We are a non-profit organization whose activities are directed towards well-being of the community, and especially on groups of children and young people with fewer opportunities. Društvo za istraživanje i potporu (DIP; eng. Society for Research and Support) was founded in 2013 with the aim of improving the lives of citizens, preventing social exclusion, promoting a healthy lifestyle, humanity and solidarity, and especially for groups with less opportunities. We are experts from various fields, and so we bring together social pedagogues, special educators-rehabilitators, teachers, doctors, sociologists, psychologists, artists, but also people who have a lot of enthusisam and love for others. The founder of DIP are persons with great experience in the civil and public sector in general, so as professional associates on various projects with many hours of volunteer work behind them. Knowing the needs of children and youth, especially those with fewer opportunities, we want to do more than we can do as individuals, and make our knowledge and experience available to the community.
It ss very important for us to do everything to initiate positive changes in the community which we live in, but also in the wider social environment. That is why our activities are diverse:
- We research in order to collect data on needs, phenomena and changes in society ina n objective way
- Evaluate and assess (evaluate, analyze and recommend how to be better) what we have done and what others have done for the community/society which we live in
- We plan programs and projects in order to achieve the goals of DIP, give support to other non-profit organizations and individuals
- We plan and support other in making of strategic documents, action plans and programs
- We organize free time especially for children and young people, but also for other groups
- We inform, advise and train
- We can provide psychosocial services (therapeutic services by licensed professionals)
- We provide social services (in a broader sense, and in the future in a narrower sense – half-day and full-day services, daily, housing communities, etc.)
- We advocate the public interests of groups with fewer opportunities
- We cooperate, share and look forward to joint projects with others
That is why we give support to those who need it, and especially to children and youth. We love when others give us support too! Our primary target groups are children and young people with developmental and learning disabilities (like cognitive disabilities, dyslexia, dysgraphia, etc.), behavioral disorders (ADHD, Autism spectrum disorder, etc.), psychosocial functioning disabilities (as a consequence of mental diseases, chronic diseases, emotional problems, etc.), young unemployed and others. We do not like to call our people we work for „users“ because they actively participate in creating our programs. We are just people who can give them support, and they are people who need support.
We are „dipovke“ and „dipovci“ and our goal is to do everything to prevent social exclusion based on some of the characteristics. We advocate equal opportunities for all, freedom of choice and human rights and an open society.
Our greatest wealth and value are our volunteers, the children and youth we work with and all of our associates and donors.
Everything we do we do in a project or program team. Members of project/program team are leaders of certain activities from DIP, but also representatives of partners or associates (as needed). The results of the work of the program team and the responsibility for implementation are the responsibility of the program team which reports to the Main Board, which represents the executive body of DIP. When program team has to make more important decisions of a more formal type, then they are made by the Main Board. Programs are planned mainly according to the calendar of the academic or school year because most of our volunteers are students, and volunteers are an extremely important link in the implementation of all programs.
That is how members of the program team since academic year 2014/2015 to 2017/2018 were: Marta Berčić, coordinator of all programs/projects, Petra Štimac and Barbara Fistonić, both social pedagogues, Ivona Trtanj Šneler, teacher and swimmer, the late Andrea Vukašinović, representative of young people from the program, Damir Steinfl, leader of comics and illustration workshop, Tanja Sudiskas, soc. ped. and leader of children’s psychodrama workshops, dr. Ivana Keller, Master of ecological agriculture and leader of activities in the garden and Tanja Ćulumović and Marta Ban, assistant program coordinators. Occasionally, as expert associates, doctors and a nurse joined us from KBC Rijeka: prof. Igor Prpić, MD, pediatric neurologist; PhD Srećko Severinski, MD; PhD Inge Vlašić Cicvarić, clinical psychologist; Jelena Bagić, bacc. tech. med. and other experts. In that period, our external evaluator was doc. Nataša Vlah, soc.ped.
From the academic year 2018/2019 until today, they are: Marta Berčić, program coordinator, Ana Matković, teacher/swimmer, who will be replaces by Vinko Šešelja (our new swimming leader), Bernard Šešo, M.Sc. in Psychology, Nela Bralić, bacc.art., Damir Steinfl, leader of comic workshops, with occasional consultative involvement of professional associates Petra Štimac and Barbara Fistonić, both social pedagogues, and other professional associates from the ranks of partners and associates. We work so closely with the Faculty of Philosophy, especially the Department of Pedagogy from which we have cooperate with prof. Bojana Ćulum and doc. dr. Siniša Kušić. They are our associates for the inclusion of students in professional practice in the activity „learning by commitment in the community“ and other courses or modes of involving students in our work.
This is the first amateur video made by our volunteer, the late Andrea Vukašinović, Master of primary education, rower and great friend, a young great woman, who started volunteering at the DIP while still studying at the Faculty of Teacher Education in 2016. She participated in all activities, in all projects, she included other volunteers, her rowing friends from the Jadran Rowing Club, and her everyday was „full of DIP“. Due to her exceptional contribution to work with volunteers, she worked as a volunteer coordinator from 2016 to 2017, and when we wanted to apply her for the award for „best volunteer“ awarded by SMART, the City of Rijeka and Primorsko-goranska County, she did not accept it, but she wrote application for other volunteers. There’s a rare opportunity to meet such a humble and dedicated young person because she has been a role model and mentor to many volunteers. We are proud that she was a part of our lives and she is with us every day in thoughts about those small and big things and when we carry out any activity we remember „how our Andrea would do it“. Every day she strived to advance our mission, constantly dedicated and cheerful, responsible and enterprising, she gave her heart to the DIP and DIP members, from helping write the project, write the report to cleaning, cheerful approach and tireless desire to learn. Andrea we love you and your smile, your modesty and presence, your creativity and dedication will forever be here with us. Click on the picture and watch Andrea’s video.
For our contribution to the development of volunteering, we also recieved awards:
- In 2016, the award given by the SMART, the City of Rijeka and Primorsko-goranska County for the „best volunteering organizer“ in the City of Rijeka. In the same year, out long-term volunteers and mentors to a young person with disabilities, the students of cultural studies at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Rijeka, Natalij Hercigonja and Lara Španović, received recognition for the „best volunteers“ of the City of Rijeka. (https://www.pgz.hr/Arhiva_novosti?newsid=4010)
- In 2019, our volunteer and pedagogy student Aleksandra Ristić received the award for the best volunteer in the City of Rijeka: (https://www.mojarijeka.hr/dodijeljene-nagrade-najboljim-volonterima-u-2019-godini/). Watch a video made by Spirit for the presentation of the award winners: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MS8u682r6yVCfcs5DozY7hN5qusq9Y3f/view?usp=drive_web.
- In 2020, our Aleksandra received the award of the Rector of the University of Rijeka for the best „student volunteer“ of the University of Rijeka. (https://uniri.hr/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Odluka-RN_student-volonter_2020.pdf)
We informed the public about our goals, programs and problems that we face every day in the shows Civil Society and the Classroom of the local TV station KanalRi.
-The show Civil Society from April 30, 2019.:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y43RFaU9Mhs
-The show Classroom from February 6, 2020.:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y43RFaU9Mhs
You can also see about our goals and the way we work at the link Documents, from the Statute of the DIP, and in the links Programs: https://dip.hr/programi/lzvp-modul-1/, https://dip.hr/programi/lzvp-modul-2/, https://dip.hr/programi/ppr/.