She once went to work at the Thomayer Hospital as a volunteer on a charity day and she discovered that helping others fulfils her and that she always leaves in a good mood. However, Lenka Štraubová is mostly associated with the Neratov Association. How did she discover this little hamlet in the Eagle Mountains?
“Neratov actually found me. A few years ago, we went on a family trip at Easter to this village below the mountains at the end of the world, where we were especially interested in the reconstructed church with a glass roof,” is how Lenka described the beginnings. “I was entranced by the beauty of this place and when I discovered that the town had sheltered accommodation and sheltered workshops for people with mental disabilities, I decided to help there too.
Thanks to Lenka, the Neratov Association received an employee grant. It then became one of the partners of the Česká spořitelna Foundation and it now has three Floccus Prize trophies in its display case.
Every employee of the Česká spořitelna Financial Group can make use of two charity days, during which they receive full wages. And how did the volunteering figures stack up in 2016?
- 2063 volunteer events
- volunteers spent 3048 hours assisting with maintenance at Prague Zoo
- volunteers went most frequently to infant care centres – 164 volunteers went to the infant care centre at the Thomayer Hospital Children’s Centre.
- 1384 hours of activities with senior citizens were undertaken
How was 2016 for Lenka?
Helping in Neratov makes sense. This feeling has been growing in me throughout the period of our cooperation and it has been seven years now. I appreciated the fact that the expert jury for the Česká spořitelna Foundation’s Floccus Prize was of the same opinion and that it awarded the 2016 prize to Mons. Josef Suchár, the founder of the Neratov Foundation.
I am pleased that my colleagues are of the same opinion too and that they voted for my Neratov project, which focused on purchasing work aids, clothing and footwear for the employees of the sheltered workshops in Neratov within the framework of the Grant Programme. We received the wonderful amount of 100,000 CZK and I am looking forward to the evaluation of the project, where there will be photographs from the fashion show: cooks in high-quality aprons, laundry workers in non-slip footwear and gardeners in insulated overalls. We not only assist with meeting the requirements for occupational safety, but we also bring a smile to the faces of the workers in the sheltered workshops, who appreciate their work and find joy in every little thing.
I am pleased that I can contribute to the biggest event of the year, the fair in August. I become a volunteer at the weekend: I sell regional products at a stall. Our apples, plums, honey and cracklings are very popular. My feet hurt, but my soul reclines in the warmth of the pure joy and humanity around me.
I am proud of the fact that the Neratov Association behaves responsibly as a social company which does not only rely on grants and subsidies, but is also able to earn money from its own activities. It is no wonder that I was asked in the autumn if we could provide Neratov with a money-counting machine from a branch that had closed. We managed to resolve this request with our colleagues from the property department and our former money-counting machine now rustles with banknotes from the sale of Neratov meat and the earnings from the reconstructed restaurant, the Kopeček sheltered workshop or the gardening activities.
I am happy to share my experiences. It was my pleasure to assist a colleague from Brno who is a volunteer in the Vrátka non-profit organisation in Třebíč. I have a personal relationship with the town of Třebíč and the Vrátka organisation. They did not receive a grant last year, but Mrs Palátová, the founder of the Vrátka organisation, received the Floccus Prize. Helping makes sense.
We share our professional experience, but are not afraid of getting our hands dirty with manual work. As individuals or whole teams we go to help out non-profits pro bono.
„Close encounters with people who help abandoned healthy and handicapped children, their humane approach and the attempt to provide them with everything that is in their power, regardless of low remuneration, including the organisation of volunteer days, over and above the framework of their work, inspires and motivates—everyday a person should remember that the stress in our work is really surplus.” Volunteer at Infants’ Institute – Children's Centre at Thomayer Teaching Hospital
„Thank you for making the work of some workers easier for at least a day. But, more importantly, the chance to obtain a permanent volunteer. We were very happy and got positive feedback from the senior citizens visited.” Home for Senior Citizens Kamenec
In 2015 we gave non-profits 2,067 working days - 16,536 hours of our work, which helped where it was needed. We helped out in 147 organisations. We most frequently help out in organisations focused on the environment, ecology and animals. The busiest months for helping organisations are June, October and November, the busiest days are Friday and Wednesday. The months we do the most work are June, October and November. Our employees can use two days, which they can devote to non-profit organisations every year.
Managers for a Good Cause
„In the couple of days I spent in Palata, I took away a couple of experiences that I will probably never forget. I was based at the office of a manager named Marta Dzúrová. In the day at her place the people keep coming through the door and calling, but when a client came Mrs. Dzúrová transformed into a concerned, helpful mother who did not let on that she had a lot of work and listened to the client. ‘He wouldn‘t come to see me again if he knew he was disturbing,’ was what she said. What did I do for those couple of days? I probably spent the most time on the computer—for example I demonstrated some Microsoft Office functions, established the term Palata on Wikipedia and showed them how to download music (for clients for dancing classes) and drafted manuals.” Anna Dvořáková, portfolio manager, who helped out in Palata.
Leaving a banking environment for a week and passing on experience to a non-profit organisation is enabled by the Managers for a Good Cause programme. Eight managers from various departments got involved in it in 2015.
Jiří Hájek, deputy director of the Large Corporates segment, participated in the programme at our partner Charita ČR. „Working with Jiří Hájek, albeit brief, was very stimulating and enjoyable. He was bursting with energy and ideas, which in the future will facilitate and improve our work, and he was also able to comprehensibly pass on his experience. Jiří basically exceeded our expectations and was a big benefit for us. I will be happy to stay in contact with him and will be grateful for his advice even outside the framework of the Managers for a Good Cause project.”