From Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors to 3D Butterflies…

David and I have just completed another seven enjoyable weeks working with the children in the After School Programme run by Firm Foundations Romana in Budila. What a great bunch of young people they are. When we arrived in January we had a warm welcome and lots of hugs from all those who remembered us from last year; in fact we experience this every day! The pupils are so enthusiastic when working on our various projects that they really keep us on our toes.

The teachers are working wonders with all the children. Most of these young people start the programme somewhat undisciplined but soon come to understand what is required of them. They are polite, too, calling us Miss Hazel and Miss (!) David.

We’ve brought some new ideas this time. Joseph and his colourful coat – each child designed their own and the best one from each class was transferred onto cardboard for the kids to colour. Then we took photos of them ‘wearing’ the coat; everyone took a copy home. It was such good fun and we’ll have to think up some more like this. They also completed collages depicting the Resurrection. The younger ones did the mammals and  birds collections and finished off with a 3D picture of butterflies, another very popular project. Now we must come up with some new ideas for next time!

David has been volunteering in Romania since 2006, prompted by a dream, and I joined him five years later. We heard about Firm Foundations while working with another charity supporting Rroma families so, when their focus changed we came to Budila as we still wanted to help Rroma children with their education. We are not teachers but hope to bring something to stimulate their minds. This was our second winter with FFR. We are sad to be leaving but are already looking forward to our next visit. We are English by birth but consider ourselves as Europeans, having spent nearly 27 years living in Spain.

~ Hazel and David Martin

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!

Happy Birthday! It’s a Celebration!

Do you remember as a child how exciting it was when your birthday was approaching? You’d start counting down the days, planning your birthday party, and making a list of what you were asking for. Then when the birthday past, the first question was “how long until my next birthday?”

Can you imagine not knowing your birthday or ever celebrating? It’s a hard concept to grasp, but many children in the village don’t know when their birthdays are and have never celebrated this special day. Some of the children don’t even know their own age.

At the After School Program, we know how important it is for a child to know his or her birthday and to know that he or she is special enough to be celebrated for being alive! Once a month we have a party for all the children who had birthdays in that month. The children get so excited and feel so loved. It’s a joyous occasion, filled with cakes and balloons and even party hats. So for all the children in our After School Program who will be celebrated this year, Happy Birthday!

Year End Giving – Tax Write Off Opportunity!

Thanks to donors and volunteers, Firm Foundations Romania continues to provide arms of love for the babies, the hospital with diapers, and education for the children in the village.

As 2018 wraps up, we ask that you consider making an end of the year donation. Not only will you be supporting the children in Romania, but you will be able to benefit from a tax write off! It’s a win for everyone.

Checks made out to “Firm Foundations Romania” can be mailed to :

Firm Foundations Romania
c/o Group One Consulting, Inc.
13405 Folsom Blvd., Suite 511
Folsom, CA 95630

For other ways to donate, click here or please contact us at mail@firmfoundationsromania.com if you have any questions.

“In Hopes That St. Nicholas Soon Would Be There…”

“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there”

Most people will recognize these lines from the famous poem, “Twas the night before Christmas.” For many people in Europe, the stockings are actually boots that get filled with chocolates and treats on December 6th. St. Nicholas Day honors Nicholas of Turkey who lived his life devoted to serving and giving to the poor,sticking with his Christian faith even when it meant being persecuted and imprisoned.

This year “St. Nick” made a visit to our After School Program to visit the children. What a fun and new experience for the kids to have their picture taken with St. Nick and to then receive an orange and chocolate Santa. Both the kids and the teachers enjoyed this special day.

For more information about St. Nicholas, please click here.

The Backbone of our After School Program

Do you remember your favorite teacher? The one who made you feel extra special, or helped you understand a subject you never understood before, or gave extra recess time to the class. Our hope and prayer each is year is to find teachers for our After School Program who the kids will remember with fond memories. The teachers who go above and beyond and see each child for the potential that he or she is worth.

We are thankful for the Project Manager and the three teachers who will be educating the 130 children enrolled in the After School Program. This team of four (from left in the above picture: Ioana, Andreea, Project Manager Daniela, Iszabella) will be helping inspire the future, through educational assistance and homework help, and will be teaching about God’s love and hope. Please keep the program in your prayers – for safety and health for the teachers and for the students to progress in both school and in knowing who God is. We believe this is going to be a great year and we look forward to keeping you updated. 

Back to School!

Another year has begun for the children in our After School Program! We currently have over 100 children in Kindergarten through 6th grade. Many of these children have been in our programs since they were little, some we have even known from the hospital as babies, and it has been so special to watch them grow and continue to be a part of their lives. We are so thankful for the chance to not only help them in their studies and encourage them in their future, but to also share God’s great love with them.

Please keep the kids and teachers in your prayers as they start this next year. Pray for wisdom and patience for the teachers as they teach, encourage, and share God’s love, and for the children that they will continue in their schooling and come to know God as their Lord and Savior.

Thank you to our teachers, donors, and everyone who has helped to make this program possible!

Celebrating Another Year of Kids Club and After School

Every year at the end of school, we hold a graduation for our students as a way to celebrate them as they move on to the next step. We had 130 students in grade 0-7 in After School and 11 preschoolers in Kid’s Club, and we are so proud of each and every one of […]

Petrisor and Ioana Join FFR’s Team!

The After School Program is back in full swing! After two weeks of registering kids and getting schedules sorted out, we now have over 130 kids enrolled, from kindergarten to seventh grade. Running this program is our wonderful Romanian team (pictured above, from left to right: Joy, Ioana, Silvana, Petrisor), two returning who worked with us last year and two new teachers. Silvana, who is the Project Manager, is in her third year of working with Firm Foundations Romania and this is Joy’s second year. Newly hired, Ioana was previously a teacher in the Romanian public school system, and Petrisor was in our Teen Program and graduated from high school two years ago. It’s great for the kids to see him in this position and to see the benefits of being in the program and getting an education. With these four great teachers, we know the kids are going to have a wonderful year! We look forward to keeping you updated about the After School Program, and we ask that you keep this program, the kids, and the teachers in your prayers.

FFR is a Proud Mama!

ESTERA GRADUATES HIGH SCHOOL!

According to a recent study, for every 200 Roma children, only 3 will graduate from high school. We are proud to announce that this year one of these students is our very own Estera! Estera has been in our Teenage Mentorship Program for the past few years and has been living in our teenage apartment. Estera has a heart of gold and loves Jesus with everything in her. She is a beautiful young lady and we are so excited to see what her future holds.

Upon graduation, students have to take an exam that determines if they are able to enter college or if they will instead attend a trade school. Estera’s exam will take place in the beginning for July. She has been studying all year and receiving extra tutoring. Please pray with us that Estera will successfully pass the three sections of the exam and that God will guide her in her next step of life.

Students like Estera are why we have our After School Program. We believe that more than just three Roma students should graduate each year from high school. We are working hard with the younger students to get them prepared so they can attend high school and one day graduate! Our goal is to integrate the Roma children into Romanian society and see them succeed in life. We were blessed to have BrasovTV join us at our graduation ceremony and share a news report about the event. Please check out the below news program (with English subtitles, thanks to Leo Hagiu).