Iarina Taban (Stefanescu)
Director & Program Founder
Iarina discovered the benefits education through play has for disadvantaged children whilecoordinating a different volunteering program and felt this was her vocation. On June 8, 2014, shefounded the Growing GREAT educational program with 0 funding, but with many friends aroundwho believed in her cause.
She wanted to help as many children as possible, so sooner than one year since its start, theprogram started to expand nationally and currently Growing GREAT is in place in 25 counties.In December 2014, Iarina received the title Volunteer of the Year in Education at the NationalVolunteer Gala.
– 31 years old, a cheerful and optimist person, she enjoys working with people –
She has been a part of the Growing GREAT family since June 2015, when she started working as a volunteer engaged in exploration activities. Over those months, she interacted with children and youth in the centers in Bucharest and since she has known that this is what she has to do!
Between December 2015 and August 2016, she was a Volunteer by Profession and coordinated the program nationally as part of a project funded by the Vodafone Romania Foundation. Currently, she continues to participate in all our projects!
Project Manager – Professional orientation and financial education
It was enough for me to read the presentation of the Growing GREAT Program in the summer of 2015 to feel that this is where I belong. The activities with the children have brought me both joy and challenges, but especially a different perspective on life: energy, trust, creativity, freedom, compassion. Then I also discovered the Growing GREAT team and I liked their energy, enthusiasm and ideas, so, after 2 years of volunteering I decided to make a career change and join them in order to help children and give them access to knowledge in various forms, so that they can build the life they dream of for themselves.
Vivianda Nicolae (Mihăilă)
Project Coordinator in Bucharest
Vivianda is one of our very active volunteers, the former coordinator of Sector 2 volunteers, now she coordinates the activity of Growing GREAT projects in Bucharest. With a vast experience in marketing and event organization, Vivianda decided to join the Growing GREAT team and to contribute even more to the development and education of children in foster care centers.
“Before becoming a volunteer in the Growing GREAT program, I was fighting the feeling of uselessness and I felt I could do more for others and indirectly for myself. Now, after the Growing GREAT experience, I feel that with every smile of the children, I changed something, I feel useful…and I laugh more. Sometimes the situation these children are in saddens me, but I realize it is normal for me to be sad sometimes. What is important is that after sadness comes happiness – the children’s and implicitly my happiness. And there is one more thing… I realize there are many beautiful people around me and life is much more beautiful like this!”
Emilia Stefania Mocan
Project coordinator - Explorer for a day
If there is one thing that defines me, it is certainly volunteering. I have been working with NGOs for 8 years, and it is in this environment that I have grown most and have enjoyed my most beautiful experiences. But, what I have always wanted to do was be a Project Manager and contribute to the education of children and youth. Growing GREAT is where I have been able to combine these two things and I am extremely happy with what I do. I have the fortune of interacting with children in various activities; this is the part I like best. I am perfectly aware of the importance education plays in a child’s life and I strongly believe in the equality of changes; through Growing GREAT, together with a wonderful and extremely dedicated team I have succeeded in fighting for these things and offering children a better future.
Andreea Dumitru is a teenager’s mother and a person who cannot imagine living withoutENTHUSIASM. She runs away from indifferent places and people and does not really know how to getbored. For over 15 years, she has been writing about theatre and has edited specialized literature.Nevertheless, at almost 40 years old, she has discovered her second most ardent passion:volunteering for children who live apart from their families.
“Two Facebook friends introduced me to the Growing GREAT project right on time. I love thepeople I discovered here, I love thinking every day and night about the children from Pinocchio 3center, where I coordinate the team of volunteers and I thank them every day – not only in mythoughts — for having never felt happier, freer, more spontaneous, more trustful in my own powersand in those of my fellow humans. I want nothing other than give the children the chance to feelyou can live this way.”
Psychologist - volunteer counselor
Beatrice is a psychotherapist specialized in cognitive behavioral therapy. She has joined our team of volunteers in July 2017 and she is provides psychological assistance to our volunteers everywhere.
“I believe in synchrony. And I believe that when something is meant to happen, it comes in your life in a very natural manner. This is how I joined the Growing GREAT team. It all started from the idea of offering volunteers a sort of support, a sort of a basic kit of abilities that would help them on a daily basis to understand themselves better and thus better face the challenges of working with children from foster care centers. I have been a volunteer myself or I have worked for a long time with vulnerable persons and I have experienced myself the weight of certain moments and the need for support and understanding you can sometimes feel. I am happy to be a part of this Great team of people.”
My degree in sociology has helped me learn how to appreciate working and interacting with people. After working for a few years in advertising, media and a few other sectors in search of professional fulfillment, I understood that I have the greatest satisfaction when I can guide others and be of help to them. I followed my calling, I started working as a personal and vocational development counselor and I am (once again) a student of the Faculty of Psychology, wishing to consolidate and improve my knowledge and abilities.
I strongly believe that we each have gifts we can be proud of and this is why I joined the Growing GREAT team: I wish for youth in foster care centers to become aware of their gifts and to be able to use them in their educational and professional future. Probably the most valuable thing I want is for youth to lean from me how to trust their own forces; this is the ingredient most of them need to overcome the difficulties they are facing and it is what can provide them with a balanced life perspective.
Alexandra wanted to join a team of volunteers of special, kindhearted volunteers who would do wonderful things for children. That is how she arrived in the Growing GREAT team in February 2016, and since September, she has been in the trainers’ team. I strongly believe in the individual responsibility that each of us can take in our journey through the world and that it is our responsibility to give our best regardless of how we choose to give.
“I have long wanted to participate in a volunteering program but I had not yet found one I could identify with until I saw a Growing GREAT post and I decided to apply. It was love at first sight and I borrowed from Iarina’s energy and used it in activities with children. From the very first module I also became a coordinator at a day center with children aged 6-12. After the second module, I joined the team of trainers. This brought me tremendous joy because I had the opportunity to share my passion for this program with future volunteers and at the same time to guide them on their new path sown with smiles and lovely surprises. In the Growing GREAT team I have discovered a cheerful atmosphere, filled with energy and love.”