At the beginning of each story one has to make the decision to take a pen in hand. Only then can we begin to write. We have a lot of stories, but there is only one story about us. The one when we took a pen in hand and… jumped!
It all started in early 2012. A psychology student attended, by chance (or not), a lecture held by Marta Benko, a clinical child psychologist, called “Working with children in palliative care”. The psychologist talked about her work with children suffering from malignant diseases. Her talk touched many, and the abovementioned psychology student reminded herself again of her dreams of working with sick children. That dream of working with and helping children, who at least feel a little better because someone is there, continued intriguing her after the lecture. She began to think about whether there is such a form of volunteering, and whether she could get involved in the work of the hospital.
She contacted the psychologist Marta who opened the door widely for her and invited her for an interview. “There is no such form of volunteering here, but that does not mean we can not initiate it”, said Marta. These words encouraged the student to be proactive, and these words were sufficient to remind her that dreams can become reality, and that they provide an
opportunity for one very special story to begin. Already in March 2012 for the first time a story was staged at the Department of Oncology and Hematology in the Children’s Hospital Zagreb. The story was acted out by three former students of psychology, and they received thunderous applause and a broad smile from little children who were their first audience. It was a story about Elmer – a little elephant of vivid colors. To this day, they remember it vividly.
The project quickly came to life. It was called “Let me tell you a story.” Parents of hospitalized children were delighted with the idea and the regular weekly storytelling performances, the children laughed and nurses also got involved in the atmosphere brought to the department by these stories. A small team soon expanded. In autumn 2014 the project gathered six dedicated volunteers, master’s graduates and students of psychology. Soon the news of the girls’ good deeds spread much further than “Klaićeva” hospital. Libraries and kindergartens wanted to know more about the stories and their impact. Parents wanted to know how and why to use puppets in working with children, but were also interested in many other topics…
The story developed at tremendous speed – the notebook we prepared to write down everything, suddenly became too small. Through the encouragement of dear people we decided to found an association which we called“Centre Talk to me.” We imagined it as a place where everyone can come and share with us their fears, worries, problems, difficulties, but also joy, healing, and happiness. The Centre is also a place where we daily create new, useful and precious content and projects which aim at improving the quality of life of children, youth, parents, families, professionals and all who want to share with us their stories.
Where are we now? We still write, dream, search, we create … We are happy and satisfied because we have carried out three projects, received two awards, we have 11 dedicated active volunteers and there are countless stories we have written and told. We still bravely jump into new waters and write new chapters. After all, read for yourself about it on this site.