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FSC Volunteering and community involvement Projects - a Profile
This is a program addressed to all the people willing to play an active part in the life of their community. Most of our FSC volunteers are high school students, but there are also adults, representatives of partners and supporters. They are all wonderful generous individuals, full of enthusiasm and dedication, providing valuable support to the programs of our organization.
Volunteering and community involvement is designed for all the enthusiastic and dedicated members of the community who want to play an active part in it.
- Support for the beneficiaries of the FSC programs: elderly, children and poor families
- Volunteering in the Bacau County Hospital, offering relief to patients from the Neurology Ward
- Organising awareness raising campaigns and events for disadvantaged groups
- The Summer Schools in rural areas, for children from poor isolated communities of the county (in partnership with volunteers from the UK)
- Support the Home Care Services- visiting the elderly for company and practical help
Special projects and campaigns
- 2%, Christmas and Easter Campaigns- in these actions, the volunteers aim to raise funds for the support of FSC projects; in each instance, their efforts result into making children and families happy for holidays
- The Volunteersí Gala Ė reuniting hundreds of participants from several NGOs who awarded their most deserving volunteers
- The FSC Summer School- the event covers many rural communities over several weeks, for dozens of volunteers and over 1,000 children.
- Summer camps and trips for the most deserving volunteers camp for a week.
"Snapshots" from the volunteers from personal blogs
As you might have thought, my first post in the "Projects" category was bound to be about the Community Support Foundation, as my time at FSC (http://www.voluntarifsc.ro) has completely changed my perspectives throughout the 3 years I have spent in the program, and I am very determined to stay involved with their projects, no matter where I end up for college.
So, having already done some informal charity campaigns with some friends (mostly going to orphanages, playing with the kids and donating), in the 10th grade I heard about FSC and I knew I wanted to get involved, so I started going once a week to the Mosaic Centre and helping a few children from underprivileged families with their homework, which I still do and still enjoy.
I soon became involved in the PR& Fundraising department and, with a very enthusiastic team, conducted recruiting campaigns, approached sponsors and organized many events. The experience gained was priceless to me, not only in terms of the many trainings I had been offered the chance to attend (from communication, leadership and team work to mentoring, fundraising and project-writing), but also because I learnt how to write projects, to calculate budgets and I caught a glimpse of how a foundation actually works, how projects can be implemented and how easy it is for us to get involved.
In my second year I became the leader of the FSC volunteers in my high school ( and even won the best leader of volunteers prize in 2011, just to brag) and along with the leaders and coordinators team, we struggled to mobilize the volunteers both in their weekly projects: 3 centres for children, 1 project at the hospital, 1 centre for the elderly, a mentoring programme and an administrative board, but also in various activities, such as fundraising and raising awareness campaigns, fairs, etc.
From these fundraising campaigns and fairs, to Christmas concerts and recruiting, to selling hand-made jewellery & heart-shaped balloons and writing articles for the site and applying for funds with our projects in different sponsoring campaigns, I can say I got involved in everything. From micro to macro, Iíve taken part in most of the activities that the foundation organised.
What I love about FSC is that it doesnít only stick to its projects, but it also encourages other NGOs. I myself have helped organised and presented events such as NGO Fest, the NGO Fare, The Volunteerís Gala etc, that invite other NGOs to promote their activity and give prizes to their own volunteers. The Volunteerís Gala even created a competition between all the NGOs for the best project and the best volunteer every year.
On the other hand, there is the yearly Gala of the Bacau Community Prizes, a major fundraising event,( which I myself have attended in 2011 and 2012, and this yearís theme was retro, which I absolutely loved). FSC hosts the event, organises the artistic moments, and puts together an auction, a raffle and a sponsorship programme, all presented by volunteers (I have been assigned to present the offers and sell tickets for the raffle). It also gives prizes to all the organisations and people who have supported the community, which I believe is a very nice way to show our appreciation for the people who actually help us make a difference, and is one of the reasons I respect FSC so much.
The other major reason I love FSC are the summer schools in the country side. I truly believe that nothing compares to this project, and I get the most satisfaction out of it, as it is actually the project where you can really see the importance of what you are doing, where you can actually feel that you mean something, that you are part of something beautiful. A team of Romanian and English volunteers work together for a week to show the children the importance of education, but also the fun of it, in order to reduce the drop-out rate.
We sleep on air-beds on the floor in schools or local FSC centres, we cook for ourselves and organise the activities for the kids. 4 clubs in the morning- art, music & dance, sport and English (I have been responsible for the English club in both Tatarasti Summer School 2011, and Panu Summer School 2012), with breaks between them where we play games, dance and sing (often more demanding than the class itself) and a ďdiscoĒ or a film screening in the evening is more than enough to ensure that by the end of the week we are happily exhausted, but unable to leave the village.
