BRIGITA BAJAN, second-year medical student
Favourite story: Lapitch the Little Shoemaker.
Favourite character: Hlapić.
Started volunteering: April 30, 2016
A sentence about me: “Be who you are and say what you feel,because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”- Dr.Seuss
I volunteer on the project “Let me tell you a story” because it really makes me happy. I love to observe the boundlessness and unpredictability of imagination, both of our volunteers while we prepare and perform a play, and the children in hospital departments while we interact with them. After each visit we all feel better. 🙂
MARINA ČOVIĆ, final-year graduate student of psychology at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb.
Favourite story: Pale alone in the world.
Favourite character: Pale, clearly 🙂
Started volunteering: 21 April 2015
A sentence about me: I am a future psychologist with a great love for different types of creative expression, particularly music. Why I volunteer: I started volunteering on this project because of my desire to gain experience in working with children during my education. The project seemed to be ideal for extending my knowledge and skills realted to the work on raising the quality of life of hospitalized children. Since I have so far volunteered at the Cancer Institute, I have met only patients with malignant diseases. I must admit that before I started volunteering I feared whether I would be able to deal with all the requirements and conditions of work in such a department, but I learned so many things about myself and about children who are in that department. And children like children, they primarily require games and pastime, so every moment in which I, together with my colleagues, can bring a touch of childhood and a smile to someone’s face, reminds me of how much the project is worth and how much our efforts are important. Among the many pleasures that this volunteering provides, it is not difficult to decide which is the greatest: a well-executed and well-accepted performance that provides the opportunity to talk to children about how they experienced it.
MATEJA HRLEC, second-year undergraduate student of psychology.
Favourite story: Hedgehog House and Robin.
Favourite character: The Little Prince.
Started volunteering: 27 September 2016
A sentence about me: Things that make me most happy are music, friends, travelling, sun, sea, dancing, working with children and young people, moments when I help turn one’s tears into a smile!
I applied for this project in spring 2016, and thus my years-long desire for such a form of volunteering has finally been achieved! The first time I was introduced to the concept of storytelling in the form of mini performances for sick children, I was thrilled by the idea. It was kind of a combination of all the things I like and do – working with children, acting, creative expression in making puppets, entertaining others, giving my free time and skills to someone. Although I have only recently started volunteering, from the first visit onwards I felt how the encounter with children enriches and rejoices me. Every time we come across a story that is not told, a character that has not been staged, every time we put a smile back on a face. It amazes me so much and it makes me proud knowing how brave these little fighters are and how willing they are to go through their difficulties (both medical and other) with their favourite characters from their imagination – with a smile on their face and openness of heart towards the volunteers. I am very happy that I can participate in this project and I hope that the volunteers of the Centre Talk to me will hang out with our little friends for a long time!
IVAN IGIĆ, fifth-year student at the Teachers Education Faculty of the University of Zagreb.
Favourite story: The Little Prince.
Favourite character: The Little Prince.
Started volunteering: May 2015
A sentence about me: I’m here to leave a mark.
Once upon a time in the land behind the rainbow and the rain, the moon and even a little above, there were six devoted volunteers who initiated the project “Let me tell you a story” at the Oncology and Hematology department of the Children’s Hospital Zagreb. Soon, the news spread about their dedicated work, and I asked myself: “Is there really such a thing? Oh, there must be! But you don’t arrive there by ship or by swimming in the water. It can be reached through imagination and stories, and it entertains every little creature. It is important to daydream there, to receive and reciprocate the love and kindness, to throw pearls of play and cheeerfulness and believe… and believe…” It is the love, game and cheerfulness that drive my desire to volunteer on this project. In addition to that, there is a feeling of usefulness in society in general, and above all with regard to the small creatures that are fighting hard for their life at the department. So it is them whom I send the message: I came to earth to give you a wink. To leave something behind like a fluttering trace. So don’t be sad. I’m so keen on remaining silly and strangely nice in your eyes.
