Tackling Loneliness on Wheels

Designed by Wanganui Park Secondary College Students

The I Wish I'd Asked project has just been given wheels, with Prestige Jayco, Keatings Transport, Furphy Foundry, Wanganui Park Secondary College and Shepparton Villages putting their skills together to launch a special ‘story van’ last week.

The caravan was designed by 15-year-old students, Alice Potter, Arnie Forster and Charlotte Collins from Wanganui Park Secondary College, who are featured in the decals that adorn the van, alongside Cynthia Poole and Jack Thewlis of Shepparton Villages’ Banksia Lodge.

INTERGENERATIONAL PROJECT ON THE MOVE… From left, Keatings Transport owner, Ken Keating, Shepparton Villages resident, Cynthia Poole, Wanganui Park Secondary College student, Charlotte Collins, I Wish I’d Asked (IWIA) co-founders, Eva Gruen and Danny Finley and Wanganui Park Secondary College student, Amie Forster at the launch of the IWIA story van at Keatings Transport last week. Photo: Katelyn Morse.

The artistry depicts an ageing tree on the left of the vehicle with the seniors being pulled through a portal by the students, who are helping to rejuvenate them and on the far right is a tree full of life.

I Wish I'd Asked co-founders, Eva Gruen and Danny Finley said, “We are so grateful to Ken and his family from Keatings Transport, John Spence at Prestige Jayco and Sam Furphy of Furphy Foundry, as well as the students at Wanganui Park Secondary College for their involvement in helping make the van possible.

“Notre Dame College is coming on board which will see us reach this year’s target of getting 100 students involved, but in the long term we are hoping to get every school involved.”

Ken Keating said, “The IWIA project is a great initiative. It is what is needed, particularly with the elderly in helping to get their minds activated, but it is also great for the students.

“It is going to be a great thing.”

Wanganui Park Secondary College principal, Ken Murray said, “The students accepted the challenge to design the van with the guidance of teachers, Kerry Short and Galina McKenzie. They are very proud of the result and the students are now actively involved in activities with Shepparton Villages residents.”

The story van will be fitted with cameras and will travel around for the next two months capturing moments and conversations between the elderly and youths and will also feature as part of the Shepparton Festival’s Converge event on March 16.

Source: The Adviser | March 2020