” A dozen things we’re usually asked “
1 – Why do you need donations if you’re only volunteers?
We need to ensure the smooth functioning of a structure that involves so many hospitals and, above all, so many volunteers. Each branch has a paid coordination; we also have a work contract with a general coordinator and two project managers. The members of the Governing Bodies do not receive any remuneration. All the training we do, does not involve any cost for the volunteers, namely spaces, meals, insurance, t-shirts and of course, the trainers. Even if, in most cases, we have support for these needs, the values have to be considered in our annual budget.
2 – Why can’t I volunteer straight away?
We do not accept individual volunteering: all people need to undergo mandatory training and hand in their Criminal Record, sign a contract and receive their volunteer card with insurance policy included. This takes some time. There must also be a branch available to accommodate more volunteers.
3 – I really want to be a Nuvem but it seems that there are no vacancies. It is worth sending my contact?
No. Only people who meet the requirements described in the recruitment area of the website will be contacted. Before applying, we advise you to carefully read our recruitment requests and do not apply for groups that do not have vacancies available, as your application will not be considered.
4 – What is training for and why is it mandatory?
It is provided for in the General Volunteering Law and guarantees that the bases of voluntary work – general legal perspective, procedures in the hospital and narration techniques, for example – are acquired in this training that is complemented, obviously, with work in hospitals, every night that passes.
5 – Why am I being asked for a Criminal Record and a voluntary contract?
Criminal Record is mandatory by law for all those who work with minors; the contract is the only way for any volunteer to be sure of their rights and duties towards the Association.
6 – Is it worth it for children to hear stories when they are hospitalized?
The pilot project, for six months, validated our approach with pediatrics. We are conducting an impact assessment with Católica University but we already have empirical data: the environment in the room is more relaxed, the stress level goes down and, often, the children fall asleep at the end of the session. We rest at the weekend but encourage fathers, mothers and other caregivers to tell stories on those evenings, to maintain this routine.
7 – Why do you only go to hospitals at night and only tell stories to children?
The Association must have a focus and we really wanted to have an innovative and different project! Knowing the impact that stories have on children’s development and their relaxation and preparation for a good night’s sleep, we bet on pediatric ages. But we are willing to share our knowledge with anyone who wants to read and tell stories to adults.
8 – How do I know if I am good at telling stories?
We are all apt to tell stories, but sometimes we get a little nervous about being in a hospital environment. But the truth is that the important thing is the commitment and the magic of the moment. Training helps in preparing the stories. Children and their caregivers are very fond of this treat before bedtime. (But believe it: your punctuality and commitment outweigh your talent for storytelling!)
9 – How will I choose my stories? Will you give me the books?
In training, we give the necessary instructions for a bag well filled with all kinds of stories but each volunteer has to choose and handle their own books. Each person likes a certain type of story: more illustrated, with animals, poems or fairy tales. We guarantee discounts at some bookstores. You can also tell stories without a book.
10– At what age can I be a Nuvem?
Starting from the age of 21. There is no age limit, as long as you can withhold the two hours of standing action!
11 – How far does this Nuvem go? Can I open a branch in my city?
We go as far as necessary. We would like to have a branch, at least, in each district. In order to open a branch of Nuvem Vitória, there is a need to establish a protocol between the Hospital Administration and our Association, launch a recruitment campaign, schedule training and select a coordination that will manage the day-to-day activities on site. All of this is done based on our general coordination, in Lisbon, in order to guarantee the rigor and professionalism that we have in all hospitals.
12- Why are you a “Nuvem (cloud)” and why are you called Vitória?
Our innovation is to be when and where no one has ever been… we don’t usually see a cloud at night and we wanted a sweet image that would send us back to our dreams. And Vitória (Victory) because all children tell “Vitória Vitória acabou-se a história” ( Victory, victory the story is over).