Age no barrier to friendship

News & Events

Age no barrier to friendship

October 11, 2017

Dhama Georgi and Elsa Clune might be 72 years apart in age but discovered soon after meeting that they have much in common. Both have a deep commitment for, and love of, family and they love sport. Elsa cried when she saw the women’s AFL on the television for the first time this year and Dharma, though a soccer player, also celebrated the ‘arrival’ of the sport.

 

The two met this year as part of the Fitzroy High School/Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria Intergenerational Project. The project is part of the Senior VCAL students’ Work Related Skills Unit. Eight students were matched with residents and all the stories were featured in an exhibition at Rushall Park in September. Students demonstrated skills transferrable to the workplace, including communication, teamwork, organisation and meeting deadlines. Dharma, who interviewed four residents, tried to capture Elsa’s great love of life and people.

 

Dharma, 18, developed great admiration for Elsa, 90, and her enthusiasm for life. “Getting to know the residents at Rushall Park broke down age barriers and it taught me how diverse we really are. I loved interviewing Elsa because she has this amazing love of people and experiences. She really values life,” Dharma said.

 

Elsa, who has lived at Rushall Park for almost 20 years, said the project gave her the chance to talk with Dharma about things that she hasn’t discussed much over the decades, including her great love of playing football as a child and her yearning for more education.

 

“My uncle gave me a football and when I was a child we used to play football out on the road. I have always loved the game, but it wasn’t a sport available to girls in those days. I was so happy to see it on the television and to know that it is now a sport girls are encouraged to play. Oh I would love to have played,” Elsa said.

 

Elsa had to finish school after Grade 8 and it wasn’t until she was in her fifties that she went back and studied English Literature, then completed her High School Certificate and pursued a tertiary education. She still writes most days, capturing thoughts and observations on paper.

 

Elsa had no trouble capturing in words her experience of meeting Dharma and being involved in the Fitzroy High School project. “The students are ambitious and polite and I would encourage them to keep going. Learn as much as you can before you get old. The door to education was closed to me when I was young, but young people now have the chance to do so many things, I would encourage them to keep learning,” Elsa said.

 

Dharma has taken Elsa’s advice to heart. She is nearing the end of secondary school and hopes to one-day study design at university. But before that she is planning to head to Argentina next year to volunteer teaching English and soccer at a school.

 

 

Pete Zawacki drove to Leith Park twice a week to visit his mother, Helen, until her death a year ago. After she died he wanted to honour her memory and ‘repay’ the kindness staff showed her by volunteering.

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