Seventeen-year-old Doncaster East local, Hannah Senior, and 17-year-old Caroline Springs local, Minseo Kim, are busy teens at The Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School in Victoria, but have found the time to create an inspiring program to bridge the gap between the young and young at heart through their ‘Letters Against ISO’ program.
Created by Hannah and fellow members of Macrob Interact Club, each week students hand write letters of encouragement to the elderly living in aged care homes to show support and alleviate social isolation during COVID-19.
To date, 2000 letters have been handwritten and sent (via email) to aged care homes across Victoria and Australia. There are now more than 950 writers nationally taking part in the project.
Hannah and Minseo send out a template to each aged care facility, which send back individual names, their hobbies etc., so the letters are personalised. There are also letters written in different languages such as Greek, Arabic and Chinese, which helps students brush up on their language skills.
Hannah and Minseo say their elderly new friends love the project, which is developing a unique relationship between the young teens and the elderly in the community. The ladies want to expand their project to reach as many elderly residents as possible.
“Our Interact club is all about community spirit. Knowing we have put a smile on someone’s face who may be feeling isolated is the greatest feeling,” Hannah said.
“I noticed this sense of profound loneliness that seems to hang around a lot of older people during COVID-19 and the hardest part was trying to do something to help without being patronising. I think we have found something that adds true value,” Minseo added.