Published: 14.12.2023

The stories of friendship and joint mini-projects within the Stand By Me programme are a great motivation for our DofE team to find further ways to develop the pair of friends even after the successful completion of the regular three-monthly meetings. Therefore, in addition to the interview, we asked Bára and deaf Anička from the Secondary School of Business and Services of the SČMSD in Žďár nad Sázavou, who share a creative passion and interest in graphic design, to create a New Year card for our supporters, patrons, teachers and students. This year's 2024 "peefko" is therefore an amazing example of how creativity (and our buddy program) connects regardless of the language its authors most often use to communicate.  


What motivated you to join the Stand By Me program?  

Bára: Like all second year students at our school, I had a meeting with a careers advisor where we discussed areas that I am passionate about together. On this occasion, volunteering and the DofE also came up. While on my course as an arranger, I also met Anne, who has been deaf since birth. So we decided to join forces with her through her assistant, approached her about taking part in the buddy scheme and I'm so glad that Annie was keen to give it a go.  

AnnieA: I found out about the buddy programme from my assistant and DofE supervisor, who offered me the opportunity to complete assignments and gain a recognised certificate. Barca and I started to talk more and I was tempted to do some activities and spend time together.  

How did you two overcome the communication barrier?  

BáraA: I had never met anyone like that before and it was a new experience for me. We communicate through written text. I am also more articulate and Anne is lip-reading. She also writes or tries to speak. It was challenging at first, I had a harder time understanding her, but the longer we interacted, the better I got. When we ran into a problem, the app helped.  

What do you do during your time together?  

AnnieA: We started designing t-shirt prints because I really like working in graphic programs. We always think first, look for ideas and consult together. We each create a design and talk about it. I really enjoy that.  

BáraA: Anička is very active in this activity and interesting designs are created. We have already designed several of our own designs or we are working on assignments from classmates.  

How did you follow up your collaboration in Stand By Me?  

Bára: Gradually, I started to help Anna with school. It turned out to be very important for her and she often encounters many barriers. We calculate examples together, we supplement each other's knowledge of more difficult subjects like art history, which are more difficult to understand and imagine. Reading and talking together about what she has read is also important. Sometimes we learn by testing each other.  

AnnieA: Barca helps me a lot with math and art history. I read books to know better grammar, to write sentences and to speak better. It is a new experience for me to read books. I am glad that Bara and I are spending more time through learning for school as well.   

Bára, what would you say to others who are considering the Stand By Me program?  

BáraA: Thanks to Stand By Me, I'm doing something completely new. I met a man who hasn't had it easy his whole life and I found out that I could help him. It's not easy and it takes a lot of patience. But seeing and understanding a world that is completely different from ours has definitely changed me and I believe I will draw a lot from my experience in the future. 

Do you want to join a community of young people who love to share their time with others? Sign up for the Stand By Me volunteer buddy program by the following form. Participation in the project is free of charge and is not necessarily linked to the achievement of any DofE level. So you can join even if you are just thinking about joining the DofE or just want to make new friends. If we can't find a buddy in your city, we'll be happy to connect you with your new friend online.   

Anything not clear? Do you have any questions? Write to us at 

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