This is the second of several Newsletters resulting from our recent visit to Pro Vita. We were resident in the Valea Screzii community during a very busy period.
Two days after we arrived, 60 doctors and dentists from the Bucharest area arrived for a one-day clinic, examining and treating children and adults for many hours and joining us for a communal meal. The same day, more than 125 fans of a Bucharest soccer team as well as fifth grade students from an elementary school also came to share the day with the children. In addition to lots and lots of donated foodstuffs, toys, bikes, clothing, and furniture, several volunteers were in clown costumes, making balloon animals for the children. Many hugs, bike-riding lessons, and an impromptu soccer game filled the day and the dining room overflowed with love and high spirits. The Pro Vita teenage girls uncomplainingly washed dishes for hours until late at night after all the visitors were fed and had departed.
The following weekend was the annual 100K Ultramarathon from Bucharest to Valea Screzii — one of Pro Vita’s two annual major fund-raising activities. Seventy-five runners from Romania and other European countries were joined by several teenage runners from Pro Vita for a very long day that began at 6:30AM outside of Bucharest and ended in the dark around 9:30 PM in Valea Screzii followed by dinner for almost 200 adults and children — and another long, late night of dish-washing. The runners raised over $14,000 US. Twenty-four of the runners joined us in Casa Tyrol to spend the night and rest their very weary legs. Lots of Ibuprofen for breakfast on Sunday morning!
More volunteers arrived later that day and gave archery lessons to the older children until a sudden downpour destroyed the targets. In the midst of all of that, a grocery store called to inquire if we wanted some fresh fruit. Fifty cases of apples and fifty cases of oranges plus several cases of bananas appeared shortly thereafter. All of the foodstuffs had to be unloaded, sorted, and then delivered to the outlying homes in Valea Plopului and Valenii de Munte. Sunday was also Jam Day when the remains of Saturday’s 10 cases of fresh strawberries got made into jam by the industrious house mothers.
Never a dull moment!!
In between all of these events Frank and I were able to have several serious discussions with Mihail and Melanie about their future plans and financial needs to work towards their goal of creating opportunities at Pro Vita to launch financially independent adults with marketable skills. We all agreed that AFPVO wanted to play a significant role in building the “economic trampoline” for the older teens and the single mothers to move beyond the safety net that Pro Vita provides today.
Our next Newsletter will detail the various aspects of the “trampoline” and introduce some of the residents and their successes.