The 26th GOCC Finale, for equal access to medical care for all newborns in Poland, has officially ended! While the Warsaw headquarters held their main event on January 14th, we partied one day earlier here in Berlin. It turned out that the 13th was our lucky number, as the first Finale organized by our current team was a spectacular success.
“People simply want to help,” quipped Dorota Rędzikowska, head of our Berlin Collection Center. She was not wrong. We counted a total of over €9000 in our donation boxes on the day of the Finale—three times more than last year.
After adding funds donated through online auctions and our Facebook fundraiser, as well as from donation boxes that were available throughout Berlin in the first half of January, we will be transferring a whopping €12,848 to the Foundation, more than the total collected over the last five years!
Over 1500 people visited our day-long Finale. Tables were loaded with plates of Polish pierogies, hearty soups, and thick slices of sourdough with a traditional lard-based spread, smalec, all prepared by the Polish restaurant “Mały Książę”.
The kids’ program we prepared had the room teeming with excited youngsters through the early afternoon—an art corner, face painting, a knowledge quiz with prizes, and a button-making station were just some of the activities run by the Polish Educational Association “Oświata”. Participants could also learn the basics of first aid from volunteers of the Brandenburg chapter of Die Johanniter.
By then, our main stage was primed and ready for the day’s artistic program. Children from a drama group led by “Oświata” performed a moving, modern rendition of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl”.
Then, the spotlight was handed over to our musicians. We got to enjoy some multilingual hip-hop performed by the recently launched Hand in Hand Project, lyrical and thoughtful pieces from Stan Zawieszenia, and a lot of high-energy rock by Working Class Monkey. Our headliner, pop group Krogmann, rounded off the evening.
We didn’t forget about one of the key traditions of GOCC Finales everywhere—the Light to the Sky. All of our guests got sparklers and we all went outside to light them and raise them to the sky. It was a magical experience!
In between concerts, Monika Sędzierska and Adam Gusowski—presenters of the Berlin-based Polish radio station, Cosmo – Radio po polsku—led our charity auctions. Our guests could get their hands on a drumhead from Polish metal wonder Nocny Kochanek, gadgets from the GOCC Foundation autographed by none other than Jurek Owsiak, the organization’s head and founder, or your own broadcast alongside the speakers in Radio Cosmo.
The highest winning bid was a surprise to everyone—during their concert, Krogmann announced that they would auction off a private concert of theirs. One of their fans pocketed that opportunity for €200.
Our Finale would not have been as resounding of a success if it weren’t for our 50 volunteers—members of our team and other kind souls, who offered their help during the Finale.
We would not have been able to put together such an extensive program if not for our sponsors—financial advisor Bartosz Drajling, Paka Club, creative agency Agavis, Mobile Lingua language school, and furniture maker Lizak.
We would not have reached as many Polish expats in Berlin if not for our media partners—the Polish Radio Cosmo, portals Berlin Po Polsku and TwojBerlin.de, and the Polish expat community magazine Kontakty. An honorary patronage of Berlin’s mayor, Michael Müller, was also a great help and a huge honor.
Those who deserve our utmost thanks, though, are all of you, dear guests and supporters of the Foundation. If it weren’t for your kind hearts, our team would not have a reason to keep on going. But thankfully, you are here—so we have to get back to work, the next Finale won’t organize itself!
>> See the full photo gallery of this year’s Finale.
>> We have already announced next year’s Finale!