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
On-going Orphan Outreach Programs
Orphan outreach continues as per usual, with a focus on visits to local orphanages, establishing relationships between orphans and volunteer mentors, and hosting mini-camps and retreats for orphans and leaders. There have been 175 children impacted by the program in 2018. We have also learned more about Narrative Therapy in the summer and the power of exploring & sharing our stories. Our ministry theme for this year is Story — providing kids, volunteers and staff opportunities to process and verbalize their own personal stories within the context of God’s bigger story. These are crucial first steps towards healing and growth.
Family Farm Initiative
Construction on the Family Farmhouse has started and many of the local volunteers and orphans have already pitched in to help.
There is a hunger within the Christian church community to help the poor but they often find it hard to know where or how to get involved. The Family Farm provides an opportunity for people to get involved in outreach to those in need.
The Gherla Bible Study has been on a brief hiatus, but is expected to begin again soon. This Bible study is comprised of around a dozen orphans and a few staff members and volunteers. This Bible study might be moved to Cluj, as this is both more convenient for staff and volunteers, and because a number of the participants from last year have moved to Cluj.
Minicamps, Volunteer Visits to orphanages and the Mentorship Program are expected to continue in the next six months, with the mentorship program especially set to grow even further than it already has. With the shift towards group homes rather than large scale institutions, one-on-one mentorship will gradually replace the volunteer visits that were so effective in the past.
Staff Development will continue to be important, with some staff set to further their education and with regularly scheduled staff meetings being complimented by a renewed focus on defining roles and responsibilities.
The Family Farm project continues to be the long term focus, and with progress being made on the purchase of property just north of Cluj there are plans in place for a team of architects to come evaluate the land and for some work to even be done.
Stories of Transformation
C. first came into the ministry at Someșu Rece at a kids’ minicamp. She was unconventional and everything she said indicated she wasn’t interested in participating in what she felt were “childish” activities.
Later, the leaders met her sister, and began to understand that a big part of her inferiority complex was caused by her sister. She wanted to be noticed just like her, popular just like her — even though her older sister wasn’t the role model you would hope for.
Now, the leaders are pleased to see how much she changed since the first meeting. She is happy to participate, she is more sincere, more involved, more mature. A big part of her change is thanks to her mentor, whom she has seen regularly for almost three years now. C. has more growing to do, as leaders witness when she occasionally shows her previous self, but she is committed to the difficult process of working on it. And if she continues to have the right tools to enable her, and people watching her step by step, she will be able to achieve the full potential we all see in her.
This transformation is evidence of the positive influence the mentors have on the youth who come to the ministry, and how through the love and grace of God, they come to learn their value as children of God.
While there have not been any new official partners, Pas cu Pas has been in increased contact with a number of churches that have the potential to lead to more. A growing number of Pas cu Pas’ volunteers and mentors come from one of either Centrul Crestin Caleb, Biserica Iris, or Biserica Speranţă. These three churches have been a valuable resource to Pas cu Pas, and appear poised to increase their participation both in terms of financial donations as well as through working with orphans in conjunction with Pas cu Pas.
Dina came to Canada in the Fall of 2018 for leadership meetings and coaching at the Muskoka Woods Leadership Studio. Bob & Rhondi both travelled to Romania in October 2018.
Awareness-raising events at 3 Romanian churches has resulted in 10 new volunteers!