It’s been 22 years since C4C’s Springboard to Life program had its inception in 1998. Since then our educational initiative helped prepare thousands of children from orphanages and children’s homes to leave their foster environment and transition successfully into society and find to a job.
This is mainly thanks to our special teachers, mentors and the C4C organizational team who kept the program thriving and progressing through the years – and, of course, our dear sponsors and friends who made this amazing program possible through their help.
In 2019 our team of teachers and mentors has grown – with 5 new mentors and 4 new teachers added to the roaster of “C4C Influencers” (to use contemporary vernacular…)
Stats for the year are as follows:
STL teachers: 19
STL mentors: 9
Foster care facilities serviced: 14
Class hours taught: 1.747
Children in attendance: 118
Further activities and developments:
Thanks to the support of CPI hotels, we organized three workshops in 2019 for our mentors, teachers and clowns, during which they had the opportunity to learn a lot from such excellent coaches as Lenka Mrázová, Daniel Brown, Anežka Novak, Tomáš Adam and last but not least, Pavel Weiser.
“These team meetings are a great help for the personal development of individuals and they help us consolidate our gains. Moreover, they are meant as a heart-felt THANK YOU to all who have the task of distributing joy and love for their mission. I think we’re doing well. We are strengthening our motivation to work for disadvantaged children”, says Petra Erguvanli, C4C Springboard to Life project manager.
However, teaching and mentoring are only the most visible part of a teacher or mentors job. By getting to know the children personally, they are also becoming “family” for children from children´s homes: they take them on trips, look for internships and summer jobs for them, celebrate their birthdays, holidays, end of a school year and help them through difficult moments. They are in contact with the directors of children’s homes and consult with them when children find themselves in trouble. Occasionally, when a child gets into a difficult situation, directors call the mentor to discuss what to do next. The work becomes somewhat of a mission and it goes well beyond the actual hours of teaching and mentoring – something which deserves respect and admiration.
Last year, the Springboard to Life program also started to cooperate with couple of amazing young men from the Go Freedom platform – a group of young people founded by Tomáš Adam, dedicated to the personal development of teenagers. Together with them we visited 3 children’s homes: in Ledce, Unhošť and Klánovice – and those visits resulted into regular classes in Ledce, while in Unhošť we are preparing for more.
“The attending children are thrilled with the classes Jakub Lysoněk, the Go Freedom member, provides – it’s like a breath of fresh air for them”, exclaims Petra, who oversees the activities.
We have also managed to fulfill the dreams of several children this year – for example, we supported Veronika from the Unhošt children’s home in her dream to become a designer. With the help of our colleague Martina Pupcsiková, she met the requirements for admission to the High School of Design and Crafts Kladno.
“I would like express a heart-felt THANK YOU to you and to all those, who were involved in assistingo our dear Veronika. Veronika´s dream came true, she has been received to the school of Interior Design and she is so very happy. Without your empathy, effort, understanding and belief that she can do it, it would certainly not have been possible”, wrote Mgr. Jiří Beránek, director of Children´s home in Unhošť.
There is also Dominik from children´s home in Kralupy nad Vltavou, who needed to earn some money while studying at CTU. We did not hesitate and immediately included him among our teachers. A talented geek, he now teaches informatics to children in “his” home, regularly attends our team meetings and just blooms. We are very proud of him.
Children from Dolní Počernice could become stars for one day while attending a professional photo-shoot featuring airplanes and motor cars in Dvůr Králové and Kuks.
“We enjoyed the whole day very much as well as children, who will have beautiful memories of it,” said Igor Stepanek, organizer of the day.
In May 2019, Xindl X visited children’s homes in Pyšely and Sázava. Ondra played the guitar with his young fans there and they also talked a lot about his music. It was a great experience both for children and for Ondra, as he himself admitted. He not only made the children happy with his visit, but he also gave them more than 100 tickets for his concerts.
“It was an incredible experience! I have never been singing and dancing like tonight on Xindl X!! It was a wonderful evening I have ever experienced with the best people and I thank C4C for a great event. So much fun in one place!! Huge THANK you!!! You are great. Thanks to you I was able to relax and let everything go out of my head. THANK YOU !!!! Once again a very big THANKS TO C4C !!!!” – this exuberant reaction came via SMS from 15 year old Beata, resident of the Nove Straseci children’s home.
Another extremely impactful project of the last year was the Nave Italia project, which C4C has co-organized with the Italian Embassy for the third consecutive time. A ten day Italian holiday, culminating in five-day Mediterranean cruise on a large, classic sailing vessel, attended by children after cancer treatment and children from children’s homes. During the trip they enjoy a lot of fun, visited interesting places and met with hospitalized children in Italian hospitals.
We have many enthusiastic and grateful responses, such as this one from the Children’s Home, Kindergarten, Elementary School and Practical School in Písek:
“In the spring of this year, you gave two of our children the opportunity to participate in the ‘On board with Nave Italia’ project. Since the patron of our home is Czech sailor Rudolf Krautschneider, we happily accepted. After all the traffic congestions, two of our girls could sit on the plane together with the other participants and set off for an unusual adventure. I watched the progress of their journey on social network, so we had something to go through when they came back. Also, the travel diary which Verča had been keeping was interesting.
I can tell, from what I saw and heard, that your project is carried out very ingeniously and with great experience. It’s designed to influence children on several levels – from the first encounter with the sea, through the Roman monuments, to a good portion of ice cream and in terms of educational children encounter with other cultures and history. Last but not least, in social terms, it was a place where children from two handicapped groups met and shared the difficulties of their lives. All of this took place in a kind and safe atmosphere which you created. I think that besides all the sites, experiences, knowledge and sharing – the preparation of the program and its presentation to sick children in the hospital in Olbia played a crucial role. Our children, as orphans, often receive, but the opportunity to give and do something for others is much more valuable. Both girls had the opportunity to be part of an event that works to please someone else and to bring joy. I believe that this enriching experience will remain in them and will be positively reflected in their future lives. Thank you all for taking Radka and Veronika ‘aboard’.”
We do not rest on our laurels, however. We continue to come up with new projects and initiatives, such as regularly use of the Balint method with our teachers and mentors, or initiating yoga classes for children and educators in children´s homes.
Author: Petra Erguvanli