Greetings dear readers of this October edition of the Lively Gazette!
Welcome to issue #17 of our monthly Lively newsletter - a place for the newest and juiciest stories from our Helpers, Members and greater community. October has certainly been a month to remember, not least for many of our Lively Helpers (myself included) who have finished our second semester of university and are onto the dreaded exams! A personal highlight of mine this month was seeing the "Monet & Friends" exhibition at THE LUME Melbourne (pictured above), which certainly gave me greater insight into French Impressionism - I can't recommend it highly enough!
As per usual, many Lively Helper and HQ staff reflections are in this edition to offer personal insights into all things Lively, and the many adventures our community get up to. However, this month we're also featuring something a bit different and exciting! Please enjoy the Lively Member short story which I'm sure will resonate with many of us coffee drinkers and culture enthusiasts alike. I also hope the story will inspire more writing-minded members of our community to submit something similar in the future!
We would also like to invite all members of our Lively community to our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday November 24th at Our Community House (552 Victoria St, North Melbourne) from 5:30-7:30pm. The formal meeting will reflect and report on the previous year (2021-2022), but there may also be some social and celebratory drinks afterwards! Please direct all questions and RSVPs to Lively Secretary, Michelle, at email@example.com.
Please enjoy this October edition of the Gazette. I look forward to writing the next one for you all soon and hope to read some of your stories in the form or firstname.lastname@example.org inbox.
Calling all Members for their creative insights and short stories!
This October, I would like to invite all dear readers of our Lively Gazette to be inspired. This past month, I (Serena) have had the pleasure of working with Michelle - a Member who usually works with our lovely Helper Michelle (funnily enough!). Member Michelle’s fighting spirit and keen intellect always shone through in our conversations. One day while we were out for a coffee, she told me about the first time she had a taste of coffee - and the intensity of the memory. Intrigued by the story, I suggested she write about it and indeed, she already had! Please enjoy the following words by Lively Member Michelle on the experience. I strongly encourage any Members with a comparable passion for writing to submit something similar!
Lively Member Michelle's story
"I became a Lively Member when I was diagnosed with ME/CFS aka 'chronic fatigue'. My MIL, Coral, is a Member helped by Chloe, so Lively came highly recommended. My Helper Michelle B. uses her energy & humour to help keep me and my plants fed & watered, and my many DIY projects progressing. When she is on leave, Serena kindly steps in. That continuity of care is so reassuring. Now my Mum has enrolled in the Buds program so it’s a real family affair."
– Words from Lively Member, Michelle
My first cappuccino
Suburban Melbourne, 1972. Not exactly a food or culture mecca. Dad decided to take our family to the 'Queen Vic Market'. It was quite something. When you're four years old, you mainly see legs. Everything else comes in glimpses, as you try not to lose your parents in the crowd. Then we got to the Deli hall. The counters were marble with huge glass windows edged in shining brass. Each little stall was piled high: with golden rounds of bread, gleaming jewelled fruit tarts, golden blocks of fresh butter and cheese, heaps of nuts and dried fruit. Above were festoons of exotic small goods: salamis, ham hocks, dried chilis, and things we didn't even have a name for. The sights and smells were intoxicating. I had never seen, or even imagined, anything like it.
Dad stopped at a stall, where a huge silver and brass machine hissed and growled and belched steam like a dragon in a fairytale. Behind the counter was an old man with a bald head. His deep set eyes held a twinkle, which somehow also reminded me of wizards. "Hello, Chief," called Dad, "It's time the twins had their first proper coffee." "Of course, sir, of course!" his voice was a raspy whisper, "Cappuccino for the beautiful bambini." The exotic name rolled from his mouth like an incantation. Mum said, "John, coffee? Do you really think you ought to, they're only little..." (Mum was a nurse with professional views on what things were and weren't good for children.) Dad refused the hint, which was unusual, and we were going to have this 'cappuccino': "I make very mild for bambini, nothing but good" the old man reassured her.
It was quite a ceremony. The machine hissed and whirred, and gushed steam noises, and the old man pulled levers and banged things and smiled and nodded. After this frantic activity, I was handed a china cup of something that looked like frothed hot milk. I wasn't very fond of hot milk, but the old man was smiling at me, and urging me to drink in his husky whisper, and his bald head glistened, wreathed with the steam from his machine. I didn't really want to, I was expecting it to be nasty. I remember thinking I'll have a bit and say it's very nice, thank you, and then the grown ups will leave me alone.
