Ribbon cutting by friends of the Foundation
On June 24, 2021 the Janaszkowo Settlement hosted a group of very special people - the Settlement’s Friends who helped the Pay It Forward Foundation carry out necessary renovation works in the first part of the building. The underground level is now a modern Rehabilitation Center. Our guests had a chance to see all the renovated rooms, witness rehabilitation sessions in progress and get to know some modern equipment - how it works and what rehabilitation and therapy functions it brings.
“It all starts with a dream and every dream includes success and failure, plan and hope. The Janaszkowo Settlement is an example of such a dream” - said the Polish President’s Social Advisor for Disabled People. “You are very lucky to work with such a team” - she added, wishing the Pay It Forward Foundation’s staff much persistence.
The Mayor of the Slesin City and Commune admitted that when he had been told about the Foundation’s plans and dream, they all seemed abstract. It very soon turned out, however, that the dream was pursued with great consistency.
Mrs. Justyna, who has been a long time friend from Smurfit Kappa, emphasized that the Pay It Forward Foundation is not a typical organization but a mission! Beautifully represented Smurfit Kappa Group and Smurfit Kappa Foundation surprised everyone with an amazing gift for the youngest Settlement’s attenders: a popcorn machine which was immediately tested out.
Presented with a thank-you certificate and a gift the Manager of Social and Occupational Rehabilitation Department in the Regional Center for Social Policy was very happy that the Foundation’s task was successfully completed.
The Forest Manager of the Konin Forest District, underlined the importance of sensitivity in everyday work when one’s goal is to bring back the meaning of life to those who lost it due to various circumstances. It’s the very sensitivity that bonds the Foundation’s team and the foresters.
Violetta who is a master of combining business with art and helping talked about the beginnings of her relationship with the Foundation: charity auctions and other projects. She expressed her respect for the Foundation’s staff - for the readiness and efforts to change lives of people with disabilities.
Speaking on behalf of the media, Monika emphasized that contact with the Pay It Forward Foundation is always a great pleasure and the omnipresent positive attitude spreads to absolutely everyone around. “When you see people dealing with many obstacles come to the Foundation and you observe how they spread their wings, discover their potential and talent, it touches you so deeply, teaches you so much and lets you grow as well” - she said with clear emotion.
Antoni, who has been a long-time Poznan television employee, mentioned Doctor Piotr Janaszek, their friendship and many activities they shared. He added that even though Doctor Piotr died over 20 years ago, it is still so difficult to come to terms with this loss...
On welcoming the guests, the President of the Foundation told a short story about how a team of people with disabilities, a team of the Foundation’s specialists and a team of the youngest attenders’ parents worked hand in hand on the project of the Rehabilitation Center. She also introduced the “four pearls” which can be seen inside the Center:
Musicon - a very creative music therapy equipment which can also help with counting, geometry and programming. It’s a beautiful wooden object that has been repeatedly awarded for design and concept. It’s designed to help children discover the world, their abilities and talents. It’s also a music instrument allowing children to compose their own music - any action performed on the equipment generates amazing sounds.
Another not so commonly used but extraordinary equipment is PRAGMA. It’s not only the motor and neurological rehabilitation equipment but a complete method that is based on elastomers that resemble human muscles and force natural movements.
Another “pearl” is the Cyber Eye (C-Eye) designed by Polish academic researchers of the Gdansk University of Technology and manufactured by the Assis Tech company. The C-Eye at the Janaszkowo Settlement will mainly serve children with communication problems. The device allows communication with people of minimal state of consciousness - communication is obtained by tracking eyeball movements. Children get fun and pleasure working with the device as their tasks come in the form of nice animated games whereas adults work on communication boards and tests and provide their answers by eyeball movements.
Last but not least, the Janaszkowo Settlement offers the TDCS method (non-invasive stimulation of the brain through the skull). The Foundation’s specialists prepare individual session plans on the basis of detailed analysis -brain waves mapping. This method stimulates and helps build neuronal connections in those areas of the brain where it’s needed the most.
Apart from the abovementioned equipment in the Janaszkowo Settlement, the Pay It Forward Foundation cares a lot about motor/physical activity: the Rehabilitation Center hosts a gym designed by a team of coaches consisting of people using wheelchairs and physiotherapy rooms for active and passive therapy.
All of these rooms and devices were available to the guests of the Janaszkowo Settlements - the Pay It Forward Foundation Donors.
The meeting at the Janaszkowo Settlement was attended by those whose contribution to the opening of the first part of the building was the biggest. That was due to the pandemic situation in Poland but the list of the Foundation’s Donors is much longer and includes not only companies and institutions but also many individuals from Poland and abroad who support the project on a regular basis, companies that offered their service, donated furniture and other equipment. “We already have a big board with names of the greatest Donors at the Janaszkowo Settlement but if we wished to enlist absolutely everyone, we would soon run out of walls” - said Zuzanna. “Great job has been done: we have completed of the plan but we still have lots to do and we still need our Friends very much. The nearest goal is to open the so-called “Academy”- a place where we will assist those who were locked in their homes due to their disabilities.
The Janaszkowo Settlement is located in a picturesque place, by a beautiful lake and it’s not a random location: this is exactly where a young, fresh-out-of-university Doctor Piotr Janaszek organized his first camp for children with disabilities in the late 1970s (together with the Friends of Children Association). Before he left his heart at Mielnica for good, this is where he cared for these children. “History has come full circle” - said many of the invited guests. Many warm wishes and kind words were said to the Pay It Forward Foundation’s staff. This is a group of people who do their job with great devotion and look at it not as a regular job but as a mission to help others. This group includes the staff, the specialists, the volunteers, many of whom are people with disabilities who were once under the Foundation’s care and now are helping others in need. This group consists also of Parents and Caregivers of the youngest Foundation attenders - it needs to be mentioned that the sweet and fruit treat that could be enjoyed by all the guests this day was prepared by the attenders’ Moms and Volunteers.
In addition to visiting the Rehabilitation Center itself, visitors also had the opportunity to wreath St. John's garlands and then fulfill the tradition of throwing them into the water.
Guests visited the Rehabilitation Centre
MUSICON is a great device for therapy
Learning to overcome architectural barriers
Gym for people with physical disabilities