The impact of Amici House on Sonia’s life

Art Class at Amici House in Bracken Ridge

The impact of Amici House on people’s lives can be seen through Sonia Willis’s enthusiasm and passion for the activities and atmosphere in the centre.

She has a weekly busy schedule at the community hub: Art Class (Mondays), Stay Active (Tuesdays), Technology Class (Thursdays) and Yoga Class (Fridays). Wednesdays are set aside for a catch-up time with friends at the centre’s cafe.

It was in 2021 that Sonia first stepped into Amici House. She was attracted by the signs around the Bracken Ridge road and decided, with a friend, to try the cafe.

“Barry (Amici House Coordinator) showed us around, and I was very impressed. So, I started classes right after my visit,” says Sonia.

“I love participating in the activities because I’m retired now. So, otherwise, I’d be at home and not doing anything. I think it’s good to get out and do something nice.”

The Art and Yoga classes are Sonia’s favourite ones. There is no reason why – perhaps due to the fact she joins a group of friends to have a coffee before the classes.

Sonia was emphatic when asked how to describe Amici House to someone who had never heard about it.

“Come along and enjoy the company of wonderful people and great food. Get involved in the activities as everybody is really friendly. At Amici House, you will find many things you can do.”

NDIS: Brett and his journey of success

NDIS Provider Co.As.It.

Responsible for dismantling NBN antennas and giving the pieces a new life, Brett is proud of his agility and skills with the drill. In fact, it all started as an unpretentious volunteer job, but his outstanding performance landed him a part-time position.

He can disassemble an entire box antenna in less than two minutes, making Brett one of the fastest among the staff. “I take these screws apart and recycle them in different bins. I’m really fast at what I do,” he says.

Co.As.It. has been supporting Brett since the beginning of his journey at eWaste. A Community Care Worker assists him at the workplace – both perform as a well-organised team dismantling the pieces.

“My worker helps me with the smaller screws while I use three different screwdrivers for the bigger ones,” says Brett. At eWaste, he is part of an organisation established to help people with a disability – staff members have a place to gain skills, a sense of achievement and contribution to the community by helping the environment by recycling electronic waste.

Paola Matute, Co.As.It. NDIS Coordinator celebrates how Brett’s life has changed for the better. “It was a significant change getting him ready at the beginning. Brett did not want to pack his lunch, grab medications and attend to his grooming needs. Then, we started to get him into a working routine where he learned the value of getting ready for the work ahead. It was a whole transformation, one that I am very proud to witness,” she says.

Max Shadlow and the War Memorial at Nundah Park

Aged Care Services in Brisbane - Co.As.It.

Max Shadlow (92), our client receiving care under our Home Care Packages Program, can be considered one of Nundah’s piece of history. The former plumber, has in his “resume” services with the Citizen Military Forces and as a Training Officer after World War 2.

More than that, as the president of the local RSL, Max was involved in building the War Memorial at Nundah Park – including the canon and all the plaques.The charming historical park commemorates those who have served in the various conflicts in which Australia has been involved. Its walls contain significant information about the most brutal 20th-century conflicts.

Originally from the last century, the park was redesigned and restored in 2001/2002 by Max and his team. “That park means a lot to me and the people involved with its renovation. The area was redesigned following the construction of the Nundah Deviation Tunnel,” says Max.

The park also contains a Krupp Field Gun, which was unveiled in the park in 1921 and restored in 2002. “The field gun is an authentic piece of history. We decided to camouflage it with special paint to protect it from graffiti.”

Max is so fond of the park that he collects several pictures featuring the before and after the works. He speaks with passion and detail about each metre of the memorial, each brick and plaque.

“It is a lovely feeling [to have built the War Memorial at Nundah Park]. When you drive past the park, you see a couple of school kids reading and learning from the plaques and the walls. There are three schools around the park, and knowing we are spreading wisdom is priceless,” says Max.

Book Now: Euro Concert Brisbane

Senior Euro Concert Brisbane

As part of Queensland Senior’s Month, the Euro Concert will celebrate our multicultural community bonds at Kedron Wavell in Chermside with a fabulous line-up of live music, dancing, a generous two-course meal, and raffle prizes.

With worldwide entertainment expertise of 26 years, Musical Director Frank Debellis and Australian indie artist Vince Gelonese are set to bring a list of successes from all decades to the event.

“We have performed for Canberra National Multicultural Festival with crowds of over 200,000 people. Over the years, we have organised and served for over 500 events and shows around Australia and internationally,” Mr Debellis says.

“As a musical director and performer, my main aim and expectation for this event are that the audience walks away happy and talking about what a great time they had, enjoying listening to the musical journey we took them through.”

The Euro Concert public will also have the opportunity to relish lunch and dessert, tea and coffee. All-inclusive for just $25!

Kicking off at 11:30 am, we look forward to a delightful afternoon. To book, please call Co.As.It. Community Services on 07 3624 6100. Kedron Wavell is on 21 Kittyhawk Dr, Chermside, with plenty of parking on-site.

