Up Close and Personal – C4C’s Interview Series: Meet Michal, C4C Multi-talent and Jack of all Trades!


Why do our teachers, clowns, mentors and psychologists dedicate their time to helping young people in children´s homes succeed in life and in the job market? Why do they even care?

Ever wondered who are the folks visiting hospitals, mentoring youth at risk or staffing the C4C office? Look no further and find out in past interviews here, here, here or here what makes the members of our team tick!

This time around, meet Michal – clown, teacher, mentor and project manager all in one! He was kind enough to sit down with us to answer some questions:

 Michal, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us. Tell us, where are you from and where have you lived?

I was born in Prague, but at the age of 6 my family moved to the city of Říčany where I actually grew up and studied at high school. When I turned 21, I spent the summer doing an internship in an advertising agency in London. Two years later during my university studies, I did one semester in London again but this time London in Ontario in Canada, a very different experience. I also stayed three months longer to travel around and get to know the country. 

After coming back I moved to Prague, terminated my masters studies and started working in a little café (which I’d always wanted to try) and in a hostel to stay in touch with the international community. In 2018 I moved to Lisbon, Portugal, and lived there for one year working in a hostel again. It was a great experience but I soon realised that Lisbon was not the place where I’d like to live for a longer time and after one year I came back to Prague. 

Concerning C4C: What is your job?

Currently I’m teaching English and tutoring some other subjects that the youngsters from Prague children’s home need. Recently I started mentoring one of my students as well. I’m also visiting hospitals in Krč and Vinohrady as a member of the Dr. Clown team.

 And last year I co-created with Petra a project called Discover EU, an Erasmus + initiative: Cesta k začlenění. It is a project for 18 year olds from children’s homes that aims to help them discover nearby European countries, get to know new people and opportunities and mainly to take care of themselves. First edition was a great success so we’re really happy that this year our application got accepted again by the Erasmus + committee and we can continue what we started.

 Tell us a story about your job – there must be lots of them.

There’s definitely a lot of strong moments in this work… as it is in social work in general. A lot of people tell me that it has to be hard to hear the sad and difficult stories or to see the injuries of children. But I don’t find this part that difficult. I’m not there to pity them, I’m there to support them. Whether it is in hospitals, helping with homework or listening to anything they need to share. But I do get emotional when I see the progress they make and how they are able to fight and work on themselves despite the conditions. 

 Once for example while clowning in the hospital, the nurses told us that the girl in room 3 (who was about sixteen) is not doing really well and we should be very careful around her. She had tried three suicide attempts and was really apathic. When we entered she was indeed very shy and confused so we were addressing mainly the other patient to give her some time but soon we could see a spark of interest in her scared eyes. She ended up smiling when we were leaving and we saw her more times as she was there for a couple of weeks. Every time she was happy to see us and we laughed together. One day I opened her room and she was immediately telling me all happy that she is going tomorrow to another hospital for a rehabilitation program and that she’s doing much better. We talked and played and laughed one more time and when I was leaving I was happy to see the progress she’s made from the first day and also that I was lucky to come on her last day.

 Other moments that I really like with teenagers from children’s homes are when we talk about something difficult or tricky in their life and I share with them my point of view, maybe even my experience or experience of someone I know. We talk about it in a calm way, I’m not trying to tell them what they should or shouldn’t do or forbid them from doing something. The results of these moments are rarely immediate but then sometimes, later when we meet, I find out that our conversation actually helped them or gave them courage for something they were not able to do before. It was a tourning, as well as a starting point. And in those moments I really feel that what I do makes sense and can make a difference. Even if it’s just a little one. 

Why are you with C4C?

After coming back from Lisbon I started teaching English and eventually got more into the world of Erasmus+ projects. During the projects I’ve met many people who were working with youngsters with fewer possibilities or from troublesome backgrounds.

 Combining these two experiences I decided that I’d like to teach English in children’s homes. I did some research, contacted C4C, had a meeting with Petra where we went through the possibilities and at the end of the meeting she asked me if I didn’t want to try clowning in hospitals as well. So I started my English lessons in children’s homes and at the same time started training to become a hospital Clown with the Dr. Klaun team.

 This is how and why I started. Why I stayed you can see easily from the question above 🙂 

Do you have any goals in life?

I want to learn and experience as much as I can and help others to do the same. I think these things are important for humankind in order to learn to live together and share the possibilities we have. In general I’d like to be satisfied with the way I live. Besides that I have some smaller goals, like putting together a book of poems or playing and composing music.

 Do you have regrets?

I used to regret a lot. I was very often stuck in the circle of “what if” and “I should have done”. Interestingly, I was usually regretting that I didn’t do something, not that I did something. But now I take most of the things as they are and think that if they happened a certain way it was probably supposed to be like that.

Do you practice sports?

I’ve been playing mainly football since I was a kid, but I like most of the ball sports. I also like cycling, hiking and indoor climbing. Recently I got into yoga which became my everyday routine. I’m usually up for trying any new sport. The only thing I’m not good at is ice skating for some reason 😀 

What are your interests?

Many I’d say. As I already mentioned, I like sports in general. I also like getting to know new things, places, people. I really enjoy traveling.

 I enjoy being extroverted and joking around, but I also like deeper philosophical talks and spending time on my own. I love reading and writing, playing and listening to music. I like walking in nature, watching the sunset and sunrise. I like taking photos with my old analog cameras. And I really like cooking.

Here’s Petra’s (C4C project manager & Michal’s partner on Erasmus programs) take on this special young man:

„Michal is a very unique member of the C4C team. He is part of ALL our programs. He is a teacher, mentor, clown, and initiator of Erasmus+ activities. We appreciate how diverse his approach is and how he enriches many lives.“

We couldn’t agree more!