The Community Support Foundation has so far set up four “Clubul cu Lipici” day care centers of, out of the desire to provide children with a suitable environment for the development of social and educational skills.
Children are supported in doing homework, participating in non-formal education clubs and discussion groups, sports activities and they benefit from individual and group counseling for a healthy life and for integration and reintegration into the family and society. For children of grades V to VIII who need support for the national assessment and for further education in high school, the centers offer additional tutoring. Non-formal education clubs are: for reading – "Friends of the book", where children read or listen to stories; for playing theater – "Little actors", where "drama therapy" sessions are organized, designed to stimulate the imagination and the expressive gestures of children; for painting – "Color and joy", where children draw, paint and make collages; for music; dance and computer science.
The working method is based on the use of combined arts, to practically support the concepts acquired. Children are encouraged to test, recycle and use materials from their surroundings. Creativity and life skills are intensely engaged in the daily activities of the center. Together with volunteers, children create decoration objects which are then sold, and the funds obtained are used for the social projects of the organization.
A recurrent yearly topic is environmental protection and children are involved in greening actions. During the holidays, one-week summer schools are organized, during which 10 high school volunteers from Bacau become, under the guidance of the staff, organizers and facilitators of educational activities for the beneficiaries of the centers, but also for other children in the community. Depending on their preferences, children enroll in music clubs, theater, handicrafts and participate in film screenings and campfires. At the same time, excursions, visits to the museum, theater and other special events in the community are organized.
Beneficiaries of the "Clubul cu Lipici" centers who want to go to high school in Bacau can receive support during their studies by participating in the complementary scholarship program that the Community Support Foundation runs.
The scholarships consist of a material support of 200-250 lei, which partially covers accommodation and meals, along with personal development activities and volunteering experiences. In this way, the Community Support Foundation ensures that students are exposed to a wide range of information, development and socialization activities with other high school students. Topics covered include: job search and job interview, drug use risks, human trafficking, and health education.
For parents, the activities offered by the centers aim at developing harmonious family relationships through the "Parents' School", social counseling, psychological counseling and parental education. Joint activities for children and parents are also organized.
The activity of the center was completely suspended at the beginning of the pandemic, but from June the program was gradually resumed. A social worker and a psychologist kept in touch with the most disadvantaged families and food packages and supplies were provided.
From June, the activity within the centers was resumed, with fewer beneficiaries – 10 children/group instead of 20 children/group. Because with the closure of schools, school transportation was also suspended, so many of the children could no longer participate in club activities. To help children connect to online school from their home, the center staff provided assistance to families owning smart mobile phones and to those who received tablets from local authorities.
− Approximately 140 children attend daily the four day care centers.
− About 50 children were supported annually with scholarships to go to high school.
− 50 parents are involved in activities aimed at developing parental skills and family relationships.
"We always set out in partnership. When we started out, we gave everything, the local community appreciated the effort less than when they were also involved them from the beginning – the parents came and painted the walls with us, they came to make pancakes with us for their children. The mayoralty’s social worker has been involved in the activities we provide. Finally, when you involve the beneficiary from the beginning, the results and benefits are long-term.” (Representative of the Community Support Foundation).
The intervention has to be on the long term. The results are seen after the child attends a form of higher education or enters the labor market, at 18 years old.
Caritas Organization Association of the Diocese of Satu Mare
Peoples Development Foundation Cluj Branch (FDP Cluj)