Co.As.It. Community Services is a charitable organisation with a heritage of helping the multicultural community for over 40 years. With a well-known reputation for putting on excellent events, this event will surely sell out!

When: Wednesday 4 October 2023, 11.30 am to 2.30 pm
Where: Kedron Wavell, 21 Kittyhawk Dr, Chermside, Brisbane
Cost: Tickets are $25, all-inclusive.

Paul and Daniel: a natural friendship

Aged Care Services in Brisbane - Co.As.It

Paul Broadhurst and Daniel Quill’s natural chemistry is the essence of how dynamic an aircraft engineer and a pilot must be. It involves patience, respect and admiration – and building a gigantic plastic model plane together.

A former aircraft engineer born in India, Paul (82), met Daniel (29), a Jetstar Airbus A320 pilot, through the Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme run by Co.As.It. Community Services. Previously known as the “Community Visitors Scheme”, the initiative connects older adults living in government-funded residential aged care facilities, or home care packages being at risk of social isolation, with young and older volunteers from their local community.

When on the ground and between trips, Daniel likes to visit Paul and continue working on their cooperative project: assembling a 787-plane model – the interaction strengthens their bond even more and further stimulates Paul’s memories and mind.

Daniel is incredibly patient and watches Paul add pieces to the plane without interruption, even if it takes Paul up to 30 minutes to assemble the wings. Every movement seems to be calculated as the level of detail is terrifying.

“Honestly, Paul is much better at this than I am. I’ve never built these model planes before. So, I’ve got to read the instructions ten times,” says Daniel.

Paul’s wife, Riza, has said that he thoroughly enjoys spending time with Daniel and is mentally exhausted after the visit as he concentrates so hard on what he is doing. While building the aircraft, they chat about their life experiences.

“Working on these models brings lots of really good memories. As a child, I assembled and played with many different models. Maybe that’s why I became an engineer,” says Paul.

Care Services Coordinator Sharon Favaro says watching Paul and Dan work together to build the plane is natural and magnetic.

“The bond they have built is heart-warming to watch, and I feel incredibly honoured that I was able to purchase the plane for them through Paul’s package. I look forward to following the plane’s progress and seeing Paul’s delight with the results,” she says.

The Fabulous Works of Anthony Doneley

Amici House Art Class

Earth spins slowly when Anthony Doneley (61) paints. In front of the canvas, all vibrant colours blend in peaceful synchrony; there are no tremors when he paints, and his Parkinson “knows that”.

Anthony has attended art classes since September 2022 at Amici House and is stimulated to continuously think out of the box. However, to describe his artistic journey precisely, it is essential to go back in time.

Anthony taught primary school for about 40 years, in which pressure and stress were inseparable components of his busy routine. That’s when COVID first hit in 2020.

“By that stage, I had already been thinking: I can’t do this [teaching] much longer. The stress and the tension, constant headaches and the knot in my back are getting worse and worse,” he says.

“With the beginning of COVID, I suddenly noticed that I had started shaking. I got all organised to see a specialist about that, and I’ll never forget thinking it was nonsense; I’m just stressed.”

That day, Anthony was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.


Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that causes unintended or uncontrollable movements and difficulty with balance and coordination.

Even so, in Anthony’s case, such disturbances as shaking rarely happen when he is painting, meaning he doesn’t have to hold his hand to try and get a straight line, for example.

“When painting, I feel like reaching a neutral zone with peace and no pressure. I don’t feel like being scrutinised because that’s when I naturally get a bit of a tremor,” says Anthony.

On the verge of finalising his 39th piece, Anthony’s artistic portfolio varies from birds to portraits, including the image of U.S. former president Barack Obama. His fondest work is the kookaburra – which took him four weeks to finish.

In addition to the art classes, Anthony sees his progress with Parkinson’s soar through Amici House’s Stay Active – classes to facilitate general fitness for seniors, including stretches, balance, cardiovascular fitness, strength and coordination activities.

“Amici House has changed my life for the better. Now, because of it, I feel a sense of positivity about my future. I think things are not just all doom and gloom because now I can shape my future,” completes Anthony.

Anthony is able to participate in the activities thanks to his NDIS funding and Co.As.It. Community Services.

Renata and Emily: a true example of progress

NDIS client with Co.As.It. Support Care Worker

Progress is usually defined as “development towards an improved or more advanced condition.” In other words, it would be the equivalent of what Renata Oparah and Emily White have been building together.

When Emily walked through Co.As.It.’s door for the first time, she didn’t know what to expect – that introverted behaviour had pushed her away from basic aspects of life, such as eating out and making new friends or having pets.

It was a relatively new world when Renata, a Support Care Worker with Co.As.It., crossed Emily’s path, and things began to change. As time passed, Emily started to relax and gain the confidence to embrace new experiences towards a renewed life – which involved engaging with people in conversations and patting animals.

A whole approach was put into practice encouraging Emily to explore the vast surroundings around her without fearing the unknown. In every single nook and cranny: on her games, Japanese animes, mangas and tons of books.

