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Special Forget about Ages Edition

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Our founder Bev achieved her goal of speaking at the 2017 Global Intergenerational Conference in Milwaukee and in this special edition of the Celebrate Living History newsletter. she shares her journey with us.

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Special Forget about Ages Edition

  1. 1. Howdy folks! It has been quite a while since I’ve last sent out a newsletter. Following my recent study and speaking tour of the United States Over the past few months, I’ve taken time to reflect on what is next for Celebrate Living History, how I can put all the shared experiences and new skills to good use. Essentially where to next, and where will this journey will end up. Sometimes when you take time out, the best ideas come to you, or in my case a trip to the United States. It’s funny if you asked me this time last year, if I was going to represent Australia at a major conference. I would have been like How? I had just applied for the Churchill fellowship and connected with amazing people from all over the world. But without funding my idea was just an idea. I didn’t end up with the Churchill fellowship, but a seed had grown in me. Somehow, I was going to go on tour in the US! 4Follow our mascot Ava Dognarto Page Lorem Ipsum Connecting young people and seniors to document stories for future generations August 2017 Bev with the international participants of the Generations United Conference in Milwaukee Words from Bev Wilkinson Words from Bev the founder of Celebrate Living History Education is Number one Lessons from Atlanta Share your story Corporate Speaker Contact details Travel Journal Bev with Generations United Projects Manager Emily Patrick
  2. 2. Celebrate Living History Semester 1: 2017 2 Integer metus. Lorem. byline [Name] I remember the day I met Achati Ojulo Okuot, it was a cold and windy Thursday evening and I was walking home from the bus stop. I was still new to the Gold Coast as it was my first semester of university and living away from home. I moved to the Gold Coast in 2013 so that I could study at Griffith University. Everything was very new and scary for me, especially because I came from Toowoomba, a small town in South East Queensland with a population of less than 150,000 people. On my way home I walked into ALDI to pick up some groceries, while doing that, this beautiful, small and cheerful African woman walked towards me with a big smile spread across her face. She had such a kind look on her face, she came and introduced herself to me. I couldn’t stop starring at her gold tooth as was talking to me. She said “Hi my daughter, I always see you walking past my house when you get the time come by and visit. We are all one, I am like a mother to you so don’t be afraid to come, I live just on Central street here,” as she pointed in the direction to her house. I thanked her and said I would visit her when I get the time; Education is number one By Margie Agoth she made my day just by being so kind and calling me her daughter. From that day on I always knew there was a great story in her that I would some day have to hear. As time passed by I became more familiar with the new environment, at the same time I also became friends with Israel who I later learned to be Achati’s youngest son. Soon after, it came time to visit Achati and hear her story. I asked her son Israel if he could translate for me while interviewing his mother as she only spoke Anyuak, her mother’s tongue and little English. Achati Ojulo Okuot was born during the mid-1960’s in the state of Gambela, situated in the South-Western part of Ethiopia, as part of a remote tribe called Anuak. She was born into a family of five children and two parents; she had three brothers and two sisters. She was born and raised in a family that strongly believed in their Christian faith. She said the first thing she did in the morning when she woke up was pray before going to school or continuing with her daily routine. Achati completed up to year twelve level of education in her home country however it
  3. 3. Celebrate Living History June/July/Augustedition 2017 3 was not an easy journey for her. She started grade one at the age of twelve, she was among the first three girls from Gambela to ever attend school. She tells me back then school was available for free for all the children, money was never a problem. Her parents both loved the idea if their daughter going to school and getting an education but not everybody thought the same. After completing grade one, Achati was removed from school and was made to stay home and marry, her community did not believe in girl’s education. The problem was not the lack of money but the people’s mentality and cultural beliefs. At her age Achati did not understand why she was not allowed to study while the boys were, she thought it was unfair. Achati said when she was taken out of school she would cry every day, especially when she hears the school bell ring from home. She said, “When I see the Ethopian flag being put up at school I would cry and cry all day”. She felt as if a big part of her was being taken away and it was just not fair. Achati was married to the most amazing man as she described him. She says that, “He was very nice, loving and understanding, and he would help me and teach me at home”. Her husband was an orphan raised by the missionary people from Mission America. Due to his upbringing in the orphanage he was more understanding and became a man of God, a pastor. At the age of thirteen she was married to her now late husband and as young as she was, Achati quickly had to learn to become a mother and wife. However, Achati still calls herself blessed to have married a man who loved and understood the importance of education regardless of sex. After having her first child she continued studying at home, her husband became her teacher. He taught her