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Gold coast retirees help with school readiness program

Every Monday and Thursday afternoon, there is a hive of activity amongst the craft group at TriCare Runaway Bay Retirement Community.

Whether they are knitting beanies for The Mission to Seafarers, trauma teddies for the Red Cross or library bags for the Kalwun Early Learning Program in Burleigh Heads, the production levels are high!

Resident Margaret Small has been living at TriCare Runaway Bay for a little over three years and looks forward to her weekly craft afternoons.

“We knit, sew, crochet, paint and raise money for charity along the way.

“I have more time on my hands these days so I think why not help where I can,” said Mrs Small.

One project Mrs Small, Jessie Townsend and the craft group are particularly fond of is making library bags, clothes and slippers for pre-school children in the Kalwun Early Learning program.  One of the first of its kind on the Gold Coast, the Kalwun Early Learning program is a school readiness program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 3-5.

“It’s such a wonderful place. It helps the children understand their cultural heritage before they head off to school,” said Mrs Small.

Kalwun Early Learning Program Community Liaison Officer, Trish Borg, can’t thank Mrs Small and Mrs Townsend enough.

“Margaret and Jessie approached us last year after hearing about our program through their local church.

“Their sewing is so appreciated by the children and their families. It was a thrill to be able to present 24 children with library bags at their kindergarten graduation last year, to use in prep the following year, and beyond,” said Ms Borg.

Affectionately known as ‘the grannies’, Mrs Small and Mrs Townsend are regular visitors to Kalwun, most recently bringing a bag full of dress ups for the children purchased at a local garage sale.

“Not all the children have close ties with their grandparents, so it is wonderful to have the influence of an older generation at the kindergarten,” said Ms Borg.

For further information contact the Village Manager, Malcolm Payne on 5500 2300.