSIVE FOR ALL: Students at the Welcome to Australia Walk in October. Contributed

A PROGRAM to foster inclusive attitudes towards older Australians is beginning to snowball into much more, as one particular partnership gathers momentum.

The Silver Fox organisation was founded earlier this year as an attempt to promote cross-generational conversations and highlight the positive contributions older community members bring to the table.

Since then, one project in particular has been not only enabling younger and older members to work together, but working to create a far more inclusive Coast for all residents.

Fergus Fitzgerald of Buddies Refugee Support Group and a group of students from Montessori International College and Sunshine Coast Grammar School worked together for the Welcome to Australia walk, an event which saw hundreds of people turn out to support migrants on the Coast.

Mr Fitzgerald said it was "inspiring” for him to work with the younger students.

"They're the next generation and they're going to inherit our world, so I was very interested to talk to them about their values and dreams,” he said.

One of the participating students, Jack Hastell, similarly said he's enjoyed working with people outside school in the broader community.

"[Buddies] has given me that avenue to help other people who are just coming into Australia and get them used to our culture and environment,” he said.

"I've been helped with a lot of things in my life, and other people have mentored me into who I am today and who I want to be.

"I want to give other people that opportunity.”

While the partnership has slowed down in anticipation of the year's end, Mr Fitzgerald said plans were in the works for the young volunteers to develop an app which would direct new Australians to vital but little-known services.

The Silver Fox founder Francis Hartnett said the beauty of such a project was that it enabled inter-generational dialogue about issues facing the community.

"Fergus is there to present the issues at hand, but this is a two-way relationship so the students can then look at what they think is the best way forward,” he said.

"We then use our connections to make sure their ideas get real-world applications.”

In 2017, the organisation plans to expand with more projects, and encourages any interested volunteers to contact them via or their Facebook page

Topics:  asylum seekers baby boomers millennials youth

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