About the GO! Program
GO! Program was designed to fill in the free time of the oncological wards’ youngest patients. The intention of the Bátor Tábor Foundation is to reach as many children touched by cancer, as well as their families, as possible. Polish Go! Program is a natural continuation of a Hungarian project, carrying the same name. It began based on the so-called ‘hospital outreach programs’ of the American organization SeriousFun Children’s Network (established by actor Paul Newman). Our Foundation is a proud member of this Network.
The aim of the GO! Program is to bring to the hospital wards an experience similar to the one offered to the children participating in our camp in Hatvan, near Budapest. (HERE you can learn more about the Bátor Tábor camp).
Our activities are based on the recreational therapy method, since we deeply believe that by facing the prepared challenges the children have a chance to face their own limitations, develop self-confidence and spend time with others their age. Through fun and play, we want to bring back smiles to their faces and give them strength to continue fighting the illnesses.
Types of workshops
Within the framework of the GO! Program we organize two types of workshops – Casino and Bundle. Due to the infrastructural capabilities of the hospital wards, the Foundation focuses on maximizing the use of space. In the Children’s Memorial Health Institute, which possesses a large common room, we organize group activities. The children approach the volunteers by themselves, curious about the games prepared for them and encouraged by the sight of other little patients playing. In the Institute of Mother and Child, it is the volunteers who visit the children in their rooms, carrying little bags or bundles (hence the name of the workshop) full of intriguing and colorful games.
Workshop frequency and duration
Due to the capabilities of the Foundation and the full schedule of the hospital wards, we currently organize two workshops per month (one in the Children’s Memorial Health Institute and one in the Institute of Mother and Child). The workshops are held in the afternoon during the week and last about 2-3 hours. More often than not, after they finish, the volunteers meet and discuss their observations and impressions from the ward visit. They exchange their experience in a wider group, under the supervision of the Foundation coordinator.
In the Institute of Mother and Child it is the volunteers who visit the children in their rooms, carrying little bags or bundles (hence the name of the workshop) full of intriguing and colorful games.
In the Children’s Memorial Health Institute, which has a large common room, we organize group activities. The children approach the volunteers by themselves, curious about the games prepared for them and encouraged by the sight of other little patients playing.
How to become a volunteer?
Be at least
Have a bit
Have the desire
Quotations from Volunteers
Each month I wait for the day of the workshop, which brings so much good to everyone who participates in it. Upon entering the wards, you forget everything else. Only here and now is important. Every shared moment… each game… every drawing bring so much happiness to both the kids and the adults. The volunteers and children. Time stops. You don’t see suffering… you don’t see tears… there is only joy… laughter… playing… and at the end of the day you think this is what it’s all about. And you impatiently wait for the next day like this.
Thanks to the children I meet through the GO! Program, I’ve learned to appreciate what I have. I don’t complain, I don’t whine - I look at them and I wonder who is on the giving side and who is on the receiving. When we play together, I see more clearly than ever before, that we have nothing without our health. I can’t reconcile myself with this thought. Why do some children learn this hard truth so early? If in only a few hours I can make sick Janek or Tosia a bit healthier, then I have no choice - I have to go. And you know what? After leaving I wait for the next meeting.
The GO!Program seemed a bit too difficult to me at first and leading up to the first workshop in the hospital I had a lot of doubts. I was wondering if I could do this, if there will be no barriers between me and the disease of the child that would interfere with the workshop … The first workshop removed any of my doubts. Workshops mean a lot to the children and their parents: for at least a moment they can take a break from their daily routine, something they really need. The Go! Program is a great experience for the volunteers as well, I learned so much from this experience.
From the start, the Foundation has cooperated with two Warsaw-based hospitals – the Children’s Memorial Health Institute and the Institute of Mother and Child. Together we decide the dates of workshops, enter the wards, discuss the program and its effects. We always take our partners’ suggestions into consideration.