Pen Pals needed.

“Could you write a letter to an elderly local to make their day? If you’re searching for a way to help someone during COVID-19 why not join this Pen Pals program. Brighten up a senior’s day by sending them a letter, a drawing or video. Simply register at and we’ll match you up with someone.”

Pen Pals 3

The new facebook page for @penpalsathomeinstead is

This initiative comes from local Giselle and her Italian husband Giovanni, the owners and directors of Geelong’s Home Instead which is based in Pakington St, Geelong West. They care for over 350 elderly in our community and saw the need for this initiative. They are encouraging the community to write to our most vulnerable. To share messages of hope and joy, to make seniors feel connected with their community and to help them overcome any feelings of loneliness that they may be experiencing.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with responses already from 11-year-olds to all ages. We pass their messages of hope on to our clients and those connected with age care. If the senior agrees to join in, they are welcome to reply back. It could be the same message that might be read to a number of people, bringing hope and joy to many. It is nice to share videos and drawings also.

Continue reading “Pen Pals needed.”

Rainbow trails and we’re going on a bear hunt.

Geelong residents are getting in to the swing of things. All for the kids! Please share and post your photos in comments on our facebook page. People are popping out bears for all the kids who are participating in ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt! Geelong and Outer Suburbs’ and/or joining in ‘Rainbow Trail Australia’

Teddy 3

My teddy thought he’d try 2 in 1 and wear a rainbow sock on his head. What are your teddy’s up to? We’re loving the caring, colourful chalk messages neighbour’s children are writing regularly. Thanks everyone for keeping things positive!

Thanks to the families and friends who have sent in their photos.

With One Voice Choir, Live Streams.

Let’s get through this with song!

With One Voice have come up with a way that you can join in the choir from the comfort of your living room, kitchen, or even shower (if you have a water-proof speaker!), as they move their rehearsals online.  Geelong’s very own Kym Dillon is just one of the many With One Voice conductors right around Australia putting together live streams 5 nights a week. Singing is a great way to engage your brain, and connecting with the live stream With One Voice community will certainly make you buzz with positive energy.

Kym WOV, online

The With One Voice live stream page is very much open to the public and on five week nights: Geelong’s Kym Dillon will be leading us in song from 6.30pm tonight, so why not check it out. You can read the #humansingeelong story on Kym on our website at

For more information about With One Voice Community Choir Ph: 03 8679 6088 Website:

Happy singing everyone!

Story: Sarah Treacy. Photo: Phil Hines

Piano Bar, Andy.

“We’ll continue to make everybody’s world a bit brighter. Besides, it’s a way of keeping us sane and it keeps the routine going. It’s been heart-warming to see people on Facebook getting on board, singing around the TV or wherever and messaging in their requests.” Andy Pobjoy tells us about the Piano Bar live streams which can be found on their @pianobargeelong facebook page. “We plan to go live at 7.30pm, 6 nights a week. We couldn’t help ourselves, Shandelle and I even did a surprise performance on Monday as well.

Andy Pobjoy

“We plan to mix it up. Jack Gatto (Elivs) was live with us on Wednesday night. You can check our FB page to see who’ll be on. It’s been great seeing people commenting. Watch this space, we’ll all come out the other side stronger and better.

“This situation is forcing everyone to stop; spend more time with family, get fit, practice an instrument, learn a new skill. Aaron and I are workaholics but like everyone else, this is forcing us to stop.

Continue reading “Piano Bar, Andy.”

Fostering, Gerard.

“My son’s and my relationship started when he moved in next door. He was 3 and in short term foster care. We bonded. He’s now 21 and living the dream … he’s been the head deckhand on a super yacht based in the Mediterranean, sailing off to the Caribbean for the European winter. He worries that he is not taking life seriously enough. All the adults around him say ‘go with the flow, mate.’


“I’m in my early 60s and have a job I love, close friends, a great family and I live in the Greater Geelong community that is geographically beautiful, socially aware and unbelievably connected. I feel like I have influence and can make a difference. My life has love and meaning.

“I bonded with Gerard when I was in my early 40’s, single and happy with my life. I had always assumed I would have children. Gerard was 3 about to turn 4 and his life was marked by the usual child protection story of instability. He’d already had 30 short term foster care placements. His parents weren’t and aren’t bad people – things just conspired against them.

Continue reading “Fostering, Gerard.”

Forbidden Love, Hadeel.

Forbidden love. A gorgeous young 17-year-old and 18-year-old fell in love over the internet. They met and got to know each other, their love blossomed and they vowed to get married. However, there was one serious, dangerous problem, they lived in Iraq and were from two different religions. A crime punishable by death. “We just wanted to be together and that was very powerful. I can’t believe it, but after years, we made it happen.” I’m interviewing the beautiful and determined Hadeel.

Hadeel, Forbidden Love

“Our families were very open-minded and kind. They didn’t object to us marrying but feared for our lives. Others in the same situation had lost their lives. You see our religion is printed on our ID cards and we have no say in it, it is related to what our great, great grandfathers’ religion was. Our families told us, if we really wanted to get married, we’d have to leave Iraq.

“We thought about what we’d been told but were so determined to be together. We had to finish our university courses first. I studied English Language and Literature. Suroor studied architecture. After graduating we got jobs and saved madly.

Continue reading “Forbidden Love, Hadeel.”


It began with Toby.

He was a Maltese/Shiatsu terrier, left to us in a friend’s will. In fact, we were his third owners — he was rescued twice, once from people who didn’t want him and separated secondly by the death of his previous owner. He was a character; highly intelligent, grumpy, and just loved Russell above all things and all people. He tolerated me but he trusted me, and he knew better than to upset me because I was the one who walked him most. Toby took ill while we were overseas; some good friends kept him going but he was suddenly full of cysts and we held him while our vet sent him to the Big Kennel in the sky. We had to stop the car because we cried so much, the house was empty, the various daily routines now non-existent. We swore we’d never have another dog, so difficult was the grieving process for us both. As a couple, he’d become our child, and we decided no more animals.


At the time I was waiting for a back operation, not at all well, but the vacuum left in our home was too much for me to bear. So, I decided to pay a visit to GAWS — Geelong Animal Welfare Society; I decided it wouldn’t do any harm, I’d just have a look at what was available, then tell Russell in case we changed our mind about future dog ownership. I thought a smaller dog would be sensible with my then physical affliction, but there was virtually nothing available. I walked over to the pens which accommodated the larger dogs, and suddenly in the second pen I felt a pair of eyes boring into me. When we were farmers, we bred Kelpies, and this was a keen, intelligent Kelpie head, except he was jet black. His rear portion was something else — Labrador! He turned away from me and began pounding on the door at the rear of his cage, and after a cursory inspection and payment he was ours.

Jenkins chose me! He’d been wandering the streets of Geelong — he’d clearly been dumped there; we think he’d been owned by a senior couple who were too unwell to care for him. He was three years old.

Continue reading “Jenkins.”