Today we are talking with Petya Petrova - social media expert at FAR.
Why she decided to become an author of children's stories to tell about the important things in life and what is her biggest dream, read in this interview!
Annie: Hello, Petya! I'm so happy that you accepted the invitation to be today's "Face of FAR''. The Faces of FAR are interviews with our team, through which we strive to rediscover colleagues not only professionally, but also personally. In this regard, before I start asking questions, how would you introduce yourself, “I am…”?
Petya: I am Petya Petrova. In my 45 years I have been involved in many different things. For the last 10 years I have been involved in education topics, and for the last two years I have been writing children's stories about the important things in life.
Annie: If you could describe yourself in one sentence, what would it be?
Petya: I would point to just one word - " seeker". I'm constantly looking for something and I want to learn.
Annie: Where did the idea of becoming a children's author come from?
Petya: When I was 20, I developed an anxiety disorder. Later, when my daughter was born, I wanted to become a good kind of example for her. I began to explore myself and found that the best way to recover was to help other people who, like me, had an anxiety disorder.
Pretty soon, so many people with a similar problem started flocking to me that I decided to write a book – “The Other Face of Panic’’, in which I shared my experience.
In talking to literally thousands of people at a time, I realized that we people with anxiety disorders have a very hard time learning some things that are actually very important to life. So the idea that these important things about life should start to be learned at a very young age stood out.
Life, as a good friend and teacher, gave me the opportunity to realize my idea. It sent me to an elementary school, where in the very first year I implement the particular subject - "Ready for Life". I saw that it is at this age that children not only learn a particular skill, but also immediately begin to apply it. And with ease! And not like us adults - with a lot of repetition and persistence.
Subsequently, the subject was approved as an innovation by the Ministry of Education and became compulsory for our school.
Seeing the results, I realized that it is important to have such education in all Bulgarian schools. This is how the idea was born to create a teaching manual based on the children's stories from the "Ready for Life" series. Each of them is dedicated to a specific skill. I created the publishing house "Growing Up" so that one day I could propose this handbook to the Ministry of Education for approval. This is my personal cause because I believe that the pandemic of anxiety disorders will be impacted if we talk to children about these important things at the appropriate early age.
Annie: What are these "important things" you write about?
Petya: The important things are knowledge and skills: how to be empathetic, how to work with people, how to set boundaries, how to be motivated, what are mistakes and achievements, etc. These skills help us to have a better life.
In order to help children learn new things in this direction, I use one of the most powerful tools when it comes to offering new knowledge to children, namely, I use the power of stories. When children read, they engage with the character's story, they get excited with it, they get happy, they get sad. We remember best when we are emotionally engaged.
Moreover, it is very important that these skills be practiced. It's not enough to just read the story, it's also important to practice the new knowledge gained.
Annie: From what do you draw inspiration for the stories you write?
Petya: From life. You know, when you've been at rock bottom, you know a lot of emotions, but only then can you be empathetic, empathic. At some point you start looking for your own way to help others.
Besides, children and my love for them inspires me.
Annie: How does FAR get involved in this whole chain?
Petya: When I started working in publishing (where I am alone), I realized that I started missing people and human interaction. I thought I could find something to do online that was cause related.
I saw FAR's ad and decided to give it a try.
Back when I was looking for information about FAR, I noticed that this organization has a very good emotional climate and feeling of support. FAR has an amazing cause, and, when they contacted me to invite me for an interview, I was very happy.
Annie: What did you like most in working at FAR?
Petya: The fact that FAR's work is dedicated to a meaningful cause - helping people in need - that's what I like most. It is very important for me when I work to know that my work is useful for someone.
Also, the culture of communication is at a very high level. Even though we communicate mostly online, I feel supported and accepted.
Annie: What is the most difficult for you?
Petya: The hardest thing for me is getting used to the terminology, as I don't come from a legal background, but with the help of my colleagues, I think we are doing well together.
Annie: As you know, this is the anniversary year for FAR. What would you wish for the Foundation?
Petya: I would wish the people who are burning in their work in FAR not to lose their passion, not to stop fighting for justice.
Annie: And what do you dream about yourself?
Petya:A successful person not only professionally but also personally - I think that is the greatest happiness for a parent. Of course, for this to happen, it is important to be her good personal example, so I dream about that too!