All too often we hear about the importance of older people being role models for our youth and how young people could learn to be more responsible citizens as a result of learning from the values and principles of older people.
Well this week the tables were turned and we all learned a great deal from the young 3rd year students of St. Colman’s College, Fermoy. These students displayed confidence and an ability to effectively contribute to their community by organising a coffee morning for older people in the Croke Library at St. Colman’s College, Fermoy on Friday morning last, February 18th.
Visitors were treated to a power-point presentation on the history of the College as well as the many sporting activities and achievements of former scholars of the school. This project kicked off following a presentation by Mary Allen of the Blackwater Community Connect Programme to the pupils of this class some weeks ago.
From the presentation they learned about older people’s need for social contact and how much they have to contribute to society. They also learned of the isolation and vulnerability some older people experience as well as their need for their continued independence as they grow older. Together with their CSPE teacher Marian Ryan, they displayed an interest in organising a coffee morning for the participants of the Blackwater Community Connect programme as well as for senior citizens in and around the Fermoy area.
Following a lot of work and great preparations on Friday morning visitors to the College were met and welcomed by the young gentlemen of the 3rd year class and were escorted on a tour of the building. They were taken to the Church where daily mass is said and this is situated in the oldest part of the building. Team working was the order of the day and all students contributed in their own way to the project. Students with diverse musical interests were lined up to entertain the visitors and after the historical presentation they treated us all to some excellent music and song.
Tea, Coffee and cakes were served and students chatted with the visitors. One student learned a great deal about the College from one of the visitors who had worked there with boarding students well over fifty years ago. Afterwards he said ‘I talked to lots of people, and in particular a lady who was full of interesting history…I wish I could have spoken more to some people’. It was good to see so many students and older people deep in discussion and enjoying each other’s company.
The students left no stone unturned in their attempts to make the morning a great success, and so it was. The College as well as the parents of these young men can be proud of their achievement in organizing the coffee morning and entertainment and helping to bridge the generation gap.
Afterwards the young men were happy with their mornings work and felt ‘it was a great experience’. They thought it was ‘good to meet new people’ and it ‘was a brilliant idea’. Some believed it was ‘good to interact with people to see what they thought about it’ and it was also ‘good to see everyone talking’. One student said he found out interesting stories, another said it was a ‘great way of getting to know people’. Students were surprised but glad at the number of older people that turned up to the coffee morning and were happy to see ‘older people come to Colman’s’. One young student said ‘everyone had a good time…we felt good because of doing good’.
For more information on Avondhu Blackwater Partnership and Blackwater Community Connect, visit our webpage at www.avondhublackwater.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for up to date news on events, courses and other funding opportunities!