Elders and Epsom Library partner to support new migrants
Elders are out in our community, making a difference and breaking down barriers for themselves and our new migrants.
This week, Knox residents are starting their second free English Conversation Course at Epsom Library. Their first dozen students have completed the course and there is a waiting list of 25 already lining up for the next Elder-led programme.
Neighbours, Epsom Library and Knox saw a need in the community for learners to practice their English in a safe local environment and put their heads together to solve the problem. Knox had residents rich in experience, patience and language skills while Epsom library had the space and a strong migrant community.
The result was a fortnightly programme that allowed learners to sign up to practice speaking English with Knox Elders over a 12 week period. The ratio of 2 or 3 learners to each resident meant that there was ample opportunity to practice speaking and gain confidence.
“We expected them to improve their English” said Tasha Mekisic, Knox staff team member, “but we were delighted by the relationships that developed. They really looked forward to seeing each other. They shared stories and photos and got to know each other really well”. Knox residents and learners got on so well that they continued meeting and one new migrant also decided to volunteer at Knox.
The energy and conversation at Epsom Library during the sessions illustrated the way in which libraries today act as a hub for the community. Rachel Xu, Senior Library Assistant Ethnic Communities, sees the library as being a vital part of new migrants' life. “The library is a meeting place for them. They learn about their new community and make friends and connections."
As our residents have shown, age is no barrier to making a difference in the community.
Inaugural sunflower competition
Knox residents, staff and volunteers have fully embraced the first ever sunflower growing competition at Knox. Each home received seeds and put their green thumbs to work. Team effort and some TLC successfully raised these seeds into seedlings which have now been planted into the gardens. Each home has until 4 December to grow their sunflowers. Prizes will go to the tallest, largest and oddest flowers.
Sally Hopkins of Eden Alternative in OZ and NZ said “creating a human habitat requires three elements: people, animals and plants. Giving care to a living plant, nurturing, encouraging, enjoying the changes is a gift. Doing this with others is called Community.”
While those competitive souls at Knox are looking forward to the judging, we know that sharing in this experience as a Knox community has made each of us the real winners.
Air New Zealand make connections at Knox
Connections are pretty important in air travel so the Air New Zealand Crew Community Team make sure they spend some of their spare time volunteering in the community. On a December volunteering day, the team of 25 chose to visit residents at Knox Home.
“Our cabin crew expressed interest in visiting a retirement village, and wanted to spend some time doing activities; having a chat with some of the residents and hoping to brighten up their day in some way”, said Cabin Crew Manager, Dianah Didovich.
What unfolded was more than the Air New Zealand crew ever imagined. The memories and stories flowed amongst the enthusiastic gathering of crew and residents. The country’s own airline has touched many lives, so was a hugely popular subject.
A very special discovery was made when current crew met 91-year old Knox resident Joy Hanna, one of the early Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL) female stewardesses introduced after 1946. TEAL was founded in 1940 beginning its services with flying boats servicing the South Pacific. TEAL rebranded as Air New Zealand in 1965. She was even featured on the in-flight cup in the Air New Zealand 75-year celebrations. The Air New Zealand crew made Joy feel very special and a part of the airline’s legacy.
“We were honoured that Air New Zealand crew members chose to use their free time to volunteer at Knox; spending the morning with our residents and wider Knox community. The warmth and energy of the crew was felt by all and we appreciated the way they made us all feel so supported and a part of our Auckland community”, said Stacey.
Knox residents had many connections to Air New Zealand and made a big impression on the visiting crew; surprising some that there was such a deep appreciation of the airline and its history.