Like every two years, also this year we had an opportunity to spend a few days in the company of our children – Polish pupils of the Have a Future Foundation, as well as their parents, siblings, our therapists and volunteers, and the Board, Committee and Associates. Nearly 80 people spent a very intense, but also relaxing weekend in the woods at the lake in the days of 18-19th June.
Thanks to dividing some of the activities, the children could have all the fun with our volunteers they wanted, while the parents had some time to themselves.
Already on Friday evening the first families arrived in Straduń, and treated to supper by the exceptional staff they checked into their rooms. On Saturday morning, the remaining children arrived with parents and siblings, even though the way to the resort wasn’t so simple, as four of our volunteers – Asia, Magda, Kinga and Kasia – became lost at one of several roundabouts on the way :)
The January resort turned out to be a lovely place at the edge of the forest, near the lake, and adjusting the rooms to the age and fitness of the children, as well as delicious cooking and a large garden with attractions made the stay even more enjoyable.
The volunteers took over caring for the children already on the first day, along with the associates of the foundation, members of the committee – Dorota, Kasia, Irena, Marek, Jarek or Agnieszka, as well as therapists – Nicoletta and Marzena. Some of the children knew each other and the Foundation’s team from the previous meeting, in 2014 in Puszczyków; the younger children needed a little more time, but even we were positively surprised by the level of the children’s trust and the quickness of their contact.
Walks, beach, sand and forest, outdoor games, fun with painting, manual lessons, music, games and sport activities, as well as instrument lessons and baking cake.
We all know that therapy can be fun and does not have to be limited to repetitive exercises.
We also initiated the traditional competitions for the parents. The dads played matches in bouncing up a ball with a table-tennis bat, and as the number of “competitors” decreased, the level of difficulty increased – bouncing with a hand raised up, on one leg, while crouching or while giving high-fives to children at the same time. The competition of the mums was more dance and music-oriented, but no less exciting. “Hot seats”, that is chairs disappearing one by one each time the music stopped caused enthusiasm and spirit of competition in all Mums.
Congratulations to the winners – Hubert’s dad and Igor’s mum! And thank you to the kids and everyone present for cheering and a wonderful atmosphere :)
The culmination of the day’s games was a paper chase in the forest. The intended final of the competition was the search for a lost treasure. We have to admit that the volunteers preparing the paper chase did an excellent job – the treasure was nearly impossible to find despite the children’s efforts. Thanks to the determination of two exceptional Dads, it was finally found and dug out of the sand on the beach on Sunday. Eureka!
The day ended with a bonfire, where the children roasted their sausages themselves, as well as evening games and conversations.
The Sunday sun put everyone in a positive mood. Right after breakfast we began family sessions in a merry photo booth. After taking the pictures, we gave the children under care of the volunteers and therapists, so that they decorate the cake they made themselves a day earlier, while the parents passed time on activities.
During the weekend the Parents met twice during workshops. The first one was hosted by one of the mums and were related strictly to finding time for oneself and the ability to catch breath during a child’s illness.
For the Sunday course and workshop we invited a special Guest. They were hosted by dr. Izabela Fornalik – lecturer of the Karkonosze College in Jelenia Góra, who also leads educational classes on The Maria Grzegorzewska University in Warsaw and on the Postgraduate Sexual Education Studies on the University of Warsaw. Special needs teacher and sex educator with over a dozen years of experience working in special needs schools and other establishments for the mentally handicapped.
An outline of the topics touched upon during the lecture, among others:
- Psychosexual development of persons with mental handicap and ASD during childhood and its consequences for future life. How to support the sexuality of one’s own child with a mental handicap and the autism spectrum?
- The role of a parent in supporting a growing son and daughter with mental handicap and ASD (practical suggestions – puberty, falling in love, love, sexual activity)
- Long-term relationships, marriage. Legal aspects. The role of a parent.
- Person with a handicap and autism spectrum as a victim or perpetrator of sexual abuse.
- How to cooperate with the staff of an establishment in which a child with mental handicap and autism is situated? Practical tips.
- The conditions of effective sex education of persons with mental handicap in family home.
The workshops complemented the lecture, allowed for individual questions and considering specific issues.
On Sunday the children also encountered kittens carried across the road by their mother, as well as a squirrel. After a delicious dinner with a dessert prepared and decorated by the children, it is time to end the weekend spent together.
We thank all Families for coming, for telling us about their children, their therapies and their progress, but also for the possibility to see their character, skills, talents, watching their smile and reactions to the world surrounding them. It gives us motivation to further efforts. You give us motivation. Thank you once again! We wish you a happy summer!
Team, Board and Committee of the Have a Future Foundation and the Volunteers
We invite you to watch the picture gallery below and on Facebook.