Everyone prepares for going back to school, from students, to teachers, to school administrators and staff; but who prepares the schools? This year, FLEX Alumni Romania did!
Before the beginning of the new school year, City Representative Teodora Diamandescu ’18 (Constanta, Romania/ Dripping Springs, TX) and University Representative George Lapadat ’18 (Milcoveni, Romania/Prior Lake, MN) made it their mission to prepare two schools in their communities to make them more welcoming for the students and staff. Thus came to life the “Change a School for the Better” project.
George ’18 took the initiative to give a helping hand to a primary school from his community in Milcoveni. For him, it wasn’t only important that the pupils have great classrooms to study in, but that they have a great place where they can play during their breaks. George repaintied the playground’s slides and swing sets and mowed the grass.
When he was done with all the work, the playground was more inviting and the bright colors of the slide and the swings made it a brighter place to play! George shared about the project: “The need of my community to have a place for the children to play made me get involved in this project. It felt amazing to realize that I was doing this for the kids of my village and that they can finally have a nice playground to spend their time at. All the smiles and hugs I got after finishing the work were enough for me to know that this little thing I’ve done made everyone so happy and thankful!”
Teodora ’18 focused on Emil Racovita High School in Techirghiol. She and the Principal of the school worked with fellow FLEX alumni Raluca Dobre ’18 (Mangalia, Romania/ Tolland, CT) and Karla Manea ’18 (Bucharest, Romania/ Olympia, WA) to paint and freshen up classrooms. Teodora describes her experience organizing her first project: “While we were working on painting the classrooms, hard as it was, all I could think about was the fact that the children learning in that classroom are going to find it in a better shape compared to the way they had left it. That made my heart happy. I am proud of the way it turned out and the way we became united through volunteering. Because we all love to share love and kindness as FLEX taught us to do.”
One of the alumni volunteers of the project, Karla ’18, also recalls the day fondly: “Although our contribution was small, at the end of the day there was a metamorphosis in the classroom: suddenly there was this cheerful air of new beginnings. We had no experience in painting, but we offered our best effort and many, many smiles, because FLEXers understand the importance of small acts of kindness.”
This is what the “Change a School for the Better” Project was all about- alumni coming together to do small acts of kindness for their community and share the importance of active citizenship and volunteering.
Seeing the positive impact of their actions, FLEX Alumni Romania are now motivated and inspired to continue such projects in the future and spark the change the wish to see in their communities!
Written by Dorotheea Arustei ’17