Aid to the needy 


Throughout 2006

Approximate Man-Hours Spent on this Project: 

We delivered at least 300 kg of humanitarian aid to the refugees in Kamp “Gaza” in Karlovac (the camp has approximately 400 resident members). We also visited and helped needy families in the area of Karlovac (near the Bosnian border in Croatia), and others in the area of Rijeka. At the same time of visiting these needy families, we spent time counseling and comforting them during these trying times in their lives.

We have been visiting Karlovac and its surroundings (a needy refugee area affected by the war in former Yugoslavia), since 1998. During this year we continued to visit and offer comfort and counseling, as well as humanitarian aid whenever possible to families we’re in contact with, as well as other newer acquaintances. We regularly visit 2 schools in particular (one of them with approximately 170 students, and the other 300, mostly refugee children), and 1 refugee camp (of approximately all-year-round 400 inhabitants). During our visits to the camp, especially in summer time, when the children don’t have school obligations, we also organize fun and educational activities for them.

Smile Therapy

Clown therapy

Project Duration: weekly, throughout 2006

Approximate Man-Hours Spent on this Project: 280

This is a weekly project we have committed ourselves to: every Wednesday or Thursday of the week we visit an institution (hospital, handicapped center, old folks’ home, orphanage etc.) dressed up as clowns, and we sing and cheer people up. This project also helps us motivate young people who would like to experience volunteering, to come with us and taste what it feels like to make someone else happy. Our volunteers were the ones who introduced the concept of “clown therapy” here in Rijeka and the area 3 years ago, and since then many more than just us have gotten involved with it: 70 volunteers from Italy, 33 from Croatia, 3 from Brazil and 3 from Scandinavia.

Our project was featured in local newspaper “La voce del popolo”, April 2nd 2006, reaching an estimated audience of 3 000.

The project consists of visiting patients in a hospital, or children in an institution, or old people in a senior citizens’ home, and spending time cheering them up as clowns, as well as talking and counseling them. We’ve had amazing reactions from the patients, as well as doctors, who are all of the opinion that this simple project improves the general state of physical and psychological health of the patients. The main hospital in our city, KBC – Rijeka conducted a poll on the reactions of patients and staff to “clown therapy” and so far the results have been more positive than expected. Here is what the doctor overseeing the project said at our seminar on clown therapy in March this year: “Everything that affects the patients in a positive way should become a part of their therapy. The smile therapy really helps patients, just like the poll showed that we conducted every first Thursday of the month. The patients answered that the clown program evokes in them positive emotions: happiness, contentment, good will, increases their feeling of peace and tranquility, helps them to bear the time of hospital treatment easier and alleviates their fears and feeling of illness. For that reason we, doctors from the department, together with our chief, intend to continue our cooperation with the volunteers from “The Family – for a better world”.

Entertainment with a meaning!

Project Duration: throughout 2006

Approximate Man-Hours Spent on this Project: 93

We performed meaningful programs for over 10 institutions: mostly kinder gardens, schools, centers for the handicapped, refugee camps and senior citizens’ homes. There were approximately 700 attendees of our programs.

Throughout the year we perform for various occasions, and without any particular occasion, upon request of a particular institution. Since we’re well-known in the area, directors and animators often call us to request our presence. All of our shows, adapted to the occasion, have a meaning, and give the message of God’s love, and of helping others in need instead of concentrating on one’s only misfortunes in life. For example, on St. Valentine’s this year we performed for a handicapped center in the morning, and in the evening – for high-school and university students in a dormitory. We don’t just “put up a show” and leave, but remain with the attendees (whether they be patients, students or old people) for a good while after the show, in order to meet them personally and spend time talking, comforting and encouraging them. After that we often stay in contact with the institution or individuals and try to find ways to help them further.

Sharing the joy of Christmas

Project Duration: November and December 2006

Approximate Man-Hours Spent on this Project: 3744

During the month of December we performed 52 shows for a combined audience of thousands in schools, hospitals, centers for the handicapped, kinder gardens, senior citizens’ homes, homes for mothers and children, orphanages, centers for the deaf. The month of November was spent in preparation, practicing, translating scripts, recording plays and music, making costumes and all that goes into setting up a performance. We had two show troupes, each setting up a play on a Christmas theme – one was “A Christmas Carol” after Charles’ Dickens’ famous novel, and the other – “The true story of Santa Claus”, and the show troupes went for a tour of Croatia and Italy. On the first day of the year 2007 we also visited the refugee camp in Karlovac with presents and wishes for a happy new year.

One of our shows was featured in local newspaper “La voce del’ popolo”, December 6th, 2006, reaching an estimated audience of 3000.

Spiritual Support

Bible seminars 

Project Duration: throughout 2006, a few times each week 

Approximate Man-Hours Spent on this Project: 870

We held Christian leadership training courses and Bible classes attended by 20 students. We also organize a weekly “friends” day every Sunday, where people are welcome to our house and to talk, share their hearts, receive counsel and prayer, and find a spiritual retreat and renewal from their daily struggles. This weekly gathering is usually attended by 5-15 people. 

