Program promotes respect

GENERATION gaps have been bridged at Erskine Park High School.

A group of boys who didn't have many positive male role models have transformed their lives, thanks to a partnership with Cecil's Place Men's Shed.

The group consists of retired men who meet fortnightly at St Clair Youth Centre.

Five Cecil's Place members have been visiting the school on a weekly basis to help year 7 and 9 boys build a herb garden and make compost barrels.

"We were looking to engage in a local community program that utilises services for the boys who need direction and outside help," head welfare teacher Rod McAnulty said.

He has seen a dramatic improvement in the boys' attitudes.

"At the start, they were ready to head off five minutes before the bell," Mr McAnulty said.

"Now, we practically have to kick them out because they're keen to finish.

"They've developed mutual respect with the men."

Some barrels made by the boys were presented to Cecil's Place members yesterday as gifts.

The boys also plan to sell herbs from the garden.

Cecil’s Place has grown to 21 members since it formed in February.

The group also teaches living skills to St Clair St Clair Young Blokes Group, a mentoring program for men aged 18-24 and helps out teenagers from the  My Youth Centre Rulz renovation project.

The three generations will unite tomorrow to finish a new mural at St Clair Youth Centre.

‘‘There’s nothing else for older men in St Clair and surrounding areas to do,’’ St Clair Youth Neighbourhood Team men’s project worker Leeanne Bloom said.

‘‘They’re retired and now feel better about themselves because they’re putting back into the community. It’s also breaking down the generational gap.’’

It’s hoped the partnership will continue at Erskine Park High next year.

‘‘The men are in discussion about what skills they can bring to the school,’’ Ms Bloom said.

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