Thursday 22nd March saw the Official Opening of a permanent home, known as The Healthy Living Centre, for Diversitat’s Aged Support Services.
The sun was shining as 100’s of guests arrived to The Healthy Living Centre, treated to music performed by Newcomb High School’s 15 piece Stage Band. The band did a wonderful job, playing contemporary jazz style music, as guests took their seat (or found some standing room) for the official part of the opening. The atmosphere was exciting, friendly and warm.
Official events kicked off with an Aboriginal Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country, thanks to Wathaurong Aboriginal co-op. Following this, Michael Martinez – Diversitat CEO, welcomed everyone, introduced the honourable and special guests, and spoke about what The Healthy Living Centre means to Diversitat, Geelong and of course the clients that use the building and services. Speeches were made by The Hon Sarah Henderson – Member for Corangamite; The Hon John Eren – Minister for Sport, Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs; Tsebin Tchen – VMC Commissioner; and Kosta Klasevski – community member, who spoke on behalf of the older CALD clients who attend activities at the centre. Then, Sarah Henderson and John Eren cut the ribbon, signifying the building officially open.
Continuing on with the ceremony, Cedomir Ilievski – Macedonian Priest, blessed the building and a pear tree was planted in the front garden in memory of Ali Heydari, our Executive Member, who passed away last year. Following this, a certificate of recognition and appreciation was awarded to Mile Stojanovski, one of our long term council reps and Aged Support client.
We were also treated to a beautiful performance by Andalucian Spanish dancers from Geelong, then finished up the official opening with the Karenni Community performing a sensational gonging ceremony, which took part both inside and out; as a blessing to the building.
As the speeches, blessings, recognitions and entertainment wrapped up, it was time for the finger food lunch. An abundance of hot and cold food was served to 300 plus guests, as everyone from diverse backgrounds and ages mingled through-out the blessed, warmed and officially opened purpose built Healthy Living Centre. Camille (HLC’s resident chef), Wholefoods’ Sarah, and HLC volunteers Lucy, Dave and Alberto, did a wonderful job of catering for the masses; whilst the Hospitality students and Aged Support staff did a great job of handing around the platters of food – well done all of you, really fantastic work!
The event was spectacular, and a true testament of what Diversitat represents. Many thanks must be given to all who worked on creating the event, and to all that came along. There has been much feedback about the wonderful atmosphere, and how lovely it was to see clients and community come together on Harmony Day, in such an event. Again, thank you to all.
Photos by Phil Hines