Grandchildren at JFL! – Georgi Opreanu
This month I’ve asked Rebeca, our social worker at JFL 1 & 2 to give a report on a programme that she started: ‘Volunteers for our Grannies”
“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
What Martin Luther King said, is a lesson that 32 youth from Salonta have understood. They came with a soul generated by love, with the desire to serve. When I first thought about encouraging students to come as volunteers to JFL, to spend at least one hour a week with the elderly, I was sure that this will be a great activity for the residents and in the same time a good opportunity for the younger generation to learn from the older one.
I have to be honest, I hoped that students would come, but I had my fears. I thought that maybe teenagers would think that being around elderly people is not too much fun. They have a lot of options to spend their time on these days. I thought that maybe this challenge would not be attractive to them, but I decided to try.
What surprised me was that God brought us devoted volunteers who just waited for an opportunity to serve. Students from high school who saw this challenge on the internet, responded quickly even if they didn’t know anyone in our centre. They just wanted to get involved.
After the first girl called, saying that she wanted to apply, more calls came. One of the students that came, is a member of the school council and she said she waited for an opportunity like this to volunteer in her town. She enjoyed to spend time with the residents and she started to promote this programme between the students in school. More and more students came, and from January until now, 32 youth entered our doors and 28 of them engaged to come every week at least 1 hour for months and some even for a year, through a volunteer contract.
Also, youth from the local church came to volunteer and on every Monday we started a new fellowship programme between youth and elderly. Now JFL is full of grandchildren; everyday students come and go through our doors and they build a strong friendship with the residents, calling them ‘grandparents’! The students visit them in their rooms, listen to their stories, play society games, help the elderly to go out for shopping, to the park in the centre etc. Some of the volunteers came even on Easter day and to give them presents.
One interesting thing that amazed me was that the connection between generations is so strong that some of the volunteers ask for advice from the residents, about their choices they have to make in life. I can only thank God for working in this way and personally it’s a great satisfaction to see that wonderful things like this can happen in the town where I grew up. Through this programme, I see that we can improve not only the resident’s life but also the teenagers. They experience things that they don’t have the chance to see every day. And they can be the voice in the society!
Social Worker – Rebeca Mariscas
With this report we want to encourage you to continue to come, because the need is so big and we need more and more people to get involved so the last days, weeks or months of our resident’s will be more memorable.
The bible says in Luke: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go!…”
We pray that you are answering His challenge and will come to Romania to share the love of Jesus.
A big Thank you to all our volunteers from all over the world, may God fill your life with many blessings.
Deputy Director of Smiles Romania
Elderly Centre Oradea (ECO)
Doris Elderly Care Centre – Joint Facility of Love, Salonta (JFL1)
The Disability Centre – Joint Facility of Love, Salonta (JFL2)
Adult Assisted Living Facility, Tileagd
Please continue to pray for us to be able to bless the lives of the elderly that need our help.
•For financial support to deal with all the challenges that have come with the new salary increase.
•For wisdom in all the decisions we need to take everyday
•For loving and committed people to work in our nursing homes
•For the new residents to adapt in the centres;
•For God’s protection upon all of Smiles staff and beneficiaries;
•For sponsors for the social cases that we care for;
•For all Smiles staff to be a testimony of God’s love so others will get to know HIM.
Please pray for us because when you pray God hears more than what you say, answers more that we ask, gives more than we can imagine in His own time and in His own way.
Wish list – urgent need for:
•Pampers – just size M and L (Pamper pantyhose)
•Dressing, bandages (in date)