Keyton | Staying young at heart with EdConnect

Staying young at heart

Sunday, 30 July 2023

How residents from Waterford Valley Lakes and Port Phillip Village find additional purpose in their retirement through volunteering with EdConnect. 

What is EdConnect?

EdConnect is an intergenerational volunteering charity that operates within primary and secondary schools. The organisation specifically targets lower socio economic schools and helps link volunteers who want to make a difference, with young people in school who need extra help and guidance. The volunteers often provide additional learning support, but also act as mentors for the children.

Through the Victorian Government’s Emerging Stronger Grant Program, EdConnect was able to extend their volunteering and build relationships with retirement villages. And the residents from the Waterford Valley Lakes and Port Phillip Village welcomed the program with open arms.

The benefits of volunteering

‘Both groups benefit from the connection. It’s a win win’, says Rhonda Velkovski, Liaison Officer at EdConnect. ‘You’ve got young people in schools who benefit from the extra support of having an older person in the classroom. And older people benefit from having that connection with the young people.’

‘The volunteers love being with the students. I had one gentleman tell me how he loves going into the school to volunteer with young people because it keeps him young at heart.’

‘I often hear volunteers say that they get more than they give from volunteering.’

And the learning actually happens both ways. ‘I had one lady say to me how she was listening to a child read and he was reading a book about mechanics and so she learned something from that book as well.’ says Rhonda. ‘Not only did the child get the opportunity to read, but she also learned something. So you’re never too young or too old to learn.’

Building community at Port Phillip Village

Port Phillip Village close up aerial image of main building, parking and wetlands behind The beautiful view from the Port Phillip retirement village

‘The feedback from the residents about the whole experience is that they’ve had nothing but sort of untold joy’, says Christopher Sharp, former Village Manager at Port Phillip Village. ‘It’s about building community within the village and building the sense of community from inside to outside of the fence. You see children and people who are in their eighties, residents, make instant connections.’

This sentiment is shared by the residents. ‘I would tell others who are thinking about volunteering in schools, don’t wait.’ says Peter, resident at the Waterford Valley Lakes Resident and volunteer within the program.

'Don’t wait. Get in fast and enjoy.’ 

Learn more about EdConnect.

For more information about the lifestyle and support offered at our retirement villages, call our customer service team on 1800 550 550. 

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