A Special Outing for Special Kids!

Throughout each month the students in our After School Program receive points for attendance, good behavior, completing their worksheets, etc. Then at the end of the month the children can “shop” with their points, buying anything from clothing to toys to hygiene products to school supplies. It’s a great incentive program!

The ASP teachers have now added an even bigger incentive for the kids to work towards. Each month three students will be chosen to partake in an outing… this is a very big deal for kids who have never left their village, even to go to Brasov, and some have never ridden in a car.

For three children, their adventure was last week. The kids were so excited they showed up an hour early and said they couldn’t sleep the night before. They piled into the car and off they went to the big city of Brasov. Once there they saw the tourist sites of the city center, the Black Church, and the local town hall. They ate dinner and played some rounds of pool. But what seemed to excite these 11 and 12 year old the most was playing on the playground. The freezing temperatures and snow falling didn’t damper their enthusiasm to have the chance to be kids!

The children couldn’t wait to tell their friends about the outing, and we know it’s going to be a great incentive for all the children in the program. We are so thankful for our ASP Project Manager and teachers who go out of their way to make these kids feel special! What a great day for everyone!

Farewell to the Fantastic Fiat!

Everyone who has worked with or volunteered with Firm Foundations Romania knows how much vice president Steffi Vogel loves babies, people, and animals. One other thing that Steffi loves, and everyone knows about, is her Fantastic Fiat Doblo. This much beloved car became like family and Steffi often refers to it as her baby, talking to the car, not letting people make fun of the car, and reminding everyone just how fantastic it is!

And it really is a fantastic car: fitting up to 20 banana boxes of donations to be given to the hospital or various centers, fitting over 100 shoe boxes each Christmas for the children in the After School Program, being used as an “ambulance” to drive healthy babies back to their parents in Budila, driving teenagers into town for a fun day in the city, and being able to fit three mattresses to transport to the volunteer apartment. The car has been greatly appreciated and very well used.

The Fantastic Fiat also comes with its share of memories, like the time the sliding doors wouldn’t open in the freezing cold so the FFR Board of Directors had to all pile in through the front passenger door and climb to the back. Or trips up to Pestera, a nearby village with beautiful scenery, that one time ended in the car not starting and another time ended with the keys being lost (and miraculously found by a stranger and left at a hotel). Or Steffi driving six hours in a snowstorm to pick up shoeboxes and by the end of the trip, she thought the windshield wipers were worshipping angels.

Since 2006, the Doblo has been serving the Romanian people and will continue to do so, but not with FFR. The many trips of moving donations and volunteers has taken its toll on the car, and we have made the decision to part ways. It is with sadness that we say farewell to the Fantastic Fiat but with pleasure, the car is being passed along to very close friends so it’s staying in “the family”… and keeping its FFR license plate.