Impact Romania is a program located in the Transylvania region of Romania. The purpose of the program is to value, disciple, and develop Romanian child and young adult orphans to grow in character and influence in their world.
The Romanian Orphan Outreach project focuses on the development and support of orphan children who are living in state care either in a group or foster homes. Impact Romania works with an organization called Pas Cu Pas (Step by Step) in order to organize camps, day trips, and other smaller weekly activities for the children.
The Pas Cu Pas volunteer team is a group of Romanian young adults that have collected around Impact Romania’s vision to transform the lives of Romanian orphans. Most are university students, and almost half of them were raised in the orphanage system themselves. Impact Romania staff work with the Pas Cu Pas volunteers in order to provide mentoring support and discipleship so that they will be better equipped to support children in the Orphan Outreach project. When children grow up they are also encouraged to join Pas Cu Pas to continue the support to the next generation. Thus, the goal is to create a cycle of support for orphans in Romania that builds character, teaches life skills, facilitates mentoring relationships, and develops spiritual formation for orphans.
Detailed Implementation Plan
The most encouraging thing we have experienced recently is a spiritual renewal towards prayer. Our staff in Romania have been focused on incorporating prayer into all programs and aspects of their daily lives. This renewed focus has resulted in a profound deepening of our perspective in ministry, our awareness of God’s work and our dependency on Him in all things.
Orphan Outreach Activities
Impact Romania continued to reach out to orphans in the region. The Bible study in the city of Gherla continued with 12 teenagers studying the gospel of John together. There has also been another Bible study started in Cluj, led by a staff member and volunteer and with 12 participants. This Bible study focusses on learning how to grow in prayer.
In May Impact Romania hosted their first minicamp of the season. 28 orphans from the Gherla homes came and participated. The theme for the weekend was about being a good influence in the world. The second minicamp took place in June and there were 17 teenagers from Beclean who attended. Many of these teenagers are also involved in the IMPACT Program and enjoyed learning more about this minicamp’s theme of Finishing Well.
We have continued our mentoring program called “Steps Made Together.” This program was piloted last year and had turned out to be a huge success. This year the amount of mentors has expanded from 20 to 25. These dedicated volunteers are helping younger orphans experience friendships and relationships in a much deeper way than before!
With the support of an Impact Team from Muskoka Woods the IMPACT Program worked to renovate and redecorate the Beclean train station waiting room with paint, stickers, and quotes in May, with the help of 23 teenagers from one orphanage and 12 teenagers from other group homes. This transformed the space from something that was unwelcoming to a space where you felt safe. This was also a great way for the teenagers to witness to people from Beclean as many of them dropped by to inquire as to what was happening. The initiative from these young orphans impressed people in Beclean.
In March we held a retreat for all the volunteers and staff. This retreat was a time of encouragement, reflection, and refreshment for all the dedicated people that work with Impact Romania. This year we had 34 volunteers attend. The theme of the retreat was “Imitate. Influence.” and was based on 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Staff members and volunteers were able to grow in appreciation of their unique roles and responsibilities as followers of Christ.
Family Farm Project
Buying land for the Family Farm has turned out to be a challenging task. One of the difficulties of buying land in rural Romania is the condition of the roads and the challenge of transportation. To better be able to search for suitable land and to help transport people and resources to the future Family Farm a 4-wheel drive vehicle was purchased. We are confident that this will speed up the process of finding and buying land so that the Family Farm project can move forward.
Over the next six months Impact Romania plans to implement its regular programming. This includes:
- Discovery Camp with 60 children aged 5-12
- Teen Development (Hike and lead VBS) with 15 teenagers
- Continue to work on finding and purchasing land for the Family Farm
- Staff and volunteer retreats in October
Stories of Transformation
We started a Bible study with teenage orphans in the city of Gherla over a year and a half ago. This Bible study was a way to continue a connection we had made with these teenagers at past minicamps. The Bible study was enthusiastically attended by over a dozen teens who showed a real desire to learn more. This was a real encouragement as maintaining this level of engagement with troubled teens is very difficult.
Recently we invited them to our volunteer retreat where they learned about discipleship, specifically on how they are influenced and influence others. It was amazing to see some real testimonies arise during this retreat. However, four of the girls who had come to Bible study decided to run away from their orphanage. During their time away they made poor choices and got in trouble with the police. When they returned to their orphanage they were grounded and were not even allowed to participate in the Bible study.
Gina, a staff member who co-leads the Bible study, really believes in this group of teenagers from Gherla. She went to the regional director of the orphanage who grounded them and humbly asked if the girls could attend our programs again. Through patient asking and careful explanation of the benefits that attending Impact Romania programming offers to these girls, the regional director agreed! This same group of girls has participated in the Bible study again and attended two minicamps with us. They were a huge help during the three day VBS program that helped over 60 children in a village.
Impact Romania offers a refuge to these orphans, a place where forgiveness and reconciliation occur. This process is tough but beautiful and both the orphans and the staff are blessed in the process. For these four girls, Gina’s love and patience has helped them to experience God’s love and forgiveness and moves them ever closer to living a transformed life.
Impact Romania has begun to work with local churches to implement our mentoring program:
- Launched the Mentoring Program in neighbouring city (Beclean), led by local church volunteers (supported by our staff). There are 7 children from this church who are matched with mentors.
- The Mentoring Program in Cluj has gained new support and relationships with local churches in the area.
Teams and Interns
In May there was an 8-person team from Muskoka Woods that came to help host a minicamp for teenagers from Gherla and did programs with children in Cluj. Impact Romania will also be sending a team in the summer; Bob and Jan Fukomoto will be there with this team. In October, Rhondi Fowler and some of her family members will be visiting Impact Romania as well.
In October and November iTeams Canada will be sending two Forge Interns to Romania to learn more about the impact that Impact Romania has had on orphans and communities. They will also be working with the Program Leaders to develop plans and strategize for the next three years!
Fukumoto Fitness raised $35,000 through their annual burpees campaign which goes towards the programming of Impact Romania.
Visit to Canada
Dina (& Gabriel) will be visiting Canada in August and September.
Visit to Romania
Kim Loney (iTeams Canada’s Chief Program Officer) will be visiting Romania in August. Former Impact Romania staff member Jenilee Forgie will be here in October.
We have established good relationships with fast food restaurants in Romania. These restaurants have been able to provide jobs for several orphans who are in a transitionary period in their life.
|Total Income January-June 2017||$82,212|
|Total Expenses January-June 2017||$139,150|
|Overall 2017 Budget||$364,823|