As summer comes to an end, it’s time to bring you up to date on activities at Pro Vita in Romania.
Fr. Sean Cavanaugh was finally able to visit Pro Vita in late July and give us a “boots on the ground” report. The photo Gallery on the AFPVO website will be updated with his pictures.
As many of us have struggled with the life changes dictated by Covid, so has Pro Vita. It has been a very stressful 15 months, with the ever-changing regulations promulgated by the local and national government bodies concerning health and safety for congregant living facilities during the pandemic. Fortunately, the virus has not swept through the Pro Vita population and the Tanases and staff have been able to conform to all the restrictions. There have been some cases of Covid especially among the elderly residents. So far, the Delta variant has not spread through Valenii de Munti and the surrounding villages that house Pro Vita beneficiaries.
Financially, Pro Vita took a big hit both in terms of cash and in-kind donations from Romanians and the other European donors. Covid prevented the Ultramarathon (for the second year) of “100 for the Children”, the 100 kilometre foot race that traditionally draws runners from various European countries and is a major annual fund raiser for Pro Vita.
There were also many Covid-related expenses as accommodations had to be socially distanced and people reallocated to comply with all the new regulations. Remote schooling required the installation of robust internet in Valea Screzii and Valenii de Munte at a significant, unanticipated cost.
Fortunately, many of you continued to make generous donations so we are able to provide a monetary “lifeline” to Pro Vita.
AFPVO has forwarded $10,000 to Pro Vita as a result of Fr. Sean’s visit and his meetings with the Tanases about the critical priorities. One of the PV vans needed significant repairs in order to pass inspection and new fire regulations require additional exterior surfacing of the facade of the Social Center (aka the student dormitory) in Valenii de Munte.
Mihail Tanase has started a construction business to create much-needed personal income. Necessity dictates that he currently re-direct any profits to fund a significant percentage of Pro Vita’s operating costs.
The Romanian schools are scheduled to re-open in person September 13. Two of our high school graduates from 2019 (Minodora and Andra who were planning to attend the University in Bucharest in pre-med and sociology) will finally be able to start their pre-professional studies.
Vaccinations are on-going with about 30% of the country already vaccinated. With PV in a virtual lockdown only Mihail and Ionut, manager of Valea Screzii ,have been leaving the community bubble to buy supplies.
More mothers with children have joined the community. Unfortunately some of the mothers have moved on, leaving their children in Pro Vita’s excellent care.
Covid also prevented any medical volunteers such as non-Romanian doctors and dentists from visiting Pro Vita , so medical and dental care has been limited to local providers.
Mihail is hoping to install an outdoor basketball court at the Social Center. A professional player is coaching school children in Valenii de Munte, and the Social Center high schoolers desperately need an outdoor recreational facility. We are awaiting the estimate which will be in the low five figures (we hope!)
As the children in Valea Screzii get older and need to attend high school in Valenii de Munte, the Social Center is running out of space. Mihail has proposed building a house for 8-12 students on existing Social Center property, but currently there are no funds available to support this $50,000+ venture. Unless we can fund this in the next year, the rising high schoolers will have a multi-hour commute on the public bus from Valea Screzii.
The “economic trampoline” activity which many of you supported is on hold due to Covid. The Admin/IT center in the former police station is up and running, all the wooden buildings have been demolished and the old house on the property is fully renovated and occupied by two mothers and their children. Mihail intends to seek new EU funding to move ahead with this effort once the pandemic is under control.
The Tanases were able to hire a tutor all summer to provide lessons in Valea Screzii and Valenii de Munte to bring children to grade level after three semesters of virtual school and shared tablets and computers.
HOW CAN YOU HELP??
Contribute to AFPVO — in whatever amount is right for you. Some of you continue to dig deep and keep us afloat. New contributors respond to to each Newsletter. Our thanks to Maia T. for her first time contribution, and to Wendell B., James and Joan K., and Ed and Susan S. for their continuing support.
To ensure that the high schoolers will have both a new house and a new basketball court, the Board has contributed another $10,000 to get the ball rolling (bouncing?)
Please send your check (100% to Pro Vita) or use PayPal (we’ll cover the administrative fee) TODAY.
Our mailing address:
10518 Rosehaven St, Apt 306
Fairfax, VA 22030
Warm regards to you all.
Fr. Sean Cavanaugh, Chairman
Donna Shelton. President
Frank Doe, Treasurer
Shelby Stowers, At Large