WC program brings generations together

WEST CARLETON – Generations have battled each other for, well, generations.

The Greatest Generation are those who fought in World War Two, followed by the Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and now Gen Z is on the scene (born after 1996).

Seemingly every generation has a beef with the one that follows. If you are on social media, surely you have seen Gen Z fighting back with its succinct and very hashtag-able phrase ‘Okay, Boomer’ – a term gaining popularity used to dismiss or mock attitudes stereotypically attributed to Baby Boomers.

But Gillian Mattoch is trying to bridge that gap and bring people of all ages together. She is the program coordinator for the Sharing Wisdom, Lives and Hearts program in West Carleton.

Wisdom, Life and Hearts Across the Ages is a government-funded program offering service and community support to all residents in the West Carleton area, in a manner that respects, educates and supports diversity and inclusiveness of all.

The program has six cross-generational activities planned between September and March 2020.

West Carleton Online has attended two of the activities hosted by the program over the last week and a bit (and will be a big part of a third). On Thursday, Nov. 7 Mattoch brought seniors and youth together for an evening called So You Can Sew held at the Huntley Parish Hall. The program was held over four nights on Nov. 5, 7, 12 and 14. Two of those nights involved the local Brownies group and the other two were open to all youth.

The program had seniors pairing with youth and passing their knowledge and skills with a sewing machine down to the younger generation.

For several of the young women on hand, it was their first time working with a sewing machine. Senior Cherith Cook was showing Charlotte MacIsaac, 7, how to sew a pocket on to a shirt.

“This is an excellent idea,” Cook told West Carleton Online. “It’s a great program.”

Mattoch told West Carleton Online it was about more than learning to sew.

“The kids are learning the tools, but mostly it’s about getting the youngsters together with the seniors and doing something fun,” Mattoch said.

The Tuesday before (Nov. 5), the program had 16 Brownies participating. The night we were present, there were about 10 youth participating. Both nights had about eight seniors participating.

“Through our project, our activities will deepen the connections between young and old and give each generation a greater understanding of what the other faces in day to day life,” Mattoch said. “The event brought the wisdom and skill of the seniors to pass it on to the youth.”

Mattoch said it was successful event for all ages.

“It was so relaxing and lovely,” she said. “The young and old all wanted to know when the next one was. Each generation found delight in spending time with the other generation.”

The events Wisdom, Lives and Hearts run have varied purposes, themes and goals. The following day Mattoch was at the Kinburn Community Centre to speak on Elder Abuse at the Kinburn Seniors monthly meeting.

The program provided lunch catered by Tea & Cake of Almonte and guest speakers.

Gillian Mattoch speaks to Kinburn seniors about elder abuse at the Kinburn Community Centre on Nov. 8. Photo by Jake Davies
Gillian Mattoch speaks to Kinburn seniors about elder abuse at the Kinburn Community Centre on Nov. 8. Photo by Jake Davies

Elder Abuse Ontario certified counselor Stephanie Cadieux and Mattoch spoke on some of the abuse issues facing seniors which can be as subtle as an adult child taking advantage of a situation. Fraud officers Catherine Metcalfe and Laurie Selle from the Royal Bank in Kinburn also spoke.

“This is a major one,” Mattoch told West Carleton Online. “We catered for 65. We like to feed you well and we’re welcoming and friendly.”

The elder abuse event was focused on helping seniors protect themselves from the scams designed to specifically target them.

“Everyone here has the right to make their own decisions,” Cadieux told the seniors after a presentation. “It’s fundamentally your right.”

Selle told the audience between January 2014 and December 2016 Canadians lost $290 million to fraud.

“I’m not here to scare you, I’m here to inform you and secure you,” Selle said. “Fraud has many different faces. It’s about trusting your gut and talking to people who you know. Be suspicious and don’t give out your passwords.”

The next event for Sharing Wisdom, Lives and Hearts is another workshop. Mattoch will be hosting Don’t Be Afraid of Technology in February.

“We will be holding a workshop outlining basic technology for seniors led by a mixture of age groups from Grade 10 and up,” Mattoch said. “Your cell phone, camera, iPad, computer skills etc. How do I get an email address? How can I get a Facebook page? Safety concerns, scams, on-going support. This will take part in Huntley Parish Hall. Details will be available in January.”

If you would like to be a mentor, or a guest, or would like more information please register online at sharingwisdomlivesandhearts.com or e-mail artym6083@gmail.com or phone to leave a message on 613 832 0552.