Generations come together at Aquinas College’s Café N9ne

Residents from our Centennial Lodge aged care home in Wantirna South love being special guests at Aquinas College’s Café N9ne.

Operating out of the college’s Wurundjeri Trade Training Centre, Café N9ne equips year nine students with practical experience in hospitality so they can take on their first paid job with confidence.

The collaboration with Centennial Lodge was ignited by Rhonda Wheeler, a Hospitality Assistant at Aquinas College. Rhonda’s father is a resident at Centennial Lodge and thought Café N9ne would be an ideal environment to bring the older and younger generations together.

Aquinas College students and Hospitality Assistant Rhonda Wheeler at Cafe N9ne

“I wanted to invite the residents to the café a couple of times each term to give them an enjoyable outing and the students the chance to interact with and serve the older generation. So, the collaboration is a win-win for all of us,” says Rhonda.

The food and drinks, all of which are made by the students, have been a hit with the residents and they especially love chatting with the younger folk while they take and deliver their orders.

The experience certainly gets the thumbs up from resident, Barry, who says, “I love it! Can I come back tomorrow?”

“It’s great for the residents to have the younger generation around them,” say Rhonda. “It’s also good for our students to associate with different people in our community. They get really excited when the residents arrive.”

With the school term still running, more Centennial Lodge residents will be paying Café N9ne a visit in the coming weeks.

Royal Freemasons Lifestyle Coordinator and Program Manager Sharese James says, “The residents absolutely love visiting the cafe and interacting with the students. Being in an environment with so much youthful energy really does brighten their day and they enjoy connecting to the local community.”

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