“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 and to dare to aim as high as possible. This is the age when they start building their dreams and we want them to understand that with strong will and a solid education they can become exactly who they want to become.
Children living in foster care know little about the world around them and what having a job/ going to work means. Their view of reality is limited to life in their foster care center and in school.
The project includes:
– Individual and group vocational counseling
– Visits to various workplaces and talks with the employees
– Scholarships for accredited training courses
By visiting workplaces we offer them as much information as possible about what it is like to have a job, what the necessary training and required knowledge are, how they should behave at work and work in a team. We want them to understand what a working environment is, to meet representatives from as many professions as possible and to be able to talk about various fields of activity, but most of all we want to motivate them to continue studying and stay in school.
Benefits for children and youth:
- they get a better grasp of what their skills are and what they need to improve
- they discover the variety of professions and working environments
- they find what skills and knowledge they must acquire to work in a certain field, in a certain environment
- they have the chance to meet and talk to employees who can guide them
- they discover new perspectives for their own future
- they discover what they like and what they dislike in view of building their own future
Results and partners
Although the project started in 2014, few visits, workshops and career days in centers took place in the first years; the landmark event was a professional orientation conference with 30 professionals and 100 children. The project received funding and could be implemented starting with 2017, when vocational counseling and periodic visits to companies started.
So far, we organized 23 such professional visits for approximately 200 children, in various places (restaurants, IT companies, bakeries, beauty salons, TV and radio stations, security companies, a vet’s office, various factories). Children showed great interest in these visits, enjoying the discovery of new professions and of new people with exciting life experiences. For 12 months (beginning in August 2017), the visits to work places by children and youth (12-18 years of age) in foster care are supported by HP Inc. Foundation in Bucharest and 10 counties.
With the help of Ikea Romania, we were able to provide teenagers and youth support by an employed vocational counselor who organized a series of sessions wherein they could identify and work on individual skills, receive advice on the right profession for them and what they need to do if they want to work in a certain field. Vocational counseling carries on in 2018 with the support of Pepco Romania.
In the fall of 2017 we organized professional development and vocational counseling week-ends for 35 youth in foster care, followed by working week-ends in Bucharest, group and individual sessions meant to deepen the knowledge the adolescents acquired, to raise their self-esteem and to encourage them to believe in themselves and to follow their dreams.