Linda and Markéta are two girls from the Žatec children’s home, Monika is their C4C mentor and Zátiší Group is one of the largest catering companies in the country. This is the story of their cooperation…
We could also call this “From mentoring to meddling” because that’s what it really takes to successfully mentor and assist children, who grow up in children’s homes, to be successful in the job market and ultimately effectively integrate into society.
“After becoming a C4C mentor, I realized quickly that this was a real hands-on job”, smiles Monika Kavanová, PhD. “I couldn’t just stay on the side-lines and give good advice to my mentees – it really took a deep dive into their lives, and a little meddling as well, to provide them with opportunities!”
Linda and Markéta grew up in the children’s home in Žatec, north of Prague. Both are 17 years old and are attending the local vocational Gastronomy School, preparing for a career in the hospitality industry.
“When I first met Linda and Markéta during the course of my “Etiquette” workshops in the Žatec children’s home, I realized that these two girls had big potential, but could use a little help from a friend”, comments Monika. “I decided to offer them to become their mentor and both of them signed on.”
Monika fell back on her vast network and decided that a successful internship with a well-established company in the gastronomy industry would be the best place to start for the girls. From that point on things started to move quickly.
Lukáš Berbr, Key Partner Manager from the Zátiší Group, decided to take both girls on as interns at their Žofín Garden restaurant, one of the most prestigious venues in Prague.
Marketa and Linda arrived in Prague on Monday the 29th of June by bus with their baggage and a huge teddy bear to start their internship (see picture below). Accommodations were arranged for a small fee by the Go Freedom community house, a C4C partner organization of young people dedicated to development and personal growth.
After signing their work agreement, the girls worked at the Žofín Garden restaurant as waitresses to start with. During the course of their internship, they got to experience the everyday operation of a successful gastronomy enterprise, helped organize and facilitate a wedding and a gala dinner and were also introduced to the kitchen and back offices of the Zátiší Congress Centre.
The feedback Monika received from Zátiší was overwhelmingly positive: “It is obvious that the girls were very interested in their field – they asked questions, were attentive, nice and polite to our customers”, comments Lukáš Berbr. “They caught on quick and didn’t lose their smiles and willingness to help – even in tough situations.”
And as for the girls, they obviously learned a lot. “I learned soo many new things – it’s amazing! The atmosphere at Zátiší was so friendly. They were fair and polite to us and showed us appreciation”, remembers Linda. “I also found out that I can actually communicate in foreign languages a bit – yay!”
After concluding their contract, their performance was so much appreciated that Lukáš and the management of the Žofín Garden restaurant offered to prolong their internship for one more week. As a bonus, both of them were able to secure a very positive recommendation letter from one of the best catering firms in the Czech Republic and an offer to come back any time! Open doors!
Things do not get any better than this for two girls from an orphanage! And even though this is just the first step in the right direction, it brings home the message to the girls that hard and cheerful work brings deserved results.
In closing, we would like to direct a big THANK YOU to everyone involved for making this so special and life-changing for the girls. A special mention goes to the Zátiší Group and Lukáš Berbr and the Žofín Garden restaurant team for going the extra mile for the girls and making them feel so welcome. The same goes for the Go Freedom community who opened their doors to the girls and gave them a home for the time of the internship. Monika, without your help, counselling, mentoring and meddling none of this would have happened.
The following quote from Mother Teresa, who we quote here quite frequently, really sums things up nicely: “If you’ve changed just one life – YOU HAVE CHANGED THE WORLD!”