An Emotional Testimony: What to Expect When You’re Volunteering

I had such an amazing time during my two weeks in Brasov Children’s Hospital and cannot put into words just how blessed I feel to have been given the opportunity to go and care for babies, spend time in Brasov and see God’s people do His work with His love in their hearts. I met volunteers from Sweden, China, France, Germany, America and Canada – all wanting to do good, kind things for others –some things that were a pleasure to do like cuddling babies and others that weren’t always quite so pleasant (some of those nappies…! ). Who could doubt that God is at work when across the border in Ukraine civil war is a possibility?

I felt so welcomed by the Firm Foundation full time volunteers and staff, Romanian staff at hospital and the children in the pre-school and after school clubs. The teenagers were lovely and chatty and on top of that I had the privilege of being part of a ‘Roma Boot drop’ – all the kid’s received a pair of Roma boots – we don’t stock Roma boots in Britain but it’s an ethical brand – buy a pair and Roma boots will give a pair away to a Roma child – those boots may be the first/only pair of shoes they have! I listened to Jason Castro singing ‘Enough’ to Roma children and some families and felt part of something far bigger than myself. Thank you, Jason! (Look at the FFR, Roma Boots and Jason’s Facebook pages as well as FFR Blog for more details)

I am an older volunteer (in my mid 50’s) and wondered how I would fit in but I just felt at home! I would love to come back for longer – I’m not sure if that is a possibility but I know I’ve left a little bit of my heart in the wards with the babies.

I just want to say ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart to Sarah, Steffi, Mary, Realene and Alisha for making it all possible and having such vision for the children of Romania. Also thanks to fellow volunteers Karin, Tom, Eliz, Lisa, Monika, David and Ramona – I loved meeting you and hope we’ll keep in touch. Lydia, Juliana and Mada thank you so much for letting me work alongside you in Budila. Babies, children and teenagers – may your lives be blessed and may you always know the Father’s love and that you are ‘Enough’.

Melanie Gray, April 25th 2014

FFR Easter 2014 in Budila

We had a great time in Budila celebrating Easter with all of the children from Kids Club and the Afterschool Program. Every child had the opportunity to present a song, dance or reading to a packed crowd full of friends and family. It was an awesome turn out, over 100 people from the community attended. It is a powerful work God is doing in this village and we are so happy to be his hands and feet. We hope you enjoy this look at the performances, they were given with such love and joy.

International Easter Egg Dying!

For a volunteer activity this past week we dyed Easter eggs, an
activity that, surprisingly, some of our volunteers had never done
before! But it wasn’t until we all decided to make an egg representing
our country’s flag, that we realized there were seven different
nationalities represented.
 Happy International Easter to all
of you!

A Visit From American Idol Finalist Jason Castro!

We were so excited to have Samuel Bistrian bring along Jason Castro for the boot drop in Budila this past week. Jason is a big supporter of Roma Boots and believes in what they’re doing, being a socially conscious business and helping people wherever we’re at in our lives. 
It was a joy to have him come and sing for the children of our After School Program, here’s a look!

The Return of Roma Boots!

 In 2011 a volunteer of ours mentioned that he knew someone who had started a buy one give one charity called Roma Boots. Samuel Bistrian, the founder and CEO of this charity was born in Romania and is passionate about bringing street children and orphans hope, love and lasting change in the most practical way. For every pair of Roma Boots sold, a brand new pair is donated to a child in need. We were so excited to have him do a boot drop in Budila last fall, providing over 500 children with their very own rubber boots. These communities are often wet and muddy, not to mention incredibly snowy over the winter, and proper foot wear is scarce.

This week Samuel is back in Brasov for a few days to do a follow up boot drop in Budila for children who attend our After School Program and it was a perfect day for new boots!
  

President Sarah Berchtold
It is hard to capture the sheer joy this gift brings.
For most, if not all, this is their first pair of new shoes.
Samuel also brought along a guest, American Idol runner up Jason Castro.
Stay tuned this week to see his musical performance at the Foundation Center!
To find out more about this incredible charity, or to buy your very own Roma Boots visit http://romaboots.com/

Prayers for the Greiner Family

It is with deepest sadness that we share of the passing of Dan Greiner, father of long term volunteers Katie and John Greiner. After a long and heroic battle with cancer, Dan went to be with his Lord and Saviour Tuesday, April 8th at his home in Minnesota.

Katie has been volunteering with FFR since moving to Brasov in 2011, working as our Donations Co-ordinator, as well as in the hospital and with our Kids Club. Her brother John came in 2013 to spend almost a year working with us as a Building Project  Assistant and hospital supervisor. Anyone who has met a Greiner knows that they are the loveliest, most genuine and kind bunch of people. So it is with sincerest hearts that we offer our condolences.

If you would like to send a message of encouragement and love to the Greiner family, you may do so by sending it to mail@firmfoundationsromania.com and we will gladly pass it along.

A Bit About Donations

We have been so blessed throughout the years to have a steady flow of donations come in to us from all over the globe. From Australia, Germany, Sweden and North America, it is thanks to people like you that we have been able to feed clothe, and diaper, those in need. It has come in the form of little shoes, squeaky toys, hats and toothpaste, pjs and books. Also, dollar by dollar the generosity of lovely people like yourself has aloud us to continuously supply diapers to Brasov Children’s Hospital these past years.

Priority goes to using donations for our Baby Closet at the hospital, as well as any children coming or going from the hospital who are in need, as well as those in Budila, children and families involved in our After School Program, Teens and Kids Club. Puzzles, games and toys are used by all our programs, as well as special events and holidays to bring extra joy to those who need it.

 
When donations arrive they are taken to our Support Center at the hospital, sorted and then designated to our projects or dropped off at other locations in need, including the Department of Child Protection, Codlea Placement Center, and the Brasov Homeless Shelter.
Drop off at the Brasov Homeless Shelter 
Thank you for your generous heart, and know that every day we are working to make sure what you give is being placed in the hands who need it most. It is an honor to be the final step in the long journey it took for these donations to arrive at our door. 

FFR Goes to the Circus

It never fails, no matter where we go we can’t help but get involved! Some of us took a little trip to the circus, look what happened…

Mom’s Need Love Too

This Monday’s Baby Closet Team: Lauren, Alisha & Rosie.

We here at FFR have a hard time not lending a hand when we see there is a need. For years we have ministered to the babies of the Brasov Children’s Hospital, but many of you may not know that we also work with the mom’s who are staying with their children. In 2010 Head Supervisor Alisha Sidebottom felt led to begin a project that ministered to these often very young and under privileged women. Every Monday Alisha and her team head to the hospital to bring a little joy and encouragement to the moms. The team takes welcome packs full of necessities, (soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste toys etc.) around to the moms. This gives them an opportunity to talk with the moms, hear their story and find out what they are in need of. Then it is is off to our Baby Closet in the newly renovated support centre, to ‘shop’ for clothes, shoes and any other needs for the moms. Think Santas elves in scrub tops!

All these donations going to the right people.
Also this team makes a special visit to the moms of the newborn floor. Mom’s here are often dealing with a seriously ill child. They usually share a room with two or more moms without even a TV. These Monday meetings give the moms something to do that is fun; we play games with them, do a craft, give away prizes as well as talk to them about common baby issues that they may have questions about. We want to encourage these women and build them up, so they will build up their children and have confidence that they can do the task set before them. 
Building relationships, showing love and just being there. 
To any child, there can be one who will have such influence over the young heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring.  -Charles Spurgeon