By Rachael Bristol-Reid
They say the best things in life are shared – and that was proved on Wednesday, 12 October when La Chat parents from across both the Primary and Secondary campuses came together to share coffee and conversation at one of eight local venues, as part of the Commune Coffee initiative.
From ‘Divonne & the Pays de Gex’ to ‘Gland & beyond’, over 160 parents came together at coffee shops across the region. The Commune Coffee initiative, started by Sally Cooper three years ago, creates a platform for parents to get to know each other a little better, in the communities where they live. Gatherings are both for parents new to the area and for those who have been here a little longer, and provide an opportunity to meet new friends or reconnect with old acquaintances.
Olive Fenton, Host in Nyon, said “It was great to have a real mix of new and established families present, from parents with children in year 1 all the way though to year 13.” This goes to show that lots of people are interested in meeting other parents who live close by, whatever their kids’ ages or their personal circumstances. There was a great exchange of information – anything from babysitter details to university application tips!
“It was great to see such a good mixture of the new and not-so-new faces of Primary and Secondary parents. Everyone got along famously; it was as if we’d known each other for ages even though in most cases people had never met before” said Borex Host, Lesley Aldridge. “Today’s Commune Coffee seemed to be a very big hit – judging from the feedback, the parents really seem to have appreciated it” added co-host Kubashni Govender.
One Y8 & Y11 parent, new to La Chat, expressed it really well: “All the welcome events organized by the PTA are really helpful when you’re new, but they can also be a bit overwhelming, because there are so many people. This morning has been really good, because it’s a smaller group, with whom I have something in common, because I’ve met people who live where I do, and I really feel that I have made some good connections.”
“We’ve moved here from Singapore, straight into an exam year. Coming here this morning has been brilliant, because I have talked to another parent who did exactly the same thing last year, and she’s been able to give me lots of useful advice.” Mum, Y13.
“I didn’t know so many families from school lived in this area!” Dad, Y3.
Michelle Khorchidian, Commune Coffee organiser and Divonne host added “We’ve been delighted by the turn out at this first Commune Coffee of the school year. The next Commune Coffee will take place on 15 March 2017 and we’re hoping to see as many parents then, if not more. In Divonne/Pays de Gex we had a great morning. Parents have decided to create a sign up sheet for various activities we’d like to do together – Nordic skiing, hiking, book clubs, meditation classes, Extreme Frisbeee and an additional coffee morning are already on the list! Of course creating such events as the Commune Coffee requires a great team and I’d like to take this opportunity to particularly thank Sally, Ute, Dede & Karen for all their help.”
Clearly there was a real buzz in many of the area’s coffee shops on Wednesday last and a great exchange of information, carpool rotas and contact details. Apparently, for some, the conversation was so good that coffee turned into an early lunch! At least one book group is already in action as a consequence of getting together, a french group is starting up and there were many plans made to set up informal coffee gatherings before the next formal Commune Coffee. It seems as though the Commune Coffee initiative has really done what it set out to do and can be considered a great success.
Huge thanks go to Michelle Khorchidian and all the Commune Coffee hosts for organising such a great event.
You will find more photos in the PHOTO GALLERY page.