Storytelling has been the heart and soul of Világszép Foundation´s work for the past 10 years. The spoken word storytelling is the bridge with which we are able to build a connection to children living in state care. The regular visits are furthermore providing a secure spot in the constantly changing lives of the kids. Volunteers of our program spend quality time with the children and by giving them open attention trying to smuggle moments full of joy and intimacy into the everyday lives of the little and older ones. With the stories they also try to carry one important message to the kids: “all´s well that ends well”
Our volunteer storytellers visit 4 foster homes in Budapest on a weekly base. The storytelling itself happens by a well-known routine: The kids will await us after dinner at their usual spot, the living room sofa, in the storytelling corner or snuggled up in bed. We bring along “story scent” (a gift from aromatherapist Adrienn Feller to the foundation), which we sprinkle in the kids´ hands or snuggle toys and which helps creating a calm sphere. Before and after the story there´s time to talk. Children in state care often don´t get enough individual attention, so it´s one of the main aims for us to let them experience the intimate homely feeling of chatting before going to sleep. We open and end our storytelling with short poems and by that providing a frame for the happenings.
We´re working with folk tales, legends and traditional stories, which we never “explain”, “interpret” or quiz the kids about. These stories are already suitable to bring some magic into the kids´ everyday lives and provide them with symbols and fabulous vocabulary, so they can face their fears, dreams and hopes feeling safe. We believe, that stories are everyday magic: They are born in the very moment their words are spoken between teller and listener and they´ll take exactly that shape, that will fit this never to be reproduced moment and the personalities of teller and listener. That´s why our program is not bound to any age: We not only tell to kindergarten and elementary school children, but also to teens and young adults in after care. Every age has its own stories.
The story bunch used by our volunteers is compiled out of the seemingly never ending story treasure chest from around the world monthly by our foundation´s international storyteller Dr Csenge Virág Zalka. Some of the pieces of this extraordinary compilation you can come across in the story column in the women´s magazin Nők Lapja or in our story database, from where you can download them. Our regular donors will every 3 months receive a specially thematically compiled bunch of stories for this occasion, the Story Mail.
“Stories are not there to make children believe that dragons are real. Children already know, that they are. Stories are there to show them: dragons can be defeated.” (after G.K. Chesterton)
To learn more about our volunteer storyteller program please visit our “How we help” site.
How does it feel to be a Világszép volunteer?
“When I entered kids where running around, standing on top of tables or screaming. I sat down, started to tell my story, but they interrupted me, telling me, they don´t want that, they want another one. When we reached the middle of the story the room got quiet, three kids where watching me with bright eyes, waiting what will happen. This is one of the best feelings in the world, to be present with them like that.”
Judit Barzsó, volunteer storyteller
“After finishing the story a little boy asked, if I´d listen to him playing piano. There was a pianino in the hallway, he started playing on it. He was good. Not perfect, of course, but good and I could tell by looking at him, that it is important to him, that he can show what he can to somebody. Realization hit me, that small gestures like this, like to be present for somebody with real interest and attention and to really see what he´s occupied with, how much that counts. He played all three melodies he knew and I could see, it makes him happy, that I listened to him.”
Ágnes Keresztury, volunteer storyteller
Our volunteer storytellers commit for one year to help the Foundation´s work (which can be prolonged with mutual agreement). By this they commit to visiting the foster home to which their storyteller team belongs at least once a month. Every week two Világszép volunteers arrive together at a given foster home: they go together, so the most possible attention could be given to the children and to divide the stories and all related tasks. Thanks to the regular visits an intimate, friendly relationship develops between storytellers and youngsters, providing space for the common storytelling. Our foundation provides a four-days-storytellign base workshop, regular supervisions, soul refresher meetings and further opportunities to learn.