Perth high school students have traded tech tips for life advice with local retirement village residents as part of a new program designed to offer meaningful intergenerational connection.
Ashdale Secondary College this year launched the Community Tech Team where Year 9 and 10 students visited the Kingsway Court Brightwater Retirement Village to teach residents how to use technology, including how to identify and block scams, take selfies and create an online profile safely.
In return residents shared life skills and lessons, such as how to write and mail a letter and play lawn bowls.
Inspired by the ABC program Old People’s Home For Teenagers, the Community Tech Team provided two-way learning, social interaction and a platform for meaningful connections and friendships to develop.
Speaking to the ABC, Ashdale Secondary College student Amy Kohlschein said she enjoyed forming new friendships.
“It's nice to have a connection with people besides our age group and outside our family tree,” she said.
“It’s been enjoyable. Great to learn how the world has changed and also be able to teach the residents about everything from this generation.”
Another student, Jacob Yates, agreed.
“Learning what life was like back in the 1900s. It’s really interesting and exciting to see how we grew up in this world full of technology and immediate communications,” he said.
Long-time Kingsway Court resident Linley Wakefield told the ABC she hoped the interactions continued.
“Having been a teacher for so many millions of years, for me, it’s like a home away from home to be talking to the kids and listen to the way they speak about the things they're doing and the things they’re interested in,” she said.
Ashdale Secondary College digital technologies teacher Rachel Farnay, who organised the program, said it was great to see the students laughing and forming friendships.
“Some of these students are extremely shy, so it has been wonderful to watch their confidence grow. It has been very heart-warming to see them all enjoying each other’s company,” she said.
“It's just a bit of community service and a great way to get involved with some residents who are also probably feeling a little bit alone and isolated, and just bringing them together and trying to create some friendships and something fun to do.”
Brightwater Care Group chief customer officer Alice Manners said the partnership with Ashdale Secondary College was a perfect example of valuable intergenerational connection.
“Programs like this provide enormous benefit to everyone involved – it has been so lovely to watch our residents at Kingsway Court get to know their teenage friends and vice versa,” she said.