Rafa Nadal Foundation Center, education and sport

RAFA NADAL FOUNDATION CENTER

The protagonists

Carlos Jaramago

Psychologist

"I have a feeling of personal fulfilment, gratitude and happiness and happiness at being part of a project like this."

What were your personal and professional experiences that brought you here?
Before coming to Mallorca, I worked with autistic children in Barcelona. It was a very good experience, which lasted over two years, but I wanted a change. So, together with my partner, I decided to come to this great island and make a future here. Shortly afterwards, I had an interview with Diagrama and I joined the project at the Rafa Nadal Foundation Centre in December 2015.

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What were your personal and professional experiences that brought you here?
Before coming to Mallorca, I worked with autistic children in Barcelona. It was a very good experience, which lasted over two years, but I wanted a change. So, together with my partner, I decided to come to this great island and make a future here. Shortly afterwards, I had an interview with Diagrama and I joined the project at the Rafa Nadal Foundation Centre in December 2015.

What does it mean to you to be part of this project?
Personally, I am very happy with the project. The team is great and the participants treat us with affection. Being able to help children, adolescents and their families is a very pleasant feeling. I have a feeling of personal fulfilment, of gratitude and happiness at being part of a project like this, and above all to provide help in different areas to children with difficulties. Despite this, there are days that you return home with a bittersweet feeling, having had unfavourable feedback, but this makes me think about the improvements that can be considered and above all to reassess the individual objectives of each person.

Which aspect is most satisfying and, on the other hand, which is the most challenging?
The most difficult is not being able to convey what you would like to when spend some time working with a family that does not value it in the short term. The most satisfying tends to be a heartfelt “thank you”, a bright smile or a sincere embrace, and any change, no matter how small, that is significant in any aspect of the daily social or psychological life of the people that we serve.

What would you like to achieve?
I would like the Centre to be a social and sporting reference point in the neighbourhood. I’d like to see more involvement from the families, and they feel a sense of membership at the Centre. To do that, we may possibly have to change certain motivational aspects of the project and give a greater role to the community.

What are the main challenges you face each day?
We are a voluntary and free resource, offering a variety of activities, and we want to instil in our users that they should come when appropriate. In our culture, sometimes we do not value the things that have no cost, and although this does, it is invisible for the families. Their commitment, their connection and their attendance at the Centre are interlinked, and they need to attend so that the results make sense and that there is continuity.

Is there a case or a situation relating to a participant that has particularly affected you?
In my job, I hear difficult and extremely complicated stories. On occasion, there are cases where children have suffered violence, or physical and verbal aggression between the parents. In other cases, they stopped going to the psychologist because they still have this archaic view that only “crazy people” go. All of these situations affect you, but I prefer to remember the words of a girl that, on leaving a session, said to me, “thanks for making me think”.

What changes do you perceive in the participants?
After some months they are more comfortable participating, and they understand our way of doing things, and the values that we try to instil, and their connection with the whole team gets stronger.

Could you give us an example that shows the development and benefits that the project brings to the vulnerable youngsters taking part?
In most cases, the evolution is gradual, with peaks and troughs, and our work goes slowly. I could mention the case of a girl with anger management issues. She had been with us for a while, and after an episode with a colleague, we began working on an individual basis. Since then, there have been no more problems in relation to other colleagues and, though we have to continue working on conflict resolution, she is one of the people that we consider could continue to benefit from the Centre after leaving once reaching the age limit; not least because of the improvements in self-esteem and self-perception that it has brought.

What has been the response from the children and their families?
It depends. There are participants that disconnect because they are not motivated by the activities. As a voluntary resource, we explain to them that we want them to take part, but if they are not willing, they are not obliged to. This freedom to choose means that those who do choose to come do so with greater involvement and participate appropriately.

How would you assess the project?
I would rate it highly. I think that in our third year, and second within our own centre, we are well known in the neighbourhood and that the level of satisfaction of the families is high. We have to keep working to encourage greater participation amongst the families, and also establish priorities in the medium term of the project. However, our network is progressively growing, the children are coming to the centre happily and with a will to improve and change in certain aspects where we intervene, and I am proud of the work which is carried out by the whole team at the Centre. We must keep working.

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Carlos Jaramago

Génesis Giler

Student

"What I like most is…everything!"

My name is Génesis, I’m 10 years old and I have been coming to the Rafa Nadal Foundation Centre for two years. When I finish school, I come to the Centre to do my homework; they help me with it, they give us a snack and we do some sports. We really enjoy it! Sometimes, if we’re good and finish early, we have extra play time. Once we’re done, we go to the changing rooms, where we can shower.

I’ve learned to respect people, to be a good classmate and not to interrupt, although sometimes I still find it difficult not to. At the moment we are studying hygiene and they explain about things that we can do at home and how we can help our parents.

What I like most is...everything! I like everything, but most of all when we do our homework, because they help us and we can practise. And on Wednesdays we do some experiments or play games.

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Génesis Giler

Toni Vigo

Student

"I’ve learned to work in a team"

I’m Toni, I’m 17 years old and since 2014 I’ve been taking part in the Rafa Nadal Foundation Centre project. I’ve learned many things here, but above all to behave well with my colleagues and friends, and to work with them in a team. Aside from that, the things I like most from our activities in the Centre are sports and when we do our homework, because they help us.

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Toni Vigo
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