Welcome on becoming an Ajungem MARI volunteer!
Hello! If you reached this page that means you wish to responsibly help children in Foster homes by giving them your time and knowledge. We appreciate very much your initiative and we thank you for your drive to get involved. These wonderful children always need new friends to learn from and help them see a brighter future.
„Pass you passion” project is taking place on a permanent basis, and the activity is split into 8 months modules.
Now we closed the volunteer recruiting process, but if you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please fill this form and we will send you a message when we are looking for new volunteers.
As a volunteer you will work in a single foster home, where you shall be assigned with new and experienced volunteers that already know the children and you will have a coordinator that will guide you. Together with a volunteer colleague you will give school classes (language skills, mathematics, English, French, informatics, physics etc.) or creative classes (music, dance, photography, fine arts).
We believe that each can help the children and every encouragement counts. We eagerly await you in our volunteer team!
- Individual volunteering – All details on this page
Volunteers sign up individually for the “Share your passion” project for weekly sessions in the Foster homes.
- Corporate volunteer – Find out more
If you work in a company and have more colleagues that could get involved we can discuss details for each particular case. What corporate volunteering means: reduced frequency, you can accompany the children on the education trips, professional orientation visits or you can give workshops on different topics. Find out more information as well as contact details to discuss the different involvement options.
FIND OUT MORE:
The project “Share your passion”
Share your passion is the first and most important project implemented in the Ajungem MARI educational project organized by Lindenfeld Association. Volunteers use their passion and abilities to fill the different needs of children in foster care, motivate them to learn, help them gain confidence and become their teachers, friends and role models.
The project started in Bucharest in the summer of 2014 with 0 funds but 70 volunteers that helped 150 children. The project rapidly expanded in Bucharest and other cities and the number of volunteers as well as children kept rising and in the autumn of 2016 1300 volunteers were involved in supporting 2000 children from Bucharest and 25 counties. Since then, the number of children is constantly rising and the number of volunteers varies between 1000 and 1300, depending on signup period. The children included in the program are followed and supported on long term by the volunteers. For the results, “Share your passion” won the “Yearly education award” at the National Volunteers Gala and received the first prize at the Civil Society Gala. The project received in 2016 recognition from the Ministry of Labor.
Basic principles of the program.
Ajungem MARI activities are based on education and all the projects ran by our volunteers are developed towards that goal: education and development of children in foster homes and underdeveloped areas.
We are focused on education, personal development and social integration – school recovery, workshops and activities that improve children’s abilities, vocation classes, vocation counseling, and qualifying classes. After these areas are covered, we can use any remaining resources on secondary objectives such as improving the environment of the children or covering any other needs.
We treat with respect and dignity all persons, we do not discriminate based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or any other opinion or on social status.
We maintain balance in activities and in relation to those involved. We mainly involve children in educational activities first then recreational ones.
We maintain a balanced child – volunteer relationship, we clearly define the borders between us and what we can offer in the volunteer program, we don’t promise more than we can offer and we understand the temporary role the volunteers play in the children’s lives; we don’t create false hopes and we do not disappoint.
How are the children and the foster homes.
We work mainly with children in state foster homes, children that suffer from trauma after being institutionalized, abandoned or separated from families. The children are wonderful, and have a potential that often not even they are aware of. The children attend normal or special schools and unfortunately, because of the environment they come from and their life experiences their level is below their peers.
In the program there are over 2000 children and young adults with ages between 3 and 20 from foster homes, day centers, emergency homes, family apartments and maternal care, social after-schools, private associations and foundations that take care of children in distress. We work in partnership with State Social Services in Bucharest (sectors 1, 2, 3, 4, 6) and from 24 counties.
As a volunteer you will work in a single foster home, where you shall be assigned with new and experienced volunteers that already know the children and you will have a coordinator that will guide you. The children are different and the foster homes are different and based on the experience in each home, the volunteers can work in pairs with larger or smaller groups of children or focus on individual cases, based on the child’s need and the request of the home.
The role of the Ajungem MARI volunteer
The goal of the volunteer is to be a mentor, role model, help the children discover the world, gain self-confidence, and become INDEPENDENT AND RESPONSIBLE!
As an Ajungem MARI volunteer you will go at the foster homes on a weekly bases to teach the children based on your skills and knowledge. Together with a volunteer colleague you will give school classes (language skills, mathematics, English, French, informatics, physics etc.) or creative classes (music, dance, photography, fine arts) or by playing and interacting you will help the children:
– Study with love and curiosity after you setup a plan of attractive activities
– Gain self-confidence after being constantly encouraged and appreciated for small successes
– Develop team-working skills, communication skills, etc.
– Understand the world around them through stories and examples
– Gain values and social behavioral skills
– Be more motivated to continue their studies and find their path in life
The role of a volunteer is a beautiful one that can bring you much energy, happiness and satisfaction but also represents a challenge in find method that are attractive and motivating for the children. For this, you need a bit of patience and understanding an open attitude, and a little bit of imagination. We will also help you, through training and counseling!
How are the volunteers? How can one become a volunteer?
Ajungem MARI volunteers are usually Grown-ups, adults, students or high school students, aged from 16 years, with no superior age limit, who are good communicators, involved and willing to help the children.
