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(The Catholic Weekly/Marilyn Rodrigues)

An art program at a Sydney Catholic parish is fostering connections between young adults and seniors from multicultural communities who are facing isolation and loneliness. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

The French painter Henri Matisse said creativity takes courage, and that’s certainly true of Eterio Herrera. The 66-year-old empty nester is looking for new challenges. 

Last month Terry, as his friends call him, joined art classes that brought university students and seniors together in an intergenerational program hosted by Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Fairfield.

“I have never done painting in my life before but I’m enjoying this, it’s something fun to do and I’m learning at the same time,” he said.

The Connection Through Creativity program fosters connections between young adults and seniors from multicultural communities who are facing isolation and loneliness especially in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic and restrictions.

The program is run by Sydney-based charity Good Neighbours Australia in partnership with Australian Catholic University with funding from the NSW Government.

It relies on the efficacy of art as a form of therapy and is a way to make friends across cultures and age groups.

Belinda Dona of Good Neighbours said the participants are “not only getting out of the house, being active and making friends, they’re learning new skills and being an art activity it is easier for them to engage if there is a bit of a language issue”.

Caroline Allen, senior community engagement officer at ACU, said the community engagement opportunity is not only an important part of a student’s degree program, but also key to ACU’s mission in serving the common good and enhancing the dignity and wellbeing of people and communities.


Connecting youth and seniors through creativity (By Marilyn Rodrigues, The Catholic Weekly)