August 2018Dear AFPVO Supporters,As this summer is drawing to an all-too-rapid end, we have a lot of good news to share with you.Fr. Sean Cavanaugh recently returned from a trip to Pro Vita where he spent a week discussing the present and future plans with Mihail and Melanie as well as re-acquainting himself with the adults and children he knew from previous trips. Fr. Sean commented that “Melanie & Mihail continue to do extraordinary work, helping those who have no one else to turn to. I believe that AFPVO’s financial support is now more important than ever as Pro Vita takes on multiple new challenges to move more beneficiaries to self-sufficiency.” AFPVO continues to be the largest non-Romanian financial supporter of Pro Vita. At Fr. Sean’s recommendation, AFPVO has authorized the expenditure of some existing funds to bring higher speed internet to the Social Center facility to support student research and homework assignments.
Overall, things are extremely busy in Valenii de Munte with the “Economic Trampoline” construction and in Valea Screzii as the supported population in both locations continues to evolve. The recent demographics reveal that Pro Vita is housing about 450 beneficiaries — 219 children under 18, 34 elderly residents, other adults and mothers (pregnant young women, abused women and their children, intellectually challenged women, etc.), and 104 adults and children who are being supported with housing and other aid to prevent parental abandonment.
To give you an idea of the complexity of Pro Vita’s support and daily operations, the beneficiaries are living in 16 houses in Valea Screzii, in 4 houses in Nucsoara and Ogretin (other villages between Valenii de Munte and Valea Screzii), in 4 houses, the Teen home (Social Center) and 3 apartments in Valenii de Munte, in 8 houses in Valea Plopului (village adjacent to Valea Screzii), and 1 apartment in Bucharest. Overall, it’s a lot of people and places to secure, maintain, and ensure the best of care for the beneficiaries.
Mihail believes that the bureaucratic logjam of local politics has finally broken in Valenii de Munte. Pro Vita has received permission to proceed with the demolition of the old wooden buildings on the site of the 1910 police station and the construction of our long-awaited social enterprise factories. The only caveat is that the town is requiring that the police station itself be rehabbed first although Pro Vita’s original plan was to demolish it. The AFPVO Board has authorized the application of some of the existing funds to be used to create a business information hub and support center in compliance with the town government’s requirements.
A recent UK graduate, Amber, has joined the Pro Vita staff as an intern and is an enormous help, especially to Melanie, taking on many of the communication and social media activities.
Georgiana, a recent high school graduate, just finished her first year at the University of Bucharest, majoring in Social Work. She is spending the summer break working for Zara Home. All quite an accomplishment for a young woman with no family to support and encourage her. Another Pro Vita success story! Pro Vita provides financial support for Georgiana’s university living expenses.
The new Romanian Board President is also working hard to relieve Mihail and Melanie of some of the operational tasking now that Fr. Tanase has retired.
Mihail and Melanie have hired a social worker to support the children living in the Social Center and are actively seeking to hire a full-time psychologist.
The sewing enterprise has morphed into a training enterprise for more of the mothers, giving them a skill that will eventually allow them to be self-supporting. Two of the women who started in the sewing enterprise have moved to full-time jobs in other similar businesses – a success story that is even more surprising in that both are Roma Gypsies, still a marginalized community in Romania.
Mihail has started a new enterprise, a plant nursery, to provide both a therapeutic activity for the children living in Valenii as well as provide income to Pro Vita.
The activities associated with the 41 enterprise projects funded by the 300,000 Euro grant from the EU are underway, in the training phase.
The local electric company has finally run the high capacity line to the Social Center, surge protectors have been installed there and in Valea Screzii, and the computers and laundry machines have been replaced and are finally operational.
Finally, a Dutch friend of Donna and Frank has organized a small construction team of 6-8 guys who will be traveling from Amsterdam to Pro Vita in September to work on one of the partially-built houses in Valea Screzii for a week. Each of the team members is taking a week of vacation and paying his own way to Romania. What a wonderful gift of time and skill to Pro Vita. We wish them good weather and much success in this adventure. To help them achieve their goals, AFPVO has offered to pay for the purchase of some needed tools. The tools will be purchased in the Netherlands (better quality), transported to Pro Vita, and will remain there after the Dutch Guys depart.
The AFPVO Board believes that our contributors will agree with our recent decisions on expenditures. We believe that they are all in line with our charter and will greatly improve Pro Vita’s ability to support its current and future beneficiaries. We welcome your questions and concerns. Please email us at [email protected].
We will need to raise additional funds as the Economic Trampoline construction moves into higher gear. Your donations are always welcome. 100% of the money received in checks made out to AFPVO goes to Pro Vita; PayPal and GoFundMe both take a 3-10% processing fee. As a reminder, you can mail your checks to AFPVO,10005 Donal Lane, Vienna VA 22181.
Donna, Frank, and Fr. Sean