Last Sunday saw the launch of our 2017 Connect4Good program, with 19 kids visiting the Queens Park BUPA aged care facility to conduct an armchair Zumba dance workshop with the residents, many of whom are suffering from serious physical and mental infirmities. Connect4Good is our monthly program for 8 to 13 year olds that brings volunteers together with local communities facing daily struggles – all in the spirit of generosity.
Lead by our dynamic Zumba instructor, Siobhan Ferguson, the kids found their rhythm to the tune of a playlist of contemporary and classic grooves. Seated directly opposite them were the residents, who watched, listened and soon after followed suit – though with slightly less flexibility than the kids. 45 minutes later everyone had given it their best go and worked up a sweat and a smile. The session finished with Sinatra’s New York New York, which was intensified by the informal choir of residents who knew all the words by heart. Grateful staff members commented that many of the residents had not exhibited this level of enthusiasm for physical activity in a very long time.
After the Zumba workout volunteers and residents had the opportunity to get to know each other a little better, and by now conversation was flowing naturally. Many residents commented that it was the most fun they’d had forever, while others asked the names of the songs and even offered personal stories to the kids. One of the women was the first female to graduate from Sydney Uni with a Law degree. One of the men had been in Tokyo on the day Japan surrendered during World War 2. Another man sympathetically explained that although three strokes had left him almost entirely paralysed, he had tried his best to get involved using only his left hand. Differences in age and health dissipated as both parties left feeling better than they had prior. Another great example of how generosity transcends the barriers people build between one another, and that’s what Connect4Good is about!
Huge thanks to Zumba teacher extraordinaire, Siobhan for her generosity; to our incredible ‘angel’ Jodi Sher for organising this session. Also to the wonderful residents of BUPA as well as the staff. And of course to the amazing kids who took the time to make a difference. You all rock! With thanks to Grace Gives Australia and Bnai Brith for their generous support of our program, enabling us to keep program costs to a minimum.
This post was written by our fabulous Kids Giving Back Youth Ambassador Dan Reede. Kids participating in Connect4Good (Block One) get to have fun with Dan at each of the sessions.