New Silver Fox Community positive ageing initiative

Call for volunteers to join Silver Fox Community

THE Silver Fox Community is a non-profit organisation and Positive Ageing initiative providing a unique opportunity for Seniors and children to learn from each other through a wealth of life experience and knowledge shared. 

The project, launching on the Sunshine Coast, is presently inviting Seniors to Volunteer as Silver Fox Ambassadors.

This involves mentoring younger students in classroom settings with literacy, living and local history activities.

These will be scheduled once a week for 1 to 2 hours over a school term.

"This will surround classes over grades four and five and it will involve seniors in history projects, local history projects, life story projects and it will build up an understanding and connection between the youngest members of our community and the oldest members of our community," founder of Silver Fox Community Francis Harnett said. 

At the end of the project an exhibition highlighting new connections made across generations will be hosted with Local Council Libraries and Surf Clubs to focus on the value of a diverse and inclusive community.

"It's as much a program for the entire community ad it is for seniors to serve as an example within their own community - the seniors community as well," Francis said. 

Professional and non-professional women and men who are over 65 years of age and retired or still working are encouraged to apply, as are Seniors of different cultural backgrounds.

The concept is taken from a successful US Program aimed at Positive Ageing through purposeful activities connecting both young and old.

Known outcomes include improvements in wellbeing, physical and mental health as well as creating a better society.

The advantages in Volunteering are many, the social, emotional and educational exchanges are beneficial and felt by all participants.

"It is namely an initiative to combat ageism and what we want to do and what we want to achieve is to re-cast age in a dynamic light," Francis said. 

Teachers are also provided an untapped resource, and families of participants in the project are known to enjoy improved relations and support.

Francis developed the idea to complement the Senior Rights advocacy work he undertook with his wife, the present Chair of the Elder Law Committee.

"We're all living longer," Francis said. 

"By 2050 there will be as many people over 65 years of age as there will be under 18 years of age and we talk of this shift in demographic in alarming ways and what it's going to cost us in a negative light but what we want to do is to recast the value that only our seniors can bring to our community and to shed an exciting light upon it."

Australia is ranked 17th on the Global Age Friendly index placing it last among western countries.

Francis identifies a positive and pragmatic approach to countering this through the project.

"A successful society needs village like qualities, one where we're all connected, not isolated, and in which the value of Seniors and the contributions only they can make are appreciated and given purpose," he said.

If you or a friend or family member would like to Volunteer please visit silverfox.org.au and fill in the online form or write to admin@silverfox.org.au and Silver Fox Community will send a printable form. 

If you are a school or Senior Care provider please feel free to contact them for project details and on how to participate.


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