Author Archives: Grace Demaio

Community Languages Grant awarded to Italian Language Centre (a division of Co.As.It. Community Services Ltd)

In early 2021, the Italian Language Centre was delighted to be selected as the fortunate recipient of a Community Languages Multicultural Grant under the Multicultural sector of the Department of Home Affairs.

In keeping with its mission ‘to sustain our national unity in cultural diversity’, the office of Multicultural Affairs provides the opportunity for community language schools to apply for grants under its Community Languages Multiple Grants Program. The program provides funding to eligible community language schools to help young Australian students learn another language and connect to the language and culture of their forefathers.

The Multicultural Affairs office believes that teaching language and culture through community schools contributes to strengthening social cohesion and building strong communities.

The grant’s aim is to support the teaching and learning of languages other than English thus connecting students to the language and culture of their community and improving cross-cultural awareness and respect for cultural diversity.

ILC was thrilled with the grant which will fund a Project to develop a curriculum for teaching Italian to multi-age and multi-grade classes outside of school hours.

The curriculum is being developed by a team of experienced mother-tongue ILC teachers, experts in the teaching of Italian to speakers of other languages.  The Project will be completed by end-June, just in time for the start of Semester 2 After School Italian classes.

ILC is grateful to the Department of Home Affairs’ Multicultural office for granting the opportunity to create a new curriculum which will guide teachers to deliver engaging lessons and enhance the community school’s teaching and learning of Italian language and culture.

Harmonious Workplace Celebrates Multiculturalism

Harmonious Workplace Celebrates Multiculturalism

About 60 people gathered at Co.As.It. recently, to celebrate Harmony Day. With enough food to feed five times as many people, the acknowledgement that we’ve all come from somewhere else was demonstrated by food from all over the world. Having acknowledge the Turrbal and Jagera peoples as the traditional owners of the land, staff shared recipes and dishes from their ancestors’ countries of origin, before participating in some gentle Latin dancing.

With staff speaking a total of 52 languages, other than English, Co.As.It. is a microcosm of Australia and definitely somewhere that should celebrate its successful multiculturalism. What began as a day to acknowledge March 21st, the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, has grown to a week of celebrating Australia’s multiculturalism and the successful integration of immigrants into the community.

Co.As.It. staff placed posters, maps, flags and other mementos of their heritage on the walls and chatted about the history of the foods they had brought, almost all of which were home-made. The blue and orange Co.As.It. uniforms were enriched with Mexican tapestry belts, national soccer team shirts and various other accessories, or by additional orange, the Harmony Day colour. The Harmony Day website states that traditionally, orange signifies social communication and meaningful conversations. It also relates to the freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect. Many people choose to wear something orange during Harmony Week to show their support for cultural diversity and an inclusive Australia.

Co.As.It. runs free weekly dance classes at the Italian Language Centre in Newmarket and staff were treated to half an hour of dancing with professional Latin dance teacher Rafael Pitarello. Staff left the event feeling refreshed and that night, many family members were treated to leftovers from the day. For information about Co.As.It.’s free dance classes, contact Cintia Paolino on 3624 6100 or email cintiap@coasit.asn.au.

Dance Your Way to Better Physical and Mental Health

Would you like to improve the condition of your heart and lungs, muscle tone and strength, balance and spatial awareness, mental functioning, general and psychological wellbeing as well as increase your muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness, aerobic fitness, physical confidence, self-confidence and self-esteem, coordination, agility and flexibility as well as get better social skills, improve weight management and strengthen your bones to reduce the risk of osteoporosis? Obviously the answer is yes! According to Victoria Health, dancing can help you achieve all of this and the greatest bonus is that it’s fun.

Of the multitude of dance styles, ballroom, Latin, line dancing, square dancing, jazz, ballet, contemporary, tap, etc. etc., there’s bound to be one to suit every taste and age. Co.As.It. Community Services Ltd offers free Latin dance classes for anyone aged over 16, who can move independently without aids such as walking sticks or wheelies. The classes are held Thursday afternoons at the Italian Language Centre, Newbery Street, Newmarket and are taught by a qualified Latin dance teacher who breaks the steps down and goes at a pace suitable for even the most basic of beginners.

The physical health benefits listed above are fairly obvious, what is less obvious, however, is the benefit to mental functioning of creating new neural pathways, which happens when you’re learning new steps. The more complex your neural synapses are, the better your memory is. Learning anything new, such as choreography to a dance routine, is an effective way to create new neural pathways. As a result, your brain has an easier time accessing stored information and memories, such as names and places[i].

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine states that dancing decreases the risk of dementia by 76 percent. Other physical activities such as bicycling, swimming, and playing golf had no effect. Yet, dancing was even better for maintaining mental acuity than cognitive activities such as reading and doing crossword puzzles.

Classes are conducted in a COVID-safe environment with the option of dancing opposite partners without holding hands. People who live in the same household are welcome to use the correct dance hold, but there’s absolutely no need to have a partner. Come and make new friends, or bring some friends with you. Bookings are essential, so contact Cintia by phone, 3624 6100.

Social outings are back!

Our social group outings are back after a long hiatus. The first for 2021 will take place on the 22 February 2021 from Brisbane South to the Botanical Gardens Cafe and then to Greenmount RSL.  You can check out the information on the flyer here. For those living on the north side of Brisbane, the same trip is on offer – you can view the flyer here. The social outings have been a hallmark of Co.As.It. for over 40 years.  Participation is for people who are over 65 and have contacted My Aged Care and obtained a referral for social support (which enables participation in ‘social groups’). The program falls under Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CSHP). The process can be started via a call to My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 (free call).

