Thursday, January 03, 2008

Children Say Combating Inner-City Isolation is a Piece of Cake

Friendship difficult in Apartment Towers
The Melbourne Age has recently run a story on how two children have made a big difference to the people who live in their apartment tower in inner-city Melbourne.

Reporter Winston Tan says: “It isn't easy making friends when you're the only children in a big city apartment block. But that didn't stopped Ali and Nathaniel Holt reaching out to the neighbours in their Little Lonsdale Street block.”

Along with their father, Simon, the kids came up with a plan to break the ice with other residents of the block. "We started to make cookies — we had heaps of fun and got to know people after we did," Nathaniel, 10, said.

With a little help from their parents, Ali and Nathaniel made more than 350 chocolate chip cookies for the building's 130 apartments.

"It took us a couple of days to do everything," Ali, 12, said.

"We made three small cookies for each apartment, so it took us about a full day to get them all cooked.

"Dad helped us wrap them up in cellophane, but we cooked them ourselves."

While there are an increasing number of very young children and teenagers calling the CBD home, Ali and Nathaniel's mother, Brenda, said it had been difficult with no other school-aged children in the building.

Combating Isolation One Cookie at a Time
But the feeling of isolation has now changed for the Holt children. "Since we did the cookie thing, it is amazing how much people look at us and talk to us … that's the best thing to come out of it," Ms Holt said.

The chairman of the apartment block's body corporate, Michael Vukelic, helped the children deliver the cookies to each apartment.

"They were really excited about doing something for everyone in the building," he said. "They carried a whole basketful and had a lovely card and hung it up on the door knobs."

Mr Vukelic said Ali and Nathaniel had brought a "community feel" to the building, showing that city living was no longer just about single people.

The Holts have received gifts and cards of thanks and now know their neighbours much better.

The full article can be found at this link:
Winston Tan, ‘CBD Kids Find Mixing it with the Neighbours a Treat for All’, Melbourne Age, 30 December 2007.

Image: Ali and Nathaniel Holt cooking up a storm.