When working with small patients, I learned that it is important to believe and not give up despite all the obstacles and extensive therapy, chemotherapy and radiation. That’s why I believe in this project – because there is no better feeling of satisfaction than when emotions are prompted by a story and are shown in the story, and when we can do nothing but to be there in these wonderful moments of joy and happiness, which later can be called memories that mean eternity.
SARA LONČAR, third-year student of undergraduate studies in Psychology
Favourite story: I have no favourite story. I like every story that has a beautiful message and interesting characters.
Favourite character: wolf
Started volunteering: 11th May 2016
A sentence about me: Hands for a hug, ears for music and mouth for food – anytime, always.
Honestly, when I first found out that there is something like this, I was immensely impressed and whomever I told that I want to become part of it, the comment
was: “It’s perfect for you!” I was particularly encouraged by my family. Before I applied, I was thinking for some time about starting to volunteer somewhere. I volunteered during high school, and it was a wonderful experience. It is even better when it is about helping others, in what ever way. And such help is something special! The project “Let me tell you a story” is really special and I am very happy to be a part of it. I read a lot, I love stories, and have been acting for years. I’m creative and resourceful, and I look forward to all forms of improvisation and working with hands. Gluing, cutting, painting – it’s all great! Also, I have experience in working with children and they make me extremely happy. The impression I have made so far was that in every child there is something fascinating, brilliant, funny and cute! We just need to put a little extra effort and discover it. Most of all, I am pleased to think that I have made someone’s day, especially someone who is going through difficult times, even for a moment. Their faces as they watch the performance… Well, I do not know. This is really something unique, fulfilling and wonderful.
HANA PILSKI, second-year student of graduate studies in Psychology at the Centre for Croatian Studies.
Favourite story: Unsatisfied ladybug.
Favourite character: Alice in Wonderland.
Started volunteering: April 2015
A sentence about me: I am Hana, I’m happy!
Volunteering on the Project “Let me tell you a story” for me is an exceptional experience. Every part of the process makes me happy – from the preparation and implementation of the performances to a feeling that arises in me when I see a smile on the faces of children and their parents. I also like developing new ideas about new puppets and materials that we could create. Upon the arrival at the department I get overwhelmed by a feeling of warmth and excitement, and as I play the character, I am fully committed to the present moment, as if nothing outside of it does not exist. I like to volunteer at the Centre Talk to me because it allows expanding perspectives in establishing supportive relationships with children suffering from malignant diseases. What motivates me is the combination of seriousness and subtlety in the creation of such a relationship, and assisting with the creative work, creation and performance.
LUKA POSILOVIĆ, third-year student at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing
Favourite story: Lapitch the Little Shoemaker.
Favourite character: Hlapić the Apprentice.
Started volunteering: 30 April 2016
A sentence about me: I’m Luka and rarely do I feel embarassed.
Why I volunteer: Why would someone volunteer? Because associationss do not have the money to pay the workers? Because volunteers are mostly students, so they have time and do not have experience? NO and NO! Volunteering is a job that no one can pay, because thus it would lose its value. How would it look like if you paid someone to make the children happy? Money corrupts things and passion is being lost quickly. Volunteering by acting in the hospital is one of the more serious forms of volunteering, it can do great things: a single lion or a bird – and the same moment tears disappear from cheeks, which dropped because of blood tests and other tests! Another lion or tiger – and a smile is on the face! My opinion is that everyone should volunteer when being a student, and work with children, of course, to give they contribution, but also because of the amount of new skills and creative skills that can be learned from them. This and the need to act, to work with children is what prompted me to start volunteering at the Centre Talk to me.
GABRIJELA PRIMORAC, Master of Economics
Favourite story: The Lion King.
Favourite character: Snow White and all princess characters.
