How Young People with Special Needs Recreate with Friends at the Frankivs’k Caritas


At the beginning of spring, young people from the Ivano-Frankivs’k Caritas plunged into a tropical paradise with their friends. A trip to Aqua Park made this possible. Fondly remembering their previous visit, the mentally challenged youngsters waited for this trip with impatience. A total of 54 individuals made the trip to Aqua Park, including 12 friend pairs. With great joy, they flew down all the water slides, swam, and sat in the Jacuzzi; the bravest even dared to try the mountain snake! Volunteers helped the youngsters change and dry off and enjoyed spending the day together. Aqua Park trips were well remembered in the past and this trip promises to be no different.

The friends spent much time preparing for the next trip, remembering their previous trip to see Oliver Twist at L’viv theatre. This time they saw a Ukrainian favourite, Natalka Poltavka. The happy, lively, and funny play, together with the orchestra and general atmosphere, captivated the audience. Some chose a favourite performer; others were fascinated by the props, or just enjoyed following the play.

“The full range of emotions, laughter, anger, sympathy and judgement, only humans are capable of. The tense silence at the theatre wasn’t evidence of a quiet disinterested audience, it was anticipation. When all this is pent up, the audience experiences emotions that are improbable in daily life.

For this reason going to the theatre is a chance for growth: we learn to listen, analyze and observe. Making the trip with a parent is a way to find topics for conversation. Such events unite parents and children; when they discuss the play they learn what things impact their child or trouble them.

These clients have changed from timid to trusting and open individuals in the past 6 months. Indeed, the friendship project Help Another—Become a Friend, gave the youngsters a breath of something new,” says a mother of one of the Caritas clients.

The Centre for People with Special Needs at the Caritas Ivano-Frankivs’k UGCC is financed by the Netherlands Foundations for Central and Eastern Europe, SCAN Fund, and the Fund for the Development of the Carpathian Euroregion as part of the It takes Two: Help Another—Become a Friend project.

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