So I tried it, and it wasn't nasty, it was good. It was strange, but really good. Even better than chocolate milk, which up until that point was the height of my culinary discrimination, more mysterious and somehow more grown-up, more... I didn't have a word for it, then... more cosmopolitan. This man with his twinkling eyes and his thundering machine was fascinating too. As we sipped the scalding brew, Dad told us about how he'd come to Australia from a long way away, right on the other side of the world, after a war. Dad knew him because this was one of the few places open early in the morning, and on cold mornings Dad liked to stop in if he was passing, to warm up. He called the old man, Chief, and the old man called Dad, Sir, and both their eyes sparkled. I could see that although they didn't say much, they were friends.
My very first cappuccino sparked a love affair that continues to this day: with coffee, with food, but most of all with a romantic idea of what the unknown has to offer. The idea that there might be lots of other exciting and strange but rather wonderful things and people out there, in the world, if you just go out and find them.
– Story by Lively Member, Michelle
This October, our Lively Helpers have again been visiting various new and old Tech Help programs around the city, as well as developing personal skills of their own!
Summary of the October Helper Meet-Up: Employability Skills
As an update from last month's edition of the Lively Gazette, please enjoy Helper Jess' reflection on the Meet-Up with Emily Dally (employment pathways specialist from Westpac) and Natalie Warren (City of Melbourne’s Healthy Ageing Connections Officer).
“Personally I found the October meet-up extremely useful, Emily helped us apply skills we have learned from our positions at Lively to future career opportunities. This demonstrated how versatile employability skills are even across career paths outside of the Helper role. We also touched on the do's and don'ts of resume development and I feel I am better equipped to apply this new knowledge when job hunting in the future. Overall, it was an amazing opportunity to listen to all the guest speakers at the October meet-up, it was a very educational session.”
– Words from Lively Helper, Jess
Kensington Neighbourhood Centre: reflections and unexpected fashion!
Nothing makes us happier than when Lively Helpers encourage their friends to join the Lively community and workplace as a Helper! Please enjoy this great story Xinran sent in about her friend, neighbour, and new Lively Helper, McKenna.
“The photo was taken at a pop-up community tech help session in Kensington. It was McKenna's very first session after she joined Lively. After the session, when she moved the A-frame into the room, she accidentally messed up her pants (but they look pretty cool as far as I'm concerned lol).
McKenna was my neighbour and we've known each other for almost 3 years. I tried to "force" her to join Lively for many many times and about three months ago, I finally got her onboard. She has a passion for helping people and you can tell that from how early she calls me to get up every Thursday morning as we need to go to Kensington together for the pop-up community tech help sessions. She told me she didn't want to let the Members wait for us.
There are several Members who speak Cantonese only at the Kensington centre. We couldn't help them before as we didn't have any Cantonese-speaking Helpers, although they looked eager to ask some questions. I video-called McKenna once so she could translate for us. She was very patient and even offered to come to the centre with me as a volunteer (she hadn't joined Lively back then) just to help the Cantonese-speaking lady. After McKenna started her journey with Lively, the first thing she did was to go to the Kensington Centre and helped the lady who she had spoken to via the phone as a translator. They had a good chat, which I couldn't understand, but I could tell how happy the lady was through her smiles.”
– Words from Lively Helper, Xinran
New Lively Helper McKenna: Favourite parts of working with Lively
Next up is a reflection from McKenna herself on her first experiences working at Lively 😊
“Hi all! McKenna here again! I’ve officially started my work at Lively for a month now! I’ve been providing tech assistance mainly in the Kensington centre. I’m loving this job so much as all of the members are so nice and enthusiastic! There are a lot of Chinese elders in the Kensington community, which is a great opportunity for me to build connections with people who share the same culture and language backgrounds as me!
One of my favourite parts is providing translation for different language speakers. For example, the local staff members in the community centre only speak English and when they would like us to sometimes deliver some information to the Chinese members, then Xinran can do Mandarin and I can do Cantonese!
Another amazing part of this job is that I learned Chinese history from those people who had personally experienced that part of history! How amazing it is to hear those experiences that I could never have learnt from textbooks. During conversations, I got to know our members better, which connected us better. Some of them are retired engineers which had made incredible contributions to the design of famous buildings in China. Some of them are retired college teachers and now continue to read books as a hobby. I love to see how passionate and how proud they feel for themselves when talking about their jobs.
The last bit I want to share is, I found this book in the Children’s reading room in the Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre. I love how this book challenges the negative stereotypes that people usually hold toward the old people. I would love to bring this book to kinder (my other job) and invite children to discuss what they think about old people, and what are the amazing things that their grandparents can do!”
– Words from Lively Helper, McKenna
Xinran’s Farewell to the Barry Road Community Centre
"We had 16 sessions at Barry Road Community Centre in the past two months. The Members there are very kind and lovely. One of them, Janice, has advanced skills in terms of using digital devices. She was always helping the other Members during the sessions and curious about learning new skills such as using TikTok or browsing Pinterest.
