OUR social groups were immersed in all that is Italian during the week of the Italian National Day Celebrations. Celebrating the 76th National Day of the Republic of Italy on 2nd June this year, clients and staff danced in traditional folk costumes to their favourite music and songs of their youth. Both Casa Serena and Casa Aurelia activity centres were decorated to homage to Italian culture. They not only celebrated the heritage of those who have immigrated here, but also introduced and included the worldly clients who participate in centre activities, native Australians and beyond. Following a delicious spread of Italian staple foods like Antipasto, Farfalle in pesto and Tortellini in Sugo, the day turned to embrace another culinary staple; wine.
A winemaking demonstration took place at the centres as this plays a signification role in their culture, economy and health and it is something that many Italian immigrants themselves have brought with them to Australia. To honour this aspect of Italian heritage, centres participated in the classic foot-stomping methods of winemaking. Along with winemaking, clients were invited to dance along to traditional Italian music, making this an event that was sensory as much as it was fun. At Casa Serena, seeing the act of the grapes being crushed underfoot made one client emotional as it evoked a memory of her childhood back home in Spain.
Clients expressed their gratitude for the experience that not only reminded them of Italy, but of family as well. Upon experiencing the festivities, one client shared her story of immigrating to Australia from Italy by boat in 1959. She came with three small children, the youngest being only 9 months at the time to join her husband who was working here, “I joined him with three small children to help him work on the houses.”
While some revisited memories of home and others explored cultural traditions that were completely new to them, it seems that everyone was able to take away something meaningful from the experience and overindulging in Italian food. One way Casa Aurelia honored Italian heritage while also including other cultures was through song. The group sang one ballad completely in Italian, “Romagna Mia”, and another in English, “Che Serà Serà.” The experience of singing “Romagna Mia” was poignant in its theme, as it tells the story of a man’s nostalgia for his homeland in Italy, but also as a bilingual challenge in memory. Not only were the Italian Week events successful in evoking memories and blending cultures, they also encouraged clients to participate in activities that stimulate balance, movement, cognition and more.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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)
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.
Co.As.It. Community Services has once again been recognised for outstanding service provision and innovative service delivery with a nomination to ACSA (Aged Care and Community Services Australia).
ACSA is the national peak body representing not-for-profit and faith-based providers of residential and community care, housing and support for people with a disability and their carers. These awards celebrate the outstanding efforts in the delivery of care to older Queenslanders and promote sharing of good practices and effective responses to community needs. On Thursday 2nd June 2016 the winners of the ACSA Queensland 2016 Aged Care Awards were announced and Co.As.It. was very proud to be one of the finalists.
From left: Maria Reggi, Director Dina Ranieri, Treasurer Tony Brown.