The 2018 year announces itself to be, at least, as full as the year before, and the main goal is to improve the emotional state of children and their integration into society. In March we will have the first Education Laboratory, where the children will do weekly activities that will help them identify their emotions, to express them in a healthy way, to work as a team, to be more creative. We hope that this project will last as long as possible, to have the best results on an emotional level. Football games, sports, a nature camp, anniversaries, career advice, social integration, by helping them after leaving the system: these would be the plans for 2018, that we hope to be very useful to these children, who need much affection, good examples and guidance in their lives
The project continued in 2017. The JCI volunteers organised educational and very useful events for the children’s future. So, during the little chefs event, the children were taught how to make pizza, and at the end they reaped the fruits of their own labour, enjoying the pizzas they made. The Career Guidance workshop followed,where children between 14 and 18 were guided towards activities and careers best suited for them. The next educational activity was “Gifting Smiles ECO”, where everybody took part in cleaning the Mures river bed, near Glodeni, and so they have learned that respecting nature is very important. 2017 topped of with the Survival camp, in which children from all the homes within the project took part, and where they had some thrilling experiences that have developed them on many levels. At the the end of the 3 day camp, the children were full of positive emotions and joy for the things that happened there, so much that they barely part from one another. At the end of the year, the Charity gala took place, organised for financially aid of the St. Elizabeth Association, so that the association would not be disbanded due to accumulated debt and so that these children could continue together on this beautiful road of growth on all levels. It was a very exciting event for both, us as organisers and the artists who made a show for the participants. However, the most exited were the children from the 3 centers who have prepared artistic moments of dance and music. We discovered many beautiful talents. The goal of the gala was not only achieved but also surpassed. We collected a sum of money higher than our target and so the association could pay all its debts and we could continue our educational and fun activities for these beautiful children. Of course, even in 2017, the children wrote letters to Santa Claus and they received the gifts with much enthusiasm and joy.
Continuing the story of the “Gifting Smiles” project, 2016 has been even more richer in smiles and educational activities. Our volunteers organised a cooking course, in which the children learnt how to cook and were even taught how to behave in a restaurant. A very important part was the information regarding the fight against food waste. One of the programs started in 2016, that is ongoing to this day is “Gifting smiles on your birthday”, through which we encouraged the local community to gift a cake for each kid’s anniversaries, so that they can feel the joy of a birthday party together with their friends from the foster home. And in the same spirit, the “Gifting smiles for Christmas” program started, through which the children write to Santa Claus and the people from the local community become Santa’s helpers, choosing from the letters to prepare the gifts. And, of course, Santa Claus arrives and offers the gifts to the children who are eagerly waiting for him. Later, in 2016, the project expanded and we started activities for the children of the nr. 8 Family Home, from Sâncraiu de Mureș and the Kiwi Foundation. The joy that we, as volunteers, have when we see the development of these children, following our activities, is huge, even overwhelming. From not knowing how to react when receiving an anniversary cake to singing “Happy Birthday” in 3 different languages, and from crying to receive attention to the thirst for life and positive energy, it wasn’t easy for them to reach. But the continuity in our actions counted very much and we want to further contribute to their “growth” in the most beautiful way.
Everything started with a simple yearly contribution for the St. Elizabeth Association, that started in 2011, and since 2015 its activities have increased and diversified, as well as the number of people who dedicate their time to the less fortunate children. And so, this was the first time the children stepped into a cinema, and during the holidays they met Santa Clause, who brought gifts for everyone. The children’s development on all levels is wonderful, due to these activities, but especially because they have learned, along the way, to be a family. Meanwhile, they also became our dear friends.