Bringing local youth and aged care residents together
- The My Story Matters program brings generations together to record and share life stories
- Natalia and Megan met at IRT Sarah Claydon when they were paired up for the program
- For Megan, the experience was much more rewarding than a typical school assignment
- Natalia loved the visits – particularly when they involved a Macca’s apple pie!
Meaningful relationships can bridge the age gap - just ask IRT Sarah Claydon resident Natalia Comelli and high school student Megan Jeffers.
The two met through the My Story Matters program, which runs at IRT Sarah Claydon.
Over a period of ten weeks, Year 11 students from Ulladulla High School conduct interviews with a select group of residents and then produce books about their life stories, which are given to them at a formal presentation.
Megan admits that when she and her classmates first heard about the program they thought it was just like any other assignment.
“But visiting IRT Sarah Claydon each week and talking to all the wonderful people we quickly realised it wasn’t just another assignment,” she says.
“As we discovered their stories we learnt so much about them and their generation and we could see that how happy they were to have someone to share their story with.”
Megan and three of her classmates were assigned to gather Natalia’s story and although they were nervous at first, Natalia’s bubbly personality quickly put them at ease.
“We had a lot of fun with her; her laugh is adorable. She’s just an amazing person and has touched our hearts more than we thought possible,” Megan says.
“She was very warm and welcoming towards us and made this experience what it was.”
Megan reckons Natalia is one of the most compassionate people she’s ever met.
“She can see the good in everyone and every situation and has dedicated her life to helping and serving others,” Megan says.
For her part, Natalia loved the girls’ visits – particularly the time they surprised her with a Macca’s apple pie!
“I loved the chance to meet them; I do like their company,” she says.
Megan says one of her favourite moments was reading their first draft to Natalia.
“She just lit up and watching her reaction to all the different aspects of it really made our day.”
Both Natalia and Megan think the My Story Matters program is a great way for different generations to interact and to learn from one another.
“Today our lives are largely consumed by technology and consumerism,” Megan says.
“I think we can learn from the older generation how to have deeper, more meaningful personal connections with people and experiences that don’t involve technology.
“They’ve lived a long time and had a lot of experiences and we can learn a lot from their wisdom.”