Making Real Connections

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Griffith University researcher Greg Cronan is using video conferencing to connect young school students and older people living in residential care. The resulting intergenerational learning is benefiting both groups by building a connected community of mutual learning, empathy, respect and faith.

The school children are learning new vocabulary, gaining historical knowledge, and improving their talking and listening skills. In the meantime, the older people are experiencing improvements in mental well-being, social connection and even in their eating and sleeping patterns. They are also engaging with new technologies that can help them to keep up their interests and connections beyond the video conferences.

Greg’s project is a great example of how we can respond to the challenge posed by the Australian Bishops’ Social Justice Statement 2019-20, Making It Real: Genuine Human Encounter in Our Digital World to use digital technology to foster genuine human encounter. Furthermore, it reflects the concern of Pope Francis to build a culture of encounter:

“I would like to encourage everyone to engage in constructive forms of communication that reject prejudice towards others and foster a culture of encounter, helping all of us to view the world around us with realism and trust.”

Pope Francis, quoted in Making it Real: Genuine Human Encounter in our Digital World, p 13.

Read more about the project in this article by Marilyn Rodrigues in the Catholic Weekly, or this article on the Southern Cross Care NSW/ACT website.

If you are interested in implementing this project in your community, you can contact Greg at Email: gregory.cronan@griffithuni.edu.au