“Before meeting Renata, my life was a bit boring. I didn’t want to go anywhere. After meeting her, everything changed. I want to explore so much now,” says Emily.

Animals are essential to Emily’s development, as she loves to snuggle up with her two Labradoodles and visit her favourite horse – “Courage” on the weekends.

The friendship and commitment established between Renata and Emily have proportionated countless fruits for both.

“My work with Emily is a reflection on what I give and how we can break down barriers for disabilities and how by doing that, someone else can thrive,” explains an emotional Renata.

One of the secrets of such progress is the communication kept with Emily’s family and herself.

“It’s collecting the information on what they want for Emily in the future. And Emily has input into this when we discuss it. She’s actively involved in her care, where she wants to go, and why. We must remember that through all things and respect her right to choose,” finishes Renata.

Clive Brazier: the puzzle man

QCSS Provider - Co.As.It.

Deciphering Clive Brazier’s stunning concentration and perfectionism in building gigantic and arduous puzzles is much more complex than putting hundreds of pieces together in a short time.

Clive (51) has been a QCSS (Queensland Community Support Scheme) client with Co.As.It. for about one year. A remarkable man shrouded by hundreds of puzzles: on the walls, on the coffee tables in the living room, on the fridge and stashed in several boxes in two large cabinets.

He started this hobby as a child – in fact, Clive still keeps his old “Summer Haven – 1200 pieces puzzle” given as a gift when he turned five years old.

As he says, there is a sense of accomplishment every time Clive assembles a new game – around eight per year. He currently works on a 9000 pieces-puzzle: a ship facing a dreadful storm in the ocean, forecasted to be finished in eight to ten months.

“This is the longest puzzle I have ever built. Usually, I do puzzles containing 6000 pieces, which takes me 45 to 50 days to complete,” says Clive.

“Puzzles with fewer colours are the most difficult ones to be built. This happens because most pieces look the same, and there is no colour pattern to follow, not a point of reference like the one I’m building now, for example.”

What Clive definitely expects is to celebrate Christmas and admire his newest masterpiece: the 9000 pieces-puzzle.

Giuseppe Vitale: blowing out 100 birthday candles

Coasit Aged Care Services in Brisbane

Giuseppe Vitale turned 100 in grand style, surrounded by friends and family in one of his fondest places: Casa Serena. The Social Group Activities Centre was beautifully adorned in his honour – a mix of balloons, video slides, music, lively guests and a memorable gigantic cake. Amid laughter and photos, the “birthday boy” still found time to jig to one of his favourite songs: the chicken dance.

Giuseppe’s relationship with Co.As.It. started in 2018: it was a timid beginning where he used to enjoy solitude, sitting on a chair next to the entrance door at Casa Serena. Tough times as he sadly had just lost his loving partner.

Yet, five years later, he looks rejuvenated – or, as Grace Pennisi, SGA Coordinator, likes to say: a true Benjamin Button. Giuseppe’s energy is contagious – the Sicilian centenarian who arrived in Australia in 1937 loves singing and dancing. Such passion stems from his vivacious earlier days in the community – when people would get married, Giuseppe with a couple of his friends would serenade under their windows.

Giuseppe’s list of passions also includes pasta and chocolate. “He doesn’t look like a big man but always eats,” says one of his daughters.

In the wake of his birthday, Giuseppe has recently received special letters from authorities: King Charles, Anthony Albanese (Prime Minister of Australia), Annastacia Palaszczuk (Premier of Queensland) and Pope Francis.

We wish Giuseppe our congratulations in reaching such an important milestone,

Auguri from Co.As.It.

Celebrating Jelica Zlatkavic’s 100th birthday

Coasit Aged Care Services in Brisbane

Celebrating Jelica Zlatkavic’s 100th birthday without citing her passion for people wouldn’t be living up to her real story.

Born in Serbia, former Yugoslavia, Jelica landed on Australian soil in 1971, ready to embrace a new and unknown life far from her traditional habits. Her relaxed way – never too stressed – and proneness to consume homemade food is believed to be her magical formula for longevity.

“She used to have a garden and harvest her own veggies. Natural food is important for her, and I can confirm that she has never been on a diet,” says her daughter, Mary.

“My mom is an easy-going person. She loves good company and having food on the table when she receives a visit. Despite the language barrier, she has become friends with an Italian neighbour, and they always have lunch and morning tea together.”

Jelica is an enthusiast of the benefits and magnificence of outdoor life – she still goes shopping whenever she can. Her grandkids also play an essential role in taking her out and about for a sweet cappuccino with crispy chips. So it is a big family, loving and supporting the lovely centenarian: three children, six grandchildren and seven great-great-children.

Such a remarkable life experience, she has recently been awarded special letters from King Charles, Anthony Albanese (Prime Minister of Australia) and Annastacia Palaszczuk (Premier of Queensland).

It has been 15 years since Jelica started receiving assistance from Co.As.It. Community Services.