Dementia Information Session – In Italian

Incontro informativo presso l’Italian Language Centre. Argomento: “Cambiamenti di personalità e comportamento nelle persone con la demenza.” (Si propongono valide strategie & efficaci atteggiamenti per il caregiver)
English Translation:
Informative ‘get together’ at the Italian Language Centre. 42 Newbery Street, Newmarket.
Topic: ‘How to Deal with challenging behaviours in people living with dementia”.
The presentation will be in Italian.
Strictly limited numbers. Please register to attend by calling Cintia on 3624 6100.
Bookings are essential. FREE COVID-safe event.
Ages 16+ are welcome.
If anything changes due to COVID we will inform all registered attendees.
If you cannot attend and/or you do not understand Italian – please visit www.coasit.asn.au/videos/ to view information on ‘Understanding Dementia’ in English and Italian.

SGA Update Tuesday 12 January

All Social Group Activity centres are closed until 25 January 2021 in line with the Qld Govt. Public Health Direction, provided there are zero cases of community transmission until 1am on 22nd January.

All Stay Active Classes are postponed until 25 January 2021 in line with the Qld Govt. Public Health Direction, provided there are zero cases of community transmission until 1am on 22nd January.

All Dance Classes are postponed until 28 January 2021 in line with the Qld Govt. Public Health Direction, provided there are zero cases of community transmission until 1am on 22nd January. There are a few spots left – every Thursday at 3.15 pm – 4.15 pm – please call 3624 6100 to reserve your spot.

A thought for those in need

Christmas is a polarising time of year. For most, it is a time to gather with family and reflect on the year that was. For others, it exacerbates loneliness and isolation. In a year when isolation has been the over-riding theme, Co.As.It. Community Services Ltd has tried to show some of its most vulnerable clients that they’re not alone and that people care about them. Forty very deserving clients received luxury hampers with contents individually sourced and packed by Co.As.It. staff. Judging by the tears and deep gratitude expressed by most recipients, this small gesture made a big difference by brightening many Christmases.

One client has been recently widowed and forced to move to less expensive rental accommodation. As a pensioner, whose only child lives overseas and without family in Queensland, she was facing a bleak Christmas. While the hamper won’t change her isolation on Christmas day, it will at least remind her that there are people near who care about her and it will enable her to indulge a little over the festive season.

Another client has a daughter who lives in Austria and a son who lives in Hervey Bay, but doesn’t visit. She has daily telephone contact with a brother, but no face-to-face contact. She was overwhelmed and delighted to receive the hamper, stating that she will be spending Christmas day alone.

For most of us, the lifting of border restrictions and the number of people allowed to gather in homes, means that a “Covid-normal” Christmas won’t be very different to a usual Christmas. Unfortunately, for many elderly and disadvantaged Australians, being alone at Christmas is usual. Whilst a Christmas hamper may not fill the void created by the absence of family and friends, it does remind people that there are others who care about them and wish them well, now and throughout the year.

The humility of some clients can be overwhelming. One of the recipients has recently been discharged from hospital and is receiving shopping assistance. He rents with two other men and has not seen any family members for more than 40 years, but despite this, suggested that perhaps Co.As.It. should give the hamper to a “more deserving” client. He was assured that he was very deserving and he ultimately accepted the hamper, but wouldn’t smile in the photo due to his lack of teeth.

Another deserving recipient is recovering from two surgeries intended to improve her mobility, whilst visiting her 20-something son who’s recently been diagnosed with two aggressive cancers, in hospital every day. A Co.As.It. client since 2015, this lovely woman is always ready with a cold drink and a biscuit for her care workers, conscious that they often spend all day out and about.

 

Every hamper recipient has been overcome with gratitude and each one was truly deserving. Co.As.It. wishes each and every client and their families a very Merry Christmas and a happy 2021.

International Women’s Day

Due to the current uncertainty regarding COVID, management has taken the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event in March. The decision is due to the Queensland Government’s Public Health Directives that are in place until 1am on 22nd January 2021.  Without the guarantee of no further restrictions after the 22nd of January,  the event cannot go ahead.

Co.As.It. Shines in the Eyes of Clients and Regulator

Co.As.It. Community Services Ltd comes up trumps in regulator’s audit.  100% compliance was achieved in all eight of the new Aged Care Quality Standards. The performance report is available to view by the public on the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission website. https://www.agedcarequality.gov.au/services/coasit-community-services-700747

The organisation has undergone triennial audits since 2000 and has always met the relevant service standards.  The New Aged Care Quality Standards have been implemented by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and came into force from 1st July 2019. For each standard, providers must demonstrate that they:

·      understand the requirement;

·      apply the requirement, and this is clear in the way they provide care and services;

·      monitor how they are applying the requirement and the outcomes they achieve; and

·      review outcomes and adjust their practices based on these reviews to keep improving.

 

Conducted over three days, auditors spoke to clients, community care workers, co-ordinators, clinical and allied health team leaders and management to confirm Co.As.It.’s compliance with the standards that stipulate eight outcomes for clients. Each standard stipulates a client outcome addressing the following:

1.    Consumer dignity and choice

2.    Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers

3.    Personal care and clinical care

4.    Services and supports for daily living

5.    Organisation’s service environment

6.    Feedback and complaints

7.    Human resources and

8.    Organisational governance

It was a great outcome for the organisation with no specific areas identified for improvements. Co.As.It. abides by its continuous improvement policy and will always endeavour to review and improve systems and processes. This allows the organisation to meet the needs of its clients, staff and government expectations.