Every Friday I take my guitar from classroom to classroom where I encourage children and staff to join in singing hymns. From bridging class children of five to the older students of 17, this is an opportunity for all to enjoy the music. As these students have severe disabilities, I aim to bring some joy to the children and respite to the staff.
As they age, many people experience, among other things, significant sight loss. Not only do they find reading difficult, but they find they can no longer hold a driver’s licence and social interaction becomes more difficult. As well as not being able to recognise people, read signs and screens, they may find ordinary tasks such as cooking and sewing very difficult or even impossible. They experience a lack of control over their lives.
Vision Australia has a number of peer groups many of which are conducted over the phone. I take part in Quality Living Groups where a staff member aided by a peer volunteer (like me) explore the difficulties and solutions appropriate for the group members. These groups can be face to face or phone based. I also mentor individuals over the phone.
Each month an in-house newsletter entitled Just Jottings goes out to Australian FCJs and Companions in Mission. It contains relevant information from Australia and gives a list of significant dates for the coming month. Readers are encouraged to write to their politicians on matters of justice and to take part in Rallies and meetings in Melbourne.
Christian Life Communities
This world-wide Community of Ignatian spirituality is strong in Australia. We are encouraged to meet nationally and regionally on an annual basis, and most small groups meet fortnightly. A lay Catholic organisation, it has become the spiritual home for many of us over the years. I have been a Guide of a local group for over 30 years.