I had always thought every once in a while about volunteering abroad, but it wasn’t until my sister and brother in-law told me about their short yet memorable time spent volunteering with Firm Foundations Romania (FFR) that I knew it was something I had to do. Thanks to the dedicated and caring people behind FFR, a mere 10 days after talking to my sister and brother in-law about their time in Brasov I was on my way to Romania. Having heard from both my sister and Sarah (FFR President) that Firm Foundations mainly received female volunteers, I was a little apprehensive that I would be of any use having never before done something as simple as change a diaper. However, as soon as I met Sarah, Steffi, Alisha and the rest of the FFR team, these doubts quickly faded and it soon became very clear that all you need to work with FFR is a big heart and the willingness to help.
I have volunteered with many organizations in Canada but it wasn’t until volunteering with FFR that I experienced the feeling of making a difference. I can still remember my first day in the hospital when I walked into one of the rooms and met a little girl named Monica. As soon as she noticed me her expression immediately changed to one that can only be described as astonished and then as I went over to pick her up she immediately began to cry. Being one of only two male volunteers at the time, Monica, like many of the children at the hospital in Brasov, had been exposed to little positive male affection. Yet we know this is essential for their development and to help them build trust that may have been tarnished by other men in the past. After continuing to visit Monica everyday I spent in the hospital, she began to recognize me.
By the fourth visit as I walked over to pick Monica up she was sitting in her crib waiting for me with her arms open and a massive grin on her face. It’s moments like this that really define your trip in Brasov as nothing short of inexpressible. No one could ever have prepared me for what I experienced during my stay in Brasov, not the feeling of holding a sick child, the friendships I made, or finding a new love for the German soccer team. I intend to live up to my promise and return to Brasov for a longer period of time and I hope if you are reading this you take my word for it and pack your bags and go to Romania with FFR. Just do Sarah and Steffi a favor and give them more than 10 days notice!
Firm Foundations Romania is a non profit organization whose mission is to transform the lives of disadvantaged Romanian children and families by providing physical and educational guidance and sharing the Gospel. Our focus is loving the unloved and providing educational opportunities to the forgotten youth of this country. Our vision is for every disadvantaged Romanian child to experience the power of God’s love in order to live life to the fullest; our hope, that they would then be influenced to serve others and be an example for the people of Romania.
Firm Foundation Romania projects include caring for the abandoned babies in the local Children’s Hospital and providing educational help and mentorship to children and teens from the Roma (Gypsy) community. Our hospital project exists to fill a void in the lives of children who are abandoned at the Brasov Children’s Hospital. Whether it is a child who is fully abandoned or one that is left in the institution without parents to receive care for a time, FFR’s objective is to be the loving hands that these children are missing. Volunteers provide love, touch, and play therapy for the children.
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