A summary of the program I conducted from May till December in cooperation with the not for profit organization Center for Civil Initiatives (CCI).
Ten months ago I got a phone call from Center for civil initiative if I would participate in the project „Hands full of work.“ The project aimed to contribute to the well being of elderly people offering them workshops where they can improve knowledge about usage of technology (mobile phones and PCs), improve brain health and use literature as a tool for learning, playing and creating something new.
I accepted, and become a leader of the programme “About storytelling and poetry writing.“ During six months, I had to lead 20 workshops with five different groups, four workshops per a group. The first workshop was in May; the last one finished a week ago.
The first challenge was to design a program. I decided to combine storytelling and reading of prose and poetry with games. It was not an easy task, but with each new experience, I got better. Listening to the comments of the participants I was able to provide the content which inspires and motivates.
The second challenge was my ability to be flexible and open to new experiences when I got to work with a group of people who use a service of Alzheimer’s department within nursing homes. Being patient, calm and creative was important. It was worthed seeing how people react to voice, words, poetry, music, singing, etc.
The third challenge was to choose the prose fragments for reading, and I struggled with it the most. I was constantly checking choices and authors and changing them. I finally realized for the group of people over eighty years I have to choose funny but inspiring fragments.
When the programme was at its end, I got another challenge to make a presentation for a conference. Up till that moment, I made a few presentations. At first, it seemed the biggest challenge of all, but in the end, I made it quite successfully.
The outcome of the programme is:
- 57 participants
- willingness to participate in all games (pantomime, group poem writing, playing a social game Ludo and telling stories inspired by the Arabian nights)
- creation of 12 poems
- the first public reading of the story Magpie
- sharing of a diary of a grandmother
- public reading of a legend about Medvedgrad
- public reading of participant’s poetry
- presentation at the conference
- people love reading, hearing and writing POETRY
I am proud I finished the project successfully and enriched myself with new encounters. I am proud I was courageous to dive into unknown and to let myself learn new things about myself and my surrounding. I hope there will be new projects in the future .
Center for civil initiatives is not for profit organization with 20 years of experience in community organizing and educating stakeholders. Their headquarter is in Zagreb, but they provide service in different Croatian counties.