Greek Day for seniors
25-Oct-2013 9:48 AM
Opa! Seniors at Villa Maria’s White Road Activity and Respite Centre enjoyed a taste of Greece on Monday, October 21 thanks to a special visit from the Australian Greek Welfare Society (AGWS).
The celebration was in recognition of Oci Day (October 28) – the anniversary of former Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas’ rejection of the Italians’ request for free passage to invade Greece in 1940.
White Road Team Leader Angela Ng said celebrating cultural diversity was a key theme at the centre, which offers social and recreational opportunities for older people who are frail, have dementia, an acquired brain injury or a disability.
“Here at White Road 55 per cent of our service users were born outside of Australia in countries including China (22 per cent), England (12 per cent), Scotland (four per cent), Germany and Malaysia (three per cent) and Greece (two per cent). We feel it’s very important to honour their heritage and also enlighten others about their culture. And for people living with dementia, having exposure to traditional music, food and clothing, for example, can act as prompts to help reconnect people with their past. We also celebrated St Patrick’s Day, Chinese New Year, and are planning for an Italian theme next year.”
Angela said around 30 White Road service users, family members and staff members relished the opportunity to experience some Greek culture.
Adonis Maglis, AGWS Community Services Officer, held an interactive slide show also covering various regions of Greece, customs and history, religious rituals and traditional foods. The highlight of the day was a performance by ‘Anemones’ - a volunteer Greek women’s dancing group who performed traditional dances from regions across the country, followed by some Greek delicacies for morning tea.
Adonis, who presents to many aged and community organisations, said the reaction from the crowd was fantastic.
“People always love the experience, particularly if there is one or two Greek people as they don’t feel so isolated and can celebrate their culture and identity with others. A lot of people from other backgrounds say, ‘this custom or food is so similar to what we do in Serbia or Macedonia’, or wherever they may be from. Celebrating cultures really brings people together and it’s also a bit of cultural enlightenment for staff who are present.”
White Road staff members will soon undertake a training workshop with AGWS regarding effective CALD engagement. Angela said this was part of a long-term plan to attract more people from diverse cultures to the service, and provide the types of programs that were meaningful to them.
For more information about White Road, please call Angela on (03) 9800 7210 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Interviews and photograph opportunities are available upon request.
Media enquiries: call Cassie Zlonzak on (03) 9855 7729 or 0406 382 560.
About Villa Maria
Villa Maria is a values–based, not-for-profit organisation providing quality services and life enhancing opportunities for older people, children and adults with a disability, their families and carers.
Established in 1907 as the Catholic Braille Writers Association, Villa Maria has grown to become one of Victoria’s largest not-for-profit providers of disability, education and senior services with more than 60 programs supporting 5,000 people across the state and southern New South Wales.
Every day of the year, 1,100 staff and 300 volunteers respond to the unique needs of the people and families we support with openness, innovation, creativity and flexibility.