Championing kindness during COVID-19

15 JUL 2020

A Year 11 work placement in aged care last year gave Churchlands Senior High School student Zoe Colmer a special insight into the importance of social connection for older Australians.

When Zoe, now in Year 12, heard the impact COVID-19 was having on visits to aged care facilities, she wanted to do something to help keep isolated seniors entertained and connected.

Despite her heavy final year study load, Zoe became a ‘virtual volunteer’ for aged care provider Baptistcare.

Each week she makes time to pen a beautiful letter to Baptistcare residents, sharing stories and photos, as well as creating puzzles for them to complete.

“I wanted to help because it brings so much happiness into the lives of seniors by connecting with them socially,” she said.

One grateful recipient is 86-year-old Leona Hunter who lives at Baptistcare David Buttfield Centre in Gwelup.
“I adore getting your lovely letters, I think it is so wonderful that you take the time to write to us,” Leona responded.

Zoe also includes a second weekly letter in her dispatch to Baptistcare staff who have been at the frontline of providing care and support in WA during COVID-19.

“I also want to let the staff know what a fantastic job they are doing because sometimes their effort isn’t recognised,” she wrote.

It’s no surprise the joy and friendship Zoe has brought to the lives of Baptistcare residents has been recognised with a prestigious Churchlands Champion Award.

The awards are presented to students who demonstrate outstanding academic work or alternatively uphold the school values in the realms of personal, social or environmental responsibilities.

Baptistcare CEO Russell Bricknell said extraordinary young people like Zoe had made a world of difference to residents and staff during the pandemic.

“Despite the age difference, teenage volunteers have made lasting connections with seniors living in our residential aged care facilities in recent months,” he said.

“Zoe’s definitely a champion in the eyes of our residents and staff who have had the pleasuring of reading her wonderfully crafted messages and stories each week.”

Lifeline’s Community Visitors Scheme

Lifeline WA’s Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) helps to improve the social and mental wellbeing of lonely and isolated older adults in our community by pairing them with a volunteer who visits them regularly. Any older person living in an aged care facility or living at home and receiving a home care package is eligible to apply for the Community Visitors Scheme.

The scheme is currently focusing on phone and virtual friendships while physical distancing measures and visiting restrictions are in place, for the safety of vulnerable elderly people.

More information on this service
Article supplied by Carla Shearman of The PR Collaborative.