Previous teaching experience is not needed, but it is recommended to be an open person, calm, with a drive to learn new things and who enjoys working in a team.
We emphasize commitment, an open attitude, and long term involvement for at least a 6 month module.
Before taking part in activities, volunteer go through training where they will learn everything they need to know about the program, ways to work with the children and their specifics. During the modules the volunteers receive advice and counseling from more experienced volunteers as well as trained professionals.
We discourage getting involved for any other purpose than to help the children. We offer proof of volunteer involvement only to volunteers that meet the project’s standard in number of presences and filled out reports. Ajungem MARI volunteers do not seek to adopt children, take them home (temporary or permanently) or on holydays!
When is the project taking place?
“Share your passion” project is taking place on a permanent basis, and the activity is split into 8 months modules in which the volunteers visit the children in foster homes weekly.
We started a new module in December 2020, but if you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please fill out this form and we will let you know when we are looking for new volunteers.
Where is the project taking place?
The Project in taking place in Bucharest and 24 other counties: Arad (Arad), Argeș (Pitești, Câmpulung), Bacău (Bacău), Brăila (Brăila), Bihor (Oradea, Saniob), Botoșani (Botoșani), Brașov (Codlea, Târlungeni, Săcele, Rupea, Dacia), Buzău (Buzău), Constanța (Constanța, Agigea), Cluj (Cluj-Napoca, Turda, Gherla), Dâmbovița (Târgoviște), Dolj (Craiova), Galați (Galați), Hunedoara (Deva), Gorj (Târgu Jiu), Iași (Iași), Ilfov (Periș, Voluntari), Mureș (Târgu Mureș, Reghin), Neamț (Piatra Neamț), Prahova (Plopeni, Ploiești, Sinaia, Câmpina), Sibiu (Sibiu, Orlat, Cisnădie), Suceava (Suceava), Timiș (Timișoara, Recaș), Vrancea (Focșani). In Bucharest we work with State social services and child protection from the Sectors 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and because of the high number of signed up volunteers (one volunteer per 2 children) we can assign volunteers depending on the area and travel availability, schedule and their abilities so the children’s needs are better met.
How is the project taking place?
To sign up in the project you need to follow the steps detailed below. The selection in comprised of several stages, easy to pass for volunteers wishing to help the children. At the beginning of each module we want to make sure that the volunteers are serious and committed and that they will be involved for at least 8 months, especially since we work with children that have already suffered abandonment of family separation. When signing up please tell us what your passions are and pick 3 subjects or areas from which you can share information to the children.
After the online selection follows the initial mandatory training that lasts about 8-9 hours and covers the most important themes: specifics and needs of institutionalized children, interactive work methods that are attractive to children. You can also participate on optional trainings held during the module.
If you passed all selection stages, including the training the next step is signing the volunteer contract and assignment to a foster home. This allocation is done according to your availability as schedule and travel distance, based on your abilities and passions but most importantly based on the needs of the children. Your program at the foster home is 2 hours every week and you are accompanied with a friend you can sign up with or a new colleague. An additional hour is dedicated weekly to prepare and report the activities.
Foster home visits are done during the workdays as well as the weekend, Monday to Sunday, respecting the meal and rest schedule of the children. Their schedule can vary from foster home to foster home but as a general rule work hours are between 09.00 and 12.00 and 13.00 and 18.00. There are very few foster homes where volunteers can come after 18.00 – most volunteers that have a late work schedule come during the weekend. At the beginning of each module we mutually set a day, hour and activity that will be maintained for the full duration of the module (with the exception of extraordinary circumstances of course). If you work is shifts we can find you involvement opportunities with other volunteers.
For each foster home we have a large team of 10-20 volunteers that are coordinated by a fellow volunteer who facilitates organization and monitors them. During the course of the module, you can receive guidance and counseling from volunteers that already know the children, from educational councilors, project coordinators, online, at optional trainings and during meetings with teams from centers, at support groups.
At the end of the 6 months module you can choose to continue the activity with the children and your continued support will be very important to them.
What means to get involved as a volunteer in the project?
The following are required:
– Long term availability – the volunteering module lasts 8 months; the schedule can be more free during holidays or in special circumstances
– Commitment – weekly, 3 hours out of which 2 are actual work activities with the children and 1 is planning and reporting
– Keeping up with the commitments – in relationship with the partner foster homes but especially with the children that need people that are role models
– Team work – volunteers work in 2 man teams with the children and for the children from one home 10 – 20 volunteers can be involved; as long as a team is more united and discusses about solutions to help the children, the better the results will be
– Confidentiality – volunteers protect the image, identity and history of the children
– Optimistic approach and open attitude – volunteers are focusing on the future of the children, without victimizing them.
Other project you can get involved later:
If you sign up in ”Share your passion” you can also take part in:
- “Explorer for a day” – you take the children to theatre, museums, shows, etc. you encourage them, you teach them to behave and guide themselves,
- “Dare to dream” – you accompany the children and youngsters in career visits at different workplaces to help them discover what they like doing, what they are good at and what they can become,
- Financial education – you give financial education classes after an adapted structure that will help them get by after leaving the foster home.