Started volunteering: October 2015
A sentence about me: I am Gabrijela and I really like singing and thus entertaining others. 🙂
Why I volunteer: I volunteer at the CentreTalk to me because I am looking forward to reviving the characters of often known, but sometimes unknown, new and exciting fairytales. My wish is that every character who comes to life behind the screen in the children’s room or on the small stage at children’s bed, brings joy and a smile to children to who we perform. My wish is that children can identify themselves with the characters and that they are affected by the good and beautiful feelings that the characters carry with them; to feel comfort and hope and through the message of the story always learn something new, to feel inspired to do beautiful things and that they are encouraged to continue to fight the disease… That our performance pulls them away for a few minutes out of their difficulut everyday life and to give them the energy that will carry them that day … Also, after volunteering, when playing and having fun with children, I feel that the attention we, volunteers, give them as “big girls and big boys”, means a lot to the little ones and that they then feel important and special. Through stories, identifying ourselves with the characters, team work with our fellow volunteers, creating puppets and singing I go back to my childhood and wake up the little girl who thus feels the great freedom and joy of being a child again; what most people lose because of the bustle of life and so many commitments in everyday life. It’s nice to be a volunteer on the project “Let me tell you a story”!
MARTINA ŠTRK, third-year student of psychology
Favourite story: The Wizard of Oz.
Favourite character: The Little Mermaid.
Started volunteering: 11 November 2015
A sentence about me: Eternal optimist with 1100 wishes, always hungry for travels and art, and generally hungry.
Volunteering at the Centre Talk to me has been one of the truly beautiful experience that I have, which is why I plan to continue volunteering over a longer period of time. It is incredibly beautiful to put a smile on the faces of children and their parents in such a way. There is nothing better for us volunteers than to hear children burst out laughing in the middle of the performance. Then you know that all the hard work paid off and that you are doing something special. This is definitely the strongest motivation, which ultimately results in a variety of unusual stories and characters that come every Tuesday on morning rounds, and always come back for new smiles. But not only children are entertained. We also have fun. We will not lie, it is always nice to go back to your childhood and re-read Puss in Boots, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and get a unique opportunity to become one of those characters who have acted as role models for us for years. It is indeed nice to become a princess for a day and find your Prince Charming, even if only in form of a stirring spoon that you hold in your hand. So this is a project which is truly a win-win for everybody, and where everyone’s wishes come true – and therefore we can’t stop. There are many stories that can’t wait to be told, a lot of characters who live for it to come to the hospital and many happy endings that have yet have to be created!
FRANKA VUKOREPA, third-year medical student
Favourite story: Cinderella.
Favourite character: The Ugly Duckling
Started volunteering: 18 May 2016
A sentence about me: I am a growing and cheerful soul who likes happy endings.
My volunteering was prompted by the feeling that in everyday life I lack something that would fill me to the level at which other things in my life can’t. Eventually, I realized that I am most satisfied when I do something good, and when I make other people feel good, and when I added children to that – I knew what I was looking for. There was an opportunity to get involved in the Centre and without hesitation I did it, and thus filled my life with a special kind of joy and fulfillment. Is there anything more beautiful than to see the smiles on children’s faces and know that you've helped them, and to read in their eyes that you have been able to take them into another world, where they are suddenly just these characters you’re talking about? Yes, I’m doing something for them, but they do so much for me. They teach me their simplicity, and how actually little we need to be truly happy. I look forward to each prepared story and visiting the department, because every time I give I also receive something new – experience, joy and mutual smiling.
ANA VUKSANOVIĆ, third-year medical student
Favourite character: Tarzan
Favourite story: Grandpa and the turnip.
Started volunteering: 18 May 2016
A sentence about me: I am a joyful and happy person who takes life very seriously.
Why I volunteer: Volunteering makes me happy because I love children. I feel better after going to the hospital and successfully receiving a few smiles from the little ones. It makes me happy because it helps me, by getting to know these small, sick, but happy people, look at life with a milder view than I would usually do, and be a better and more compassionate person. All a man needs in order to grow inside is a little good will to take action, a little imagination to be creative, a little love to decide in favour of what is good. All this has been enabled to me and, I believe, to all other volunteers, through participation in the work of the Centre Talk to me. And so together we grow.