YOUNG AND OLD: Mary and Reef Little pictured at the first Arts 4 the Ages session in Proserpine.
YOUNG AND OLD: Mary and Reef Little pictured at the first Arts 4 the Ages session in Proserpine. Michelle Andrews

Showing all are young at art

THERE were smiles all around the Proserpine Nursing Home last Friday when Art 4 the Ages was officially launched for the first time.

The program, coordinated by local resident Lisa Smith, had 13 children aged 1.5 to 10 years old and 23 residents sitting side-by-side working on art projects together under the supervision of local artist Linda Forrester.

Proserpine Nursing Home activities officer Debbie Jones said the smiles and constant chatting she witnessed among children and residents was an amazing sight.

"It was wonderful! We saw some residents speaking and laughing who don't normally come to activities, but they gave it a go,” Ms Jones said.

"Everybody had a great time. They talked about it for the rest of the afternoon and are really looking forward to the next one.”

Ms Jones said one particular resident usually found it difficult to interact with anyone, but one little boy "brought her to life” and they chatted the afternoon away.

"These residents, they come to activities and we entertain them and they love that, but to be entertained by the little ones - there were smiles all around.”

Ms Smith said it was "heart-warming” to watch the interactions between the children and residents and that the event was more successful than she could have envisioned.

"Some of the children were hesitant at first, a little unsure, but by the end many of them were giving hugs and cuddles and really enjoyed their time,” Ms Smith said.

"The kids really seemed to connect and engage with the residents. Everyone enjoyed the activity and really got involved with making it their own.”

Ms Smith said she was thrilled that the parents had got involved in the art projects as well as the children.

"The parents play such a huge role in an event like this as they usually need to encourage their child to interact and help them warm up to the residents,” she said.

"It can be intimidating for a small child to walk into a room of strangers, so it's great that the parents made such an effort to talk with the residents and encourage their kids to do the same.

"One mum there said that she told her school-age son that this event wasn't about him, it was about giving back to people and the community, and I thought that was a really great message to be sending our children.”

The next Art 4 the Ages event will be held on August 3 from 9.30am. Participants are encouraged to purchase tickets before they run out.

Ms Smith described the sessions as "easy and fun” and a fantastic way to expose children to the ageing population so they can become comfortable with them and develop empathy.

"I believe it's important for them to learn from a young age that they have the ability to positively impact people around them, simply by being kind, spending time with them, and getting to know them,” she said.

Tickets can be purchased for $10 from the Art 4 the Ages event on the Facebook page.

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