Jeanne and I were the Helpers there, and Paul came over for a session on his day off. We all love chatting with Janice and listening to her stories. At the end of our last session, Janice made Jeanne, Paul, and me some gorgeous thank-you cards and beautiful plate decorations, together with some chocolates (as shown in the pictures).
I really enjoyed all the sessions we had at Barry Road and I'm looking forward to going back there soon!
– Words from Lively Helper, Xinran
Please enjoy these stories from HQ staff members and our brilliant Hiring Team Helper/HQ duo on their experiences with our most recent hiring round.
Hiring Team update: a message from Lillian and Robin, your Hiring Team crew.
Sadly, last week we had to say goodbye to our fellow Helper Riley. She did an amazing job with helping improve our outreach to young people in our community and we wish her luck on her future endeavours. And since our lovely Riley has moved on to greener pastures a position has opened up on our Hiring team for a keen Helper! Any Lively Helpers keen to apply can do so at https://forms.gle/zhr4m5YftHB5Y5nN7 by 5pm Friday 18 November.
A couple of weeks ago, we tweaked our Helper intake process so candidates have the option either to submit a video application or a written application, whereas beforehand video applications were required for all applicants. This provides more options to suit candidates' preferences and improves the accessibility of our application process, and has had a great result so far! We have received the highest amount of applications out of the previous few intakes and have been working hard on reviewing those applications.
Our outreach to different universities and the conversations with our different contacts to spread the word about Lively and the positions available has been successful as we have been receiving applications from across the city.
We have also been keeping our LinkedIn updated and posting more regularly has been a great source for us to share all the amazing things that we have been doing at Lively.
We will be working on hiring 4-5 new Helpers to join our amazing team and ensuring that they have a great experience throughout the process. Do keep an eye out for our new Helpers joining us soon! :)”
– Words from Lively Helper, Lillian and Helper Coordinator, Robin
Invitation from Anna for Lively community members to the 'Better Ageing Lab' showcase event
Over the course of this year, I’ve been participating in a fantastic initiative called the BetterAgeing Lab (BAL). BAL is a facilitated design process that aims to deeply understand the challenges of ageing in Australia today, and to spark system-level innovations that could change this for the better.
My involvement has been driven in part by an interest in how Lively might play a role in some of the initiatives that arise from the Lab, and in part to pursue my own individual passion for building a society that rediscovers and reintegrates a more vital and revered place for elders in our community.
So far, the Lab has been a journey of feeling into all that is wrong with the way that our society currently views and values our elders, and the systemic forces that keep this in place. But it has also been a process of connecting with many inspiring, life-affirming examples and ideas of what ‘better’ could look like. And through this process, the beginning of a future vision is starting to emerge – as are the seedlings of projects that could start to move us in the right direction.
On the 23rd of November, from 11am-1pm, the Lab will be hosting an open session to show our work to date, and to seek constructive feedback from a diverse set of fresh eyes. If you are reading this and are interested in understanding more about the Lab, meeting and connecting with the many other wonderful people who are involved, or getting involved in some way going forward, please come along! There’s no need to be an ‘expert’ or to bring a particular skillset – we’re all affected by ageing in some way, so we all have skin in this game…
If you’re interested in joining, email me (email@example.com) and I will forward all the details through. The session will run at Donkey Wheel House on Bourke St in the Melbourne CBD.
I’ve walked away feeling so energised and inspired after every one of the Better Ageing Lab sessions so far, and I have no doubt that the session on the 23rd will be no different. I heartily recommend coming along if you’re free, and hope to see some wonderful Lively faces there!
– Words from Lively Founder & CEO, Anna
Each month, we hope the Lively Gazette leaves you with something more to chew on, beyond what’s going on directly in the Lively community. This October, the theme is certainly wellbeing so I hope you enjoy the following talking points.
New Tricks Co’s The Better Ageing Podcast
For all avid podcast listeners, please give the The Better Ageing Podcast a try here! It strives to improve the health and wellbeing of the world's ageing population by empowering women and men to live their lives with better health, independence and longevity.
Free Intermediate Tai Chi at SYSCC
For all those seeking a little movement and a lot of socialisation, please check out the intermediate Tai Chi every Thursday from 10am-11am at the South Yarra Senior Citizens Centre. Please see here from more information and registration.
This month's Pearl comes from our Community Relations Builder, Sophia:
"I always feel inspired by Einstein's outlook on life and feel that this quote reflects his humble nature which reminds me of the team here at Lively. I am surrounded by talented people, driven by curiosity to explore what is possible for our Lively Members and Helpers."
Are you a Member, Helper or Friend of Lively with a pearl of wisdom, or any content ideas for the Lively Gazette that you’d like to share with us? We'd love your contribution! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to feature anything in the next edition!