the alphabet from Book One which was a textbook from Sudan. She would study at night, as she was now a mother she had house duties to take care of during the day. Currently Achati lives on the Gold Coast in Australia, she has not given up on her education yet. When she arrived in Australia she studied English at TAFE and has finished her certificate one, two and three in social work. Her next goal is to get her degree or diploma in Human Services. Achati’s message is to all the women and most importantly to the African woman, that they must continue to strive for their education, as it is the only solution to seeing the world clearer. This woman has inspired me, not only as an African but also as a woman, to never give up especially when it comes to education. Achati’s story has truly touched me and I am sure it will most defiantly touch many other women. In Achati’s words “Education is number one in the world”, always remember that. I visited Atlanta to meet the wonderful Meagan Jain who is the founder of Ageless Interaction. I joined one of her art classes at a Senior Day Centre. I was placed between two participants who had an intensive form of dementia. Both participants were happy sleeping and talking but when it came to painting they struggled. I found myself worried about the end goal, which was to have a painting for the participant’s family. Meagan reminded me to enjoy being in the moment. To not worry about the end goal but to just relax and have fun. You can only focus on the now, not the future. – Bev Wilkinson Lessons from Meeting Meagan Jain from Ageless Interaction
  4. 4. Celebrate Living History Semester 1: 2017 4 Continued from page 1 With help from little crowd funding, I managed to achieve my goal of heading to the United States to speak at the Generations United Conference in Milwaukee. It was amazing to see my journey come to life. To speak to such a vast audience and most of all be respected for the knowledge that I had gained over the past five years. It felt truly natural to be talking about my passion for connecting generations. I felt amazed to be surrounded by folks who are excited about connecting generations and the mental health of our elders. My “Forget About Ages” tour was truly unique. I travelled to cities that an average Aussie tourist would not visit. One of my highlights was visiting the folks at Duke University in North Carolina, where I was exposed to a treasure trove of information about museum art programs that focused on catering towards seniors with dementia. I had the pleasure of joining the Duke University Nasher Museum Reflections tour, which is for those with Alzheimer’s to experience art in the moment. I loved that despite having problems with memory participants could still use their imagination and enjoy art. The knowledge that I’ve gained from travelling around the United States has given me a new direction. Tobe able to truly excel in what you do well, I learnt that it’s ok to be paid for your knowledge. With this in mind, the new focus for me to make the most of my knowledge and experience, and to make Celebrate Living history viable, I will be on focusing on connecting with government, nursing homes and not- for-profits that work with both young and old. My aim, as it always has been is to help people connect and share their stories, and to be able to dedicate the time and attention needed to reach more people on a larger scale. Till Next Time! Bev Have you ever wondered about your parents or grandparents story but never had the time to really ask? Book a session with Bev our founder to treasure these memories for many generations to enjoy. Our packages feature -One on one interview - Videos - Photos -Written transcript of the session. Work as a leisure assistant in a nursing home? Ask about our “Limited” special offer. Call us on 0402 926 131 or send us an email to enquire about packages. Share your story with Bev!
  5. 5. Celebrate Living History June/July/Augustedition 2017 5 Corporate Speaking Our founder Bev Wilkinson is a speaker with a difference; she has faced adversity to create the only journalism program in Australia focused on connecting young journalism students with seniors. It all started with a passion to find an outlet to use her communications degree. Bev ended up creating an exhibition curating the locals of Frankston. And discovered the wealth of knowledge and experience these seniors held. Using initiative, she flew to the Gold Coast and spoke to her old journalism lecturer. This was the beginning of the Celebrate Living History internship program. Five years later she has successfully become the go-between for two very diverse generations. Young journalism students and seniors over the age of 60 to curate stories for the Celebrate Living History website. She believes strongly in initiative and has worked in both aged and disability fields to learn more about the mental health of those she is passionate about supporting. Bev has spoken on a national and international level. Just recently she spoke at the Generations United 2017 Intergenerational Conference in Milwaukee about her passion for connecting generations. Her Key Areas of expertise: - Intergenerational Communication - Mental Health - Journalism – Writing and interviewing - Entrepreneurship - Art Programs specializing in catering towards those with Alzheimer’s and dementia Hire Bev to inspire your employees to think outside the square to make exciting dreams happen. Call Bev on 0402926131 or email: to book a consultation.
  6. 6. Celebrate Living History PO BOX 11253 Frankston 3199 www.celebratelivinghistor Contact: Thanks to our Supporters and Sponsors Want to be one of our partners or sponsors to be featured in our newsletter? Shoot us an email at:
  7. 7. 7 Set yourself a 30-Day-Challenge! While travelling I decided to create a unique travel journal documenting everydayfolks on publictransport. Here are just a few for you to enjoy! I hope I inspire you to do somethingdifferent –Bev