The relationship you establish both with the kids and your team, away from the daily worries in the city, is unbelievable and I cannot explain the impact that the summer schools has had on me (although I am sorry to say that my cooking has not improved). What I can say is that you leave the summer school knowing that you just have to return next year.
I guess I didnít manage to keep it short, but I just had to express my gratitude to FSC, as my time as a volunteer has played a key role in my personal development, and although I know it sounds clichť, it actually did help me feel, not see, the world a bit differently. Now, Iím just excited to see the catalogue, which I will hopefully be able to post (I couldnít resist and even bought some of my friends personalised end-of-summer earrings). Here are some pictures from the FSC projects I have taken part in. (I have tried to be selective, but I am terrible at choosing pictures and I have hundreds of them, so I apologise for the mess)
This is the 3rd year I volunteered to go to a Community Support Foundation summer school, and the second year I went to Panu. There is no way I can describe what this experience means to me or how much I love Panu, how special that little village is and how much energy it can give me. You cannot explain what a summer school is or how much it means both for the children and volunteers. It is simply magical, incredible, and that unique feeling is simply impossible to forget.
This year, just like the year before, the children waited for us for a few hours and welcomed us with songs and cheers. We were all flooded by tears, I couldnít say a word, I just wanted to hug all of them, it was so emotional. The team of volunteers in Panu was amazing, so we got along very well and managed to get organised even though this year Gabi could not stay with us to coordinate our activity. I helped with the English club, as I always do, with Abbi and two new volunteers and I got the chance to try out some new games. Abbiís Romanian is now good enough for her to hold the English club for the little ones on her own, which was lovely to watch. However, our biggest accomplishment was the fact that the older girls learned the lyrics to one of the songs we taught them (entirely in English) and were able to play the game on their own, which made me so proud (I literally told everybody about this, it may not seem much, but it is actually incredible). The little ones also managed to sing one of Abbiís songs on their own, and I truly believe this year we had the best English club, we managed to get all of the children involved and find games they really enjoyed (even for the older boys, which is usually tricky, because they always try to act cool).
I also had the opportunity to help with the Painting Club, as this year was the first year the volunteers did not help at all with the drawing or painting and left the entire process up to the kids. We managed to explain each group that they had to create bits of a story, so the first group would draw four moments of the introduction, the next group four moments of the plot and so on. It was amazing to see how the first group which were the older boys actually thought about the fact that they had to create an introduction for a story that the little ones would like as well, so they decided to draw a castle with a princess in order for the others to be able to continue their work. All the others went along and in the end we had a fairy-tale with a princess, a dragon, a prince and a beautiful wedding at the palace. The fact that all of the moments illustrated a single story, in a natural, logical order, and that they were the work of the children entirely, was one of our biggest achievements.
Apart from all of this, Panu was, as always, amazing and exhausting, full of energy and love. My back still hurts because I kept picking up all of the kids that were clinging on to me (I was responsible for the Butterflies- aged between 1-6; during break times, as I always am, and they are adorable, but all of them want to be carried). We all cried before leaving, we gave the kids prizes in goodie bags with their name on (everything was incredibly organised). I cried when my little angels asked me to stay and said they loved me and of course I couldnít resist promising Iíd come back next year, which I now have to make sure I will be able to, regardless of the fact that I have no clue what I will be doing next summer, because I cannot disappoint them.
I donít really know what else I could say. I always tell everybody that you canít really describe volunteering, and summer schools are even more difficult to explain. The only thing I can say is that Panu 2013 was just as I expected- amazing, heart-warming, emotional and it gave me the energy to put up with another year of hard work and the hope and motivation that one day I will be able to help more for the sake of the children that never stop showing us how much they love us and how innocent and pure life really is.
Wednesday I have "graduated" as a volunteer! The Community Support Foundation (link to the article about FSC here) organised the Graduation Day (hereís a link to the collection- article of FSC events and here is a link to this yearís FSC GALA) to hand all volunteers that have finished high school their certificates and say the formal "goodbye". GRADUATION DAY (link to newspaper article here): 3 years, 340 hours on my reports, priceless memories and lessons is how I would sum up my experience in FSC. Of course Gabi surprised us and made Elina, Paul and I hold impromptu speeches, and all of us thanked the foundation for the incredible opportunities we were offered and for everything we learned. But I just couldnít find the right words to describe everything, I was trying to tell everybody that you canít really express how volunteering changes you, how it completely changes your perspective; itís something that switches inside your heart that you canít really put into words. FSC will always have a special place in my heart, and Iíve promised myself Iíll keep doing whatever I can to help them in the future. Any other words are an understatement.
Fundatia de Sprijin Comunitar