Every Sunday afternoon, since September 2005, our house is open for visitors – those who want to spend some time away from their daily routine, who want to enjoy some fellowship with fellow-believers, and learn more about the basics of the Bible, and how to apply its principles to every day life. Apart from that, each weak we spend time studying the Bible with individuals, and counseling them through the various difficult situations where they find themselves. Many of those who attend our seminars and gatherings later on also join us in humanitarian projects, or organize their own. One lady, for example, started a project of collecting packaged gifts from children of well-to-do families. Those gifts were meant to be Christmas presents for needy children from refugee families in the area of Karlovac, which we regularly visit. So after she collected more than 500 such gifts, we distributed them personally to the children and can testify that her project brought joy to a lot of little hearts that year. She’s planning to do the same this coming Christmas, with improvements. Others of our students join us in “clown therapy”, or are simply motivated to help transform their families and surroundings in a positive way. Here’s a comment from one of our students, a hair-dresser of the age of 56: “I’m really happy to have had the opportunity to meet you, The Family, here at my work place – hair dresser shop “Energy look”. After I learned from you the beauty of the Gospel, about God’s love and how you live it in your everyday lives, my eyes were opened, and I realized that I could also help others in the same way that you helped me. At my job I have contact with a lot of people, and I found out that I could understand a lot of them, and give them Jesus and His love, to help them through their problems. Now here at work we have a beautiful atmosphere – we don’t argue, we don’t gossip or complain. And Jesus always sends us people (clients) who need a good word, encouragement and someone who will listen. My life was enriched through the knowledge of Jesus and His love, I found out that I could have a better quality of life, in spite of all my problems – and I want to help others find that same quality of life, and that not only for themselves, but to teach them how to improve the situation in their homes, families and surroundings. It’s not easy nowadays to find a place where you are not just a number, but where you really count as a person. And our work place is just this. I always loved my job, but never imagined that I could have an even greater fulfillment in it, in fact, the real meaning and wealth: that I could help people in a spiritual way. I’d love to have this kind of atmosphere in other places too, just like my beauty shop, and I’ll do my best to transform places wherever I go. I pray that God will give me the strength to do it, and will help me keep a soft heart towards all.”

Clown Therapy Seminar

Youth Counselling

Reaching out to the youth of Croatia

Project Duration: throughout 2006

Approximate Man-Hours Spent on this Project: 400

We performed for approximately 600 young people, and spent many hours counseling those who were lost and in need of help. We visited the local association “Terra”, where youth affected by drug use gather, more than 20 times during these months.

We received 2 recommendation letters from the directors of youth institutions during the months of March and April.

This project consists of not only performing for young people, but also going out among those who are lost and need help and counseling, and offering them a listening ear, a helping hand, a friendly advice, or just letting them know that somebody cares for them. Besides performing with the band and meeting the adolescents in the bars, streets and hang-outs, in February this year we started visiting a club for young drug-addicts in the center of town. We visited 2 times every month during these months, except during the summer. We performed in the center, and most of all listened to and counseled the young people gathered there. The social workers running the center repeatedly asked us to return, and not to stop coming: “Because you affect our beneficiaries in a positive way”, they said.

Summer camps & visits of young volunteers

Project Duration: July & August 2006 

Approximate Man-Hours Spent on this Project: 2450

We held 2 volunteer training camps for 18 attendees during the months of July and August. Each of the camps lasted one week. During this time we visited 3 institutions (a refugee camp, a senior citizens’ home and an association for children’s activities) and numerous underprivileged families in the refugee area of Karlovac and Vojnic, as well as in the surroundings of Rijeka. The attendees of the first camp (11 teenagers) experienced “clown therapy” in the form of visiting a senior citizens’ home in our area. The young people from the 2nd camp stayed in the refugees’ quarters together with our volunteers for 3 days, and besides distributing humanitarian aid organized activities for the children in the camp throughout the whole day.

Besides the organized camps, this summer we received many visitors – over 100 in total.

Every summer during the last 6 years the doors of our center have been open to anyone who wants to learn more about volunteer work or living in a Christian community. We’ve had visits from many young and older people, about 100 or more throughout each summer. They come to have an “alternative vacation” – willing to combine their yearly holiday with donating their energies to a worthy cause.
This year’s visits and camps brought many reactions and changes of lives, of those who came to have an “alternative” experience. Here are a few excerpts from our visitors’ log during July and August:

“In the beginning I was a bit hesitant. But now I’m really happy to have lived through this experience, and I’ll tell you right now that you won’t get rid of me so easily, because I’m coming back real soon… with lots of love, Anna”

“Thank you especially for showing me how easy and at the same time fulfilling it is to give joy and happiness to those around me! I hope to come back one day… but most of all I hope to be able to change for the better. Thank you for this wonderful experience. Thank you for what you gave me!” Barbara

“Thank you for showing us what it means to love – to love beyond any obstacles, without measure. May we absorb even just half of your spirit and your joy in giving! This experience gave me a lot, most of all courage to step out into something new. Thank you for your hospitality and patience.” Diego