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Florence Centre,  Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine
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Report September 2018
The “Baby Kangaroo” Project
The “Baby Kangaroo” project provides early psychological rehabilitation of children with special needs from 2 to 7 years old. During the month, 7 children attended classes on the “Baby Kangoroo” project, 8 consultations were held. An individual psychological rehabilitation program was developed for each child, which includes the following areas:
- development and correction of the emotional-behavioral sphere;
- development and correction of the cognitive sphere;
- development of communication skills;
- providing assistance to a family with a special child, counseling parents;
- adaptation of a special child in society.
And we already see the first successes of our kids! T. became more assiduous; M. shows more interest to contact, learns to collect toys; L. utters the first sounds and words; G. gradually adapts to new conditions.
We would like to express our gratitude to the parents for following the recommendations of our specialist, optimizing the child`s day schedule, doing homework. Children do not want to leave after classes, and parents with gratitude say: “We have a hope!”.
The Project “Territory Z”
(Part of the Program “Healthy Lifestyle”)
Employees of the “Florence Centre” took part in the first lesson of the year at school №42 for students in the 10th grade. The meeting discussed issues of universal values and the role of youth in building a new democratic state. As a guest at the lesson, there was an American citizen David McKitrick, who spoke about the history of democracy in the United States. The guys liked that it was possible to hear a real American speech, got acquainted with the experience of the formation of values in other countries, ask questions of interest.
In September, there were already 13 meetings with students of grades 9, 10 and 11. A total of 108 children attended the classes.
Students did not unequivocally respond to the proposed topics (“Bulling” and “How to choose future profession”). Some students did not express any desire to participate in the lesson, but preferred to play on the phone. Our employees readily accepted the “challenge” and are developing a technique for involving such guys in the process.
Also this month a parent meeting was held in one of the schools. The chosen topic of the meeting was bullying, but it turned out to be quite difficult. Parents listened to the lecturer with great interest, but at the same time trying not to express personal interest. In total, the meeting was attended by about 20 people.
Also, five booklets how to choose future professional and about bullying (for parents and for children) were developed specifically for the classes. Handout turned out very informative and colorful.
The “Kangaroo” Program
The Kangaroo program carries out early social rehabilitation of children with special needs from 2 to 7 years. In September 17 children attended the “Kangaroo” program. New kids continue to adapt to a group of other kids.
This month we congratulated one of our children with his birthday. By tradition, the children passed around a candle and recited wishes for the “hero of the day”. The holiday was fun, with games, songs and dances!
In September we updated the group classes (exercises, finger exercises and articulation exercises, etc.), picked up a new material, developed a new theme for general developmental activities.
Autumn kids met with autumn crafts, applications and other creative works. Children became real wizards in creative activities. They made elephants for a magic zoo from balloons and colored paper, glued a magic ball from threads, and painted colorful heroes with water. And incredibly beautiful autumn trees kids painted with fingers! In the group lessons, our new friends from the “Baby Kangaroo” project join us. We are very pleased that our children's team is replenished with new active, fun and interesting kids!
Work continues with a speech therapist and music therapist. A visit to the pool in the children's regional hospital brings a lot of fun to children: children can relax, get a hydromassage session, and work out with gymnastic sticks.
We started the production of a new fairy tale “Puss in Boots” for a puppet theater. We are very pleased that all children take the initiative and want to participate in a fairy tale. Even "non-speaking" children are trying to convey the emotions of their hero (resentment, fear, anger, etc.).
Glad to meet our friends “Smehonosy”. Children have a rest with their soul and body together with
clowns: they jump, blow bubbles, compete, dance and just have fun.
In this month we had a great walk to the Oak park. The children ran into the autumn park, rode on a swing, went down the hill, watched nature, and most importantly - rode the horse Batyr! After riding, the children thanked the horse and treated it to delicious apples.
We visited the cinema where all the children enjoyed watching a cartoon about a raised pig Chun. The children bought movie tickets by themselves, searched their place by the ticket number, and thanked for watching the cartoon.
Also, in this month, our employees visited day care and rehab centre “Lado” in Kharkiv. They participated in seminars on the peculiarities of work on the method of PECS, Tomatis therapy and sensory integration. Our employees have gained unforgettable practical experience for their future work with children with special needs.
Employees of the Florence Centre visited the Shevchenko Department of Social Rehabilitation for Children with Disabilities, as well as a group of children’s in day care centre. The main purpose of the visit is to examine the possibility of sending children to these centers after child becomes 7 years.
At the end of the month, the “Florence Centre” hold a parent meeting. The meeting was attended by 12 parents. The issues of the daily routine were discussed, as well as issues related to children's manipulation. Starting this year, monthly sessions are planned for parents on issues of up-bringing of children with special needs.
The Project “School Mediation”
In September, both school conflict resolution services began active work.
After the summer holidays, the guys with excitement and great enthusiasm started planning the activities of school conflict resolution services for the current year. In total, 6 meetings of mediators took place.
During the month, 12 presentations for students and 2 presentations for teachers about the functioning of school conflict resolution services were held. In total, there were 360 students and 60 teachers.
Also in September, 3 mediations took place. The conflicting parties were students of grades 6-7 (8 students). All mediations were rather difficult. One of the mediations was conducted by the coordinator Irina independently, since for her permission, it was necessary to involve adults (parents, class teacher and deputy director).
Another conflict situation was also solved with the participation of the coordinator, as more than three people were drawn into it. At the meeting with the coordinators, the staff of the “Florence Centre” outlined a plan for further work.
Due to fact that some of the mediators finished school, the coordinators began to recruit new students. It should be noted that due to the active work of school services in the past year, many schoolchildren independently contact the coordinators with a request to take them to the team.
We are very pleased that thanks to this project, students have the opportunity to gain new knowledge and experience in solving conflict situations, as well as to improve the quality of school life.
In this month, two students from the 4th courses of the Faculty of Social Pedagogy and Psychology of Zaporizhzhya National University came to us. Both young women are future social pedagogues. As part of the course on volunteering, they must work 14 hours as volunteers in any organization of the city. Several years ago, they came to practice at the “Florence Centre” and therefore, barely hearing about the task, without hesitation they came to us.
Also in September, a meeting was he’ld with representatives of the Mennonite Central Committee Irina Degtyareva and Ketty Geddert. The “Florence Centre” was offered to apply for the acceptance of one volunteer in the exchange program. They promised that all our wishes and requirements would be taken into consideration. We are very pleased that next year a foreign volunteer will come to us, who will be able to become part of the Florence Centre for a year.
In September, a meeting was held with the head of the public organization “People with Disabilities” (Kiev), Yuri Fedun. As part of the integration strategy project of one of the political parties in Ukraine, Yuri Stepanovich invited the staff of the Florence Centre to take part in a round table on the allocation of budgetary funds for organizations that deal with disabled children. The event is scheduled for October 2018.
Work with Foreign Specialists
The “Florence Centre” was visited by long-time partners of the Winnipeg Mennonite Benevolent Society. We shared our achievements and challenges. We asked them to give us a gift - a collage “I love Zaporizhzhya”. Our colleagues said that they liked this task, but the last time they did this kind of thing was in their childhood!
In the context of familiarizing the regional administration with the projects that they support, a meeting was organized with the Deputy Governor, E.Gugnin. During the meeting, issues of mutual interests and cooperation were discussed.
Training of Specialists of Social Sphere
The lecture “How to do a family budget” was held at the “Florence Centre” for employees. In this year was decided at each meeting once a month to acquaint the state with new topics: in the area of professional activity and in the area of improving the quality of life.
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