Monday, April 25, 2011

New Service Adventures in Education, Childcare and Labor Available

A Season of New Beginnings in Romania and we want you to be a part of it all.

If your passion lies in serving at-risk youth, working with your hands, or if it's teaching that inspires you, we now have wonderful new opportunities for you to contribute in Romania. We have worked at the Tutova Children's Clinic since 1999 however in recent weeks, that Clinic has closed, and the children were relocated to new facilities. We now have the opportunity to help care for some of those same children at our new work sites, along with many more children needing your support. While we regret the Romanian government's decision to transform Tutova Hospital and Children's Clinic into a senior center, we were heartened by invitations from other child-focused community partners enabling us to serve the broader Barlad community.

One Door Closes...Others Open

Residents and staff of The Elena Farago Center in Barlad await Global Volunteers teams.

You'll be one of the first volunteers serving these new community partners. With that in mind, I'd like to ask you to do two things. First, please let me know which of the following volunteer options appeal to you the most. Second, because of the wide variety of new service opportunities, I ask that you invite others to join you on your service program as we establish our new relationships. Here's how you and your friends and companions can contribute:

First, Dr. Magdalena Cozma, director of Barlad's St. Nicholas Children's Hospital , has invited Global Volunteers to continue our work with at-risk children at her hospital. This is essentially the same work assignment as at Tutova -- holding, feeding and entertaining babies who need care. (As is so often the case, "when one door closes another one opens,"and some of the babies and toddlers on the other side of that door are from Tutova -- still counting on your love.) The children don't care that the door is different, just that you come through it!

Year-round service opportunities at George Tutoveanu School in Barlad. Volunteers are needed to teach conversational English to primary and middle school students during the school year and to middle and senior high students at English language summer camps. The focus is on conversation - visiting about everyday subjects and real-life situations so the students can increase their vocabulary and practice English language skills. While you'll teach in the classrooms, during the summer camps students also enjoy taking volunteers out to show them highlights of their city, such as museums, live theater, zoo, and public garden -- providing additional opportunities to interact while speaking English. This is a great new opportunity for your companions who may not be interested in caregiving assignments.

Third, if you enjoy working with your hands - repairing, painting and renovating buildings -- you're needed to help improve apartments at the Elena Farago Center. This is a rewarding opportunity to work alongside some of the residents and the local carpenters and handymen to make these homes more livable. What's more, we hope to establish a community garden project as our new partnerships progress so students and young adults can join the worldwide movement to understand and practice better nutrition choices.

You can also offer psychosocial support to teens and young adults for all our part of your volunteer assignment. The Elena Farago Center in Barlad cares for some 40 teens and young adults from age 12 to mid-20s. (Photo on top) Most of the residents are orphans, abused children, or from families too poor to care for them. About 10 percent have mental disabilities, and 20 percent are HIV positive or have AIDS, mostly contracted from blood transfusions. The residents live together in apartments, three to five per unit, with guidance from local staff. This is a great opportunity to help young boys and girls who are preparing for a productive and independent life. Initially, volunteers will befriend the residents by working with them on arts and craft projects, teaching how to cook nutritious meals, helping with homework, communicating in English, playing sports and more. We'll also tutor teens and young adults in conversational English at the Elena Farago Center, although teaching English will not be a full-time assignment at this facility.

Finally, if you have experience or interest in assisting children with autism and/or Down syndrome, you can serve at Barlad Center for Children with Disabilities. This is a multi-unit complex that cares for children with mental disabilities as well as those who are blind and deaf. This project can be a full-time or secondary project, splitting your work on one of the above primary projects.

We're very encouraged by these new service partnerships with local Romanian agencies and the expanded opportunities to engage volunteers in serving Romanian children. Your contribution now is more important than ever. Please allow me to answer your questions and fill you in with additional details on your upcoming service program. Again, we'd greatly appreciate you referring your friends and family members to serve with you or on other 2011 Romania service programs. Everyone makes a significant difference in this time of new beginnings on our Romania service program!


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