“Share your passion” is the main permanent project in the Growing GREAT educational program. It is a nation-wide program, offering support to children and youth who are in foster care for a long-term by engaging a large number of volunteers who all become teachers, friends and role models for the children.
Weekly, the volunteers pair up to go meet with a group of children of similar age in order to provide interactive sessions of tutoring (on subjects such as the Romanian Language, Math, English, IT, General Knowledge, etc.) or to offer creative workshops (music, dance, theater, photography, fine arts etc.). We want for those who are passionate about something, to pass on their passion to the children and youth in foster care.
Volunteers are older than 16 years of age and most work, but there are also college or high school students, as well as retirees among them. Prior teaching experience is not a prerequisite – volunteers attend training sessions on specificities of working with the children and on interactive methods of teaching. Volunteer recruiting takes place twice a year, for 6-month-long volunteering modules, during which time they devote at least 3 hours per week to the project. The selection process includes several steps, guaranteeing that the remaining volunteers are engaged and reliable. The project targets mainly young high school and college students, but it also accepts young professionals, adults and even senior citizens.
More details on how to become a volunteer at http://www.en.ajungemmari.ro/become-volunteer/
Currently there are between 1,000 and 1,300 volunteers permanently involved in the project, helping 2,000 children in Bucharest and 25 counties: Arad, Argeş, Bacău, Brăila, Bihor, Botoșani, Brașov, Buzău, Constanţa, Cluj, Dâmbovița, Dolj, Galați, Harghita, Hunedoara, Gorj, Iași, Ilfov, Mureș, Neamț, Prahova, Sibiu, Suceava, Timiş, Vrancea. In Bucharest we work with the State Child Care System in Sectors 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6, and thanks to the large number of volunteers (1 volunteer for every 2 children), we can assign the volunteers according to their travelling availability, preferred areas, schedule and skills, so that they can best meet children’s needs.
The project expanded throughout the country, depending on the local coordinators’ involvement. If we find people willing to devote 5 hours each week to organize local activities, we can attract volunteers for new cities or counties. Those interested in becoming a coordinator can send a CV and a cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. More details: http://goo.gl/7mqwzV.
Benefits for children and youth:
- they improve their academic results
- they improve their general knowledge
- they become better communicators, more open to new activities
- they improve their communication, social and team work skills
- they gain confidence in their own forces
- they internalize the values of the volunteers who become their role models
- they learn out of pleasure and curiosity
- they become more motivated to fight for a better future
Results and Partners
The project started in Bucharest in the summer of 2014 with no funding but with 70 volunteers who helped 150 children. The project quickly expanded, both in Bucharest and throughout the country, and the number of volunteers and children continued to grow; thus, in the summer of 2016 there were 1,300 volunteers helping 2,000 children in Bucharest and 25 counties. Since, the number of children has been constant, or slightly on the increase and the number of volunteers has been varying between 1,000 and 1,300, depending on the recruitment time.
The children enrolled in the program receive long term monitoring and support from the volunteers. In acknowledgement of its results, Pass on Your Passion was selected in 2015, “The Educational Program of the Year” in the National Volunteer Gala and won the first prize in the Civil Society Gala. In 2016, the project also received recognition from the Ministry of Labor.
In Bucharest, United Way Romania and Metropolitan Life have supported the project since 2016. Nationally, it benefited from the support of LIDL Romania and of local sponsors. In 2018, Pepco Romania provides a part of school supplies, nation-wide.