So Glad I Asked Ya I So Love Pasta


Shepparton McGuire College student Alex Teusner holds the secret ingredient to making authentic Italian pasta thanks to ‘I Wish I’d Asked’ program. The program aims to reduce loneliness and depression among seniors and youth through skill sharing and fun activities. Alex is pictured with program co-ordinators Eva Gruen and Danny Finley.

A pinch of wisdom and a dash of youth were the secret ingredients used to fight loneliness at Shepparton’s McGuire College on Wednesday. Silver war riors packed their bags and went back to school for the day to teach Year 9 students the art of making pasta. The students, who are studying Italian, are taking part in a three-week ‘I Wish I’d Asked’ pro gram. The program aims to reduce the high levels of loneliness and depression experienced among seniors and the young through skill sharing and fun activities.

Assistant principal Stacey Lundberg said the program aimed to bring together different generations to share their stories. ‘We learn from each other, we develop empathy, we develop connections with people in the community and that expands our own knowledge,’ Ms Lundberg said. Students not only asked how they could get the clumps out of freshly rolled pasta, but also quizzed the elderly folk about their background, how they learned to cook and what life was like when they were at school. Ms Lundberg said the school was overwhelmed by the response from the students. ‘The kids are really enjoying it,’ Ms Lundberg said.

‘They are highly engaged, and they are en joying not only hearing stories but also the opportunity to share their own stories with a very captive audience.’ City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Seema Abdullah joined in the fun as she did not want to miss out on the opportunity to watch people of all ages and all walks of life share in each other’s joy. Cr Abdullah said projects such as I Wish I’d Asked gave people young and old the opportunity to learn new things. ‘It’s going to benefit both generations, as we know we are seeing social isolation at both ends,’ she said.

‘In order to make them part of our social life, it’s very important to approach them and ask them questions and be curious. ‘It’s a beautiful opportunity because sometimes I even wish I had asked some questions myself.’ The program has run various projects across Greater Shepparton, including karaoke, knitting and sharing war stories. Organisers of the Shepparton-based initiative hope it will be come an example for other communities to follow and implement in the future.

Source: Shepparton News | November 2019