Assisting teenagers and young adults in children´s homes to successfully transition into civil society, has been the stated goal of C4C´s Springboard to Life initiative for 20+ years. Toward these ends, C4C´s teachers provide coaching, mentoring and extracurricular education for resident children, who come mainly from socially handicapped and disadvantaged backgrounds and to a large degree also from the Roma communities.

But the success of our efforts also depends to a large degree on another factor: the staff of the homes themselves! It goes without saying that the skills, or the lack thereof, and the motivation (or the lack thereof) of staff and educators of children´s homes have a profound effect on the development and well-being of the children in their care. This especially came to the fore during the Covid pandemic. The restrictions and new requirements imposed upon the homes and children, including lockdown and online schooling, presented the educators in these homes with unprecedented challenges, pressures and stress. Affectionately called Uncles and Aunts, the personnel actually assume the roles of parents and relatives for the colourful mix of children they care for. Given the crowded conditions and the large number of children in their care, in most cases they are also simply overwhelmed and near burnout by the demands placed upon them.

“Having been a teacher, mentor and coach in children´s homes for C4C, I´ve been concerned and burdened for the staff of the institutions”, observes Monika Kavanova, in real life a consultant and professional business coach. “The amount of pressures they face daily is simply mind-blowing!”

HELPMATE to the rescue…

Addressing these challenges, C4C´s new HELPMATE program is a platform for self-education, community sharing and support for the staff in children´s homes.

By definition an online initiative, each month HELPMATE focuses on one topic only, for instance:

  • Anger management
  • Nonviolent communications
  • Detecting and preventing burnout
  • Navigating a multi-ethnic and multi-racial environment

HELPMATE aims to strengthen the soft skills of educators in children´s homes, who often find themselves at wits end and confronted with a crushing load of unsolved problems and situations. They lack government support, are chronically short staffed and at any given time in dire need of help and support.

A recent survey of directors and staff of children´s homes confirmed that an overwhelming majority of them see great value in the program and would welcome HELPMATE into their institutions:

“I´m working here for more than 20 years and you are the first ones asking me how I feel, what I need and how you can help me. Thank you!” Luděk Černý, chief of staff, Ledce orphanage

“I really like the HELPMATE concept where I can work and learn at a time of my choosing. The lessons are easy to plan and not too time consuming.”  Michala Bouškova, educator, Zazava orphanage

“I really appreciated the last online meeting. The lector was pleasant and explained things in a way we all could understand. Also the combination of online training, followed up by online meetings was ideal for me.” Petra Polominiova, care-giver, D.D. Kralupy

All our activities are provided free of charge to the orphanages. We are supported only by you! Please consider becoming a member of the “Friends of Springboard to Life and C4C” by clicking here.

We need your support and we appreciate it immensely! Thank you.


Author: Manfred Franke