The Silver Fox – Connecting Generations Through Classroom Projects

The Silver Fox

The Silver Fox Community is a non profit organization that is changing views on how we age. Its main activity is to promote positive ageing and combat ageism through harnessing the professional skills of men and women, in their mid to later adulthood, in leading school projects with students from junior and senior grades.

The Silver Fox inter-generational exchanges in South-East Queensland schools

The Silver Fox launched on the Sunshine Coast this year in the 4th School Term with 5 leading public and private schools, from the youngest grades of Buderim Mountain State School on to the graduating students of the Sunshine Coast Grammar. An expansion into Brisbane is planned for 2017.

The inter-generational exchanges included activities ranging from scholastic support onto ambitious extra-curricular projects solving social and environmental concerns with real world applications. Silver Fox volunteers – known as Silver Fox Ambassadors – include the State Member for Parliament, a retired soldier, academics, doctors, and a variety of community leaders and professionals, both men and women.

Connect with the Silver Fox Community

Francis Hartnett, the founder, noted that the Silver Fox Community very much looks to an inclusive community and representing women and all minorities, as well as men, so to more accurately reflect the parts of our wider society.

One of our projects this year saw a collaboration between our Ambassador mentoring students in a collaboration between Buddies Refugees, the school Amnesty International Group, and a local tech start-up incubator. The students helped organize a Welcome to Australia Walk, invited the many cultures that make up the Sunshine Coast Community and spoke to the strengths of an inclusive and tolerant society. Next year they’ll continue the project in developing an app for refugees and asylum seekers. We see massive potential in tapping into the knowledge and networks of our Elder Adults and really doing something with purpose. When I talk of positive ageing I now use the term in reference to the younger participants as well.

We’re now inviting schools in Brisbane and calling on volunteers to form our new Silver Fox Community for 2017. We’re working with government and collaborating with a variety of organizations to bring real focus on the value that our seniors are uniquely positioned to share. We’ve planned projects that support scholastic outcomes and aim to solve issues from supporting families in poverty, beach safety, equipping asylum seekers and refugees with tools to better integrate into society and more.

Partnering with schools to make a difference

Australia is ranked 17th on the World Health Organization’s Global Age Friendly Index. Francis says “the ambition of the Silver Fox Community is to satisfy the WHO’s Age Friendly Cities and Communities criteria. Presently we stand last of all western nations in how we treat our elderly, this is reflected in spikes in Elder Abuse over recent years. Setting an example through our Ambassadors really getting things done with partner schools and mentoring students makes the world of difference in changing attitudes towards ideas as to who our seniors actually are, and what we’re all capable of, especially when we work together.”

For updates and news, follow the Silver Fox Community on

For all other enquiries, please write directly to [email protected].

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