The Ajungem MARI (Growing GREAT) educational program
Asociaţia Lindenfeld is a non-governmental, non-political and non-religious organization registered according to the Romanian laws. Its goal is to facilitate the access of vulnerable groups to key sectors of our society.
Its main program is Ajungem Mari (Growing GREAT) which supports the education of children from foster care centers and disadvantaged environments. Through volunteering and professional orientation projects, creative workshops and social-recreational activities, our program seeks to build the children’s trust in themselves and develop the abilities they need to become responsible and independent adults.
Download the Program presentation and find out more information about our activity over the last 6 years.
The program started in Bucharest in the summer of 2014 and quickly expanded throughout the country. Currently, 2500 institutionalized children and youngsters participate in interactive education and wonderful experiences which help them Grow GREAT.
For a sustainable impact on the future of the children in foster care, we need increasingly more serious and dedicated volunteers.
Growing GREAT volunteers are generally high school and college students or GROWN UP people, aged 16 or over with no upper age limit, who are communicative, dedicated and willing to genuinely help the children.
Previous teaching experience is not necessary! Before participating in any activities, volunteers attend training sessions where they learn all they need to know in view of their interaction with children.
Throughout the modules, the volunteers receive guidance from educational counselors and other experienced volunteers.
Children have a lot of potential, but little self confidence and are affected by family separation and institutionalization. They need relationships with adults who can became their friends and role-models, to offer them support and encouragement, to reveal new opportunities and motivate them to continue their education.
For their education, every 6 months, we organize new volunteers recruitment in order to ensure an optimum number of volunteers. Approximate 1600 volunteers visit the children weekly, for at least 8 months, and then are supported to continue through training and counseling.
The Growing GREAT educational program comprises a series of permanent projects, meeting the long-term needs of institutionalized and foster care children and focusing on raising their confidence in their own forces, developing skills and instilling values for a healthy and dignified living.
Today, the Growing GREAT program has 5 permanent projects:
- Share your passion – over 1600 volunteers are involved in organizing weekly interactive sessions for school preparing (Romanian, Math, English, Informatics, General Culture etc.) or creative and personal development workshops for 2200 children.
- Explorer for a Day – the children and youth in the program, together with the volunteers, have the opportunity to explore the city, to visit and discover new places, to get to know and interact with new people outside the placement center.
- Discover Yourself! – children and adolescents participate in psychotherapy and activities meant to support their personal development.
- Dare to dream! – is a permanent project of the Growing GREAT educational program helping children and youth in foster care to take their first steps in vocational and professional orientation
- GREAT Vacation – personal development camps with lots of fun and educational games and trips
Besides the permanent projects, Growing GREAT developed other projects for financial, entrepreneurial, health education and mentoring for adolescents.
Our project received recognition from the very first year and was awarded in:
- The 2014 National Volunteer Gala – the Growing GREAT founder received three nominations and the Education Volunteer of the Year award
- The 2014 Civil Society Gala – Second prize in the Volunteering Projects section
- The 2015 National Volunteer Gala – The Education Project of the Year award
- Timiş County Youth Projects Gala – The Best Humanitarian and Health Youth Project in 2015
- 2016 – received acknowledgment from the Minister of Labor, which recommended child protection institutions to collaborate in the program
- The 2018 Volunteers National Gala – Growing GREAT received 4 nominations and the award for “The year’s corporate volunteering project”
- The 2019 People for People Gala – Prize for Courage