The Young Forest September 2018
The Young Forest is a family home for youth who have special needs, or come from unstable homes that include alcohol abuse, domestic violence, prostitution, or crime. They find a good home at The Young Forest where their needs are taken care of, receive love, education and help. They have been running since 1946, and we were so thrilled to meet the youth who live here and help support them with toys and sports equipment.
The family home named “The Young Forest” is a caring and educational institution that was founded in 1946. The first residents of the home were the victims of World War II. They had all lost their parents, sometimes siblings and relatives because of the war. Very often they were eyewitnesses of traumatic events and some even watched their family members die. Many of them had been starving for weeks or even months at a time. They didn’t have suitable clothes or boots during the winter season. After the war the Young Forest gave hope for a new and better life for many of them. Many pupils of the family home as adults made great careers in Poland, founded happy families (very often relationships between each other). Some of them are still alive and they come every year for a reunion in Torun, the oldest is 91 years old. In the beginning, the facility was home to over 90 war orphans.
The Young Forest has worked constantly to provide a good home and new opportunities for children who usually have parents but their families are incapable of raising a child. Other times the youth come from pathological environments, or unstable homes that include alcohol abuse, domestic violence, crime or sometimes dealing with prostitution of their mothers or sisters.
There are five Young Forest facilities and each of them are home to 14 children in each home. They receive some help from the local government, in that the state ensures a budget for the tutors salaries, maintenance and basic things which cover the basic needs for the children, but this is all. Every toy, electronic device, new towel, nice blanket or a painting on the wall is a luxury, which is possible only thanks to private sponsors.
Partex Poland started to cooperate with The Young Forest two years ago. They helped to give a redecoration of one of the floors, where the children’s rooms were refreshed, walls were repaired and painted. Partex Poland has continued their support by providing the home with a brand new kitchen equipped with new furniture in the kitchen and household appliances.
It felt great for us also help support this great home with toys such as skateboards, push scooters, footballs, 14 kits of bed linens, blankets and towels. The children were very happy for these new items, and it was great fun to see them play outside with them!
The Young Forest’s children’s daily life
The children who live in the family home run by a daily schedule, as it is necessary for their sense of security. The children attend various schools depending on their needs. Some attend typical educational institutions, special schools, and few of them require individual teaching methods at home. The children all take part in domestic duties that include making their beds, tidying up their rooms, making breakfast or dinner. Each duty is suitable to their age and specific skills. For some children these household duties can be just an exercise while for others it can be a part of a therapy for them. By being responsible for something, can be a boost for their self-esteem.
Thankfully by the tutors efforts and private sponsors, the children have been fortunate to go to the cinema, swimming pool, go on holiday and other various activities! The teenagers have free time where they can walk and meet their friends. The children are allowed to meet with members of their families, such as parents, siblings or other relatives. In many cases the parents have limited parental rights so the children can only spend a few hours with them. Other than these limitations, the children are free to spend time with their relatives the whole weekend or even holiday.
At the Young Forest, the children live like any other regular child would despite mental or physical disorders that some may have. The tutors work hard to provide all children with a good life.
Second visit to the Young Forest – June 2019
We were happy to return to the Young Forest and continue to support the children. We did this by bringing lots of hand knit sweaters, clothes, face towels and toys for the children. While there Morgan gave many different workshops focused on the topics of self love, self esteem, and gender equality. It was really great to see the engagement and openness of the children.