Young people at Redcliffe Area Youth Space are bridging the generation gap, handcrafting Christmas cards for residents of Azure Blue retirement village in the lead-up to Christmas.
It is an activity staff have co-ordinated in previous years to bring the community together, reach out to someone who may be lonely this time of year and give the young people a much-needed boost.
Redcliffe Area Youth Space (RAYS) Quality and business manager Kathryn says it is important young people feel like they are part of the community.
“If this community is stronger and more connected, then it’s more interdependent rather than creating independent individuals … we’re all interdependent,” Kathryn says.
“Often older people are quite scared of younger people as they start to feel a bit more frail and vulnerable. They can see that those young people have something positive to offer. That positive exchange builds connected, cohesive communities.
“While we might do the work one-on-one (with young people), our longer-term vision is much more about these interconnected and cohesive communities.”
They have made more than 50 cards for specific residents but also some generic cards, so no one misses out.
A small group of young people will visit the village to deliver the cards and speak to a staff member and handful of residents.
“It can be tricky for some young people who have never had family Christmas traditions to be able to engage in that,” Kathryn says.
“For some of them, there’s a lot of pride in just creating something and a feeling that they’ve got a useful skill. For others, it’s a sense of surprise that they can do something that can make someone else feel good.
“They are so often told that they are not good, they don’t have value or they are useless. A small thing can be the beginning of knowing they have value, worth and they can make someone else feel better.
“It’s always been incredibly well-received (by the residents).”
There are other benefits for the young artists taking part in the activity.
“The very nature of doing an artistic endeavour is that is it something that will engage young people who may not come and chat with us – they will just sit down and get involved and you start to learn their story. So, it’s a very multi-layered activity,” she says.
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