Meet some of our volunteers
It’s #volunteersweek and we would like to say a big THANK YOU to all our wonderful volunteers!
For the past 10 years newly qualified Occupational Therapists and Speech and language therapists have volunteered for the Bianca Project.
Each summer our volunteers work within a children’s centre, providing new opportunities, encouraging play, developing communication skills, supporting motor skills.. and much more! It really is a summer full of laughter and smiles!
This week get to meet our volunteers and find out their Share highlights!Learn more about the Bianca project here.
Speech and Language Therapist who has been volunteering with Share since 2017.
“My favourite memory of my time in Romania came during my most recent trip. I visited Jim’s house. We went for a walk around the village and lake. The young adults had some conversations with locals and were so proud to show me their home.
This is such a difference to the lives they were destined for without Jim’s house. They would not have had these opportunities we take for granted without Share and Love, Light, Romania.
My picture is from that day you can see how happy and carefree they are here.”
Speech and Language therapist who volunteered with Share for the first time in 2019.
“One of my favourite memories from last summer was taking the kids out to eat in restaurants. It gave the kids a chance to experience activities we all take for granted like being able to order and pay for their own food and talk to others in their community.
This picture was taken in a traditional Romanian restaurant in which after helping Bianca to cut her food she decided to return the favour and help me! I wasn’t allowed to use my knife at all that night as Bianca watched over me and looked after me!”
One of our Occupational Therapist volunteers!
“To choose just one memory from the 4 years I have been to Sibiu with the Bianca project is impossible. The impact we have each year enables so much for the children and I cannot choose one moment of progression over another.
So I’d say my favourite memory is in the times we have been able to take the children and young adults into the community. This gives the children some amazing new opportunities that they would never be able to have without Share and the amazing donations we receive.
Being able to take the children swimming, to the park and to restaurants is just the start and hopefully over the coming years we will be able to continue to offer new and exciting experiences for the children and young adults.”
One of our Speech and Language therapy volunteers.
“Nothing beats the feeling I get when I’ve landed back in Romania, spent the weekend catching up with friends, looking at all the donated toys and resources that we will take to the centre and making plans for what the next few weeks will hold for the children.
Then the first day at the centre comes around, which you’ve been waiting for ever since you said your goodbyes the year before, and you finally get to see the children again. The children recognise you, smiles emerge on their faces and they shout your name or instantly check your pockets for toys.
They know that blue T-shirt’s means lots of fun, play and laughter- perhaps a much longed-for break from their usually daily activities at the centre.”
Sweet memories from one of our Occupational Therapist volunteers, Lizzie.
“I’ve done a lot with my life, but nothing compares to my experience in Sibiu. Any moment someone is willing to hear the children’s story I’m busting to tell them, I don’t quite know when to stop.
My favourite memory remains to be S from my first year and C, I still think of them all often and wonder how they are, I think of the days spent on the swing trying to get the smallest interaction, any response and maybe even a smile.
I still remember the feeling when S laughed at me, they all showed me the beauty of communication that needs no language.”
A big thanks to Nicky, one of our Speech and Language Therapist volunteers.
“My favourite memories of volunteering in Romania are moments like these. We can’t change everything we’d like to for the children and young adults in the centre, but we make sure every day is filled with smiles and cuddles, and I think that’s a good place to start.
We are all gutted that the project is not able to run this year and I know my Summer will just not feel the same without it, but I’m sure it will make our next trip even more special.
‘If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that’ ”
One of our returning volunteers shares a special memory.
“A memory that I am particularly fond of from Romania is when we took the children to the park for their first time. Their sheer delight on all their faces was so pure and prefect.
In particular F. was on the swings and he was laughing so much it was infectious. It was my returning year and it meant so much as the children were able to access their community and independently play with the other Romanian children there.
Plus we all had ice cream which some children love… others were not so sure on the their first cold sensation of ice cream!”
Sam is an Occupational Therapist and Trustee who began volunteering with Share in 2012.
“Myself and our fab volunteers took some of the children to the park one afternoon. One of our OTs helped a boy go on every piece of play equipment you could see!.. Swings, slides, ropes.. You name it they played on it! Afterwards sitting on the grass the OT lay on the floor pretending to be asleep..
We modelled to the child “she’s tired” pointing to the symbol for tired.. The child looked at the OT still pretending to be asleep… He then himself pointed to “tired”, giggled and then pointed to “funny”.. with that he then jumped on her trying to wake her up, with the loudest laugh and biggest smile in the park!”
One of our Speech Therapists and Trustee.
“Thinking back to all of the amazing memories made in a Romania, it’s hard to chose a favourite.
From calming sessions in the sensory room to splashing in the stream, from countless hours giggling on the trampoline to providing a first taste of chocolate; all of these experiences we take for granted.
The summer project not only enables the children to receive therapy input, but provides laughter, love and countless memories. The children are always in my thoughts and I am so honoured and thankful to have made so many memories with such amazing, inspiring and beautiful children.”
One of our Speech and Language therapists.
“Last year was my first year in Sibiu with Share for the Bianca Project and I can well and truly say that I’ve never experienced anything like it!
Spending time with the children and young adults, painting, playing games with them, using the sensory room with them, and spending afternoons on the swings with them (and with C. on the trampoline) are things I really miss.
However, a very fond memory I have is when we went to Speranța on an evening after an early dinner, with some temporary tattoos for the children. They were all so excited! B. was particularly happy with hers, and this picture is a perfect reflection of that!”
Thanks to one of Speech and Language volunteers.
“Each moment spent with the children was so fulfilling. One which really was a highlight for me was when we took the older children out to watch the carnival in the city centre. The children had never experienced this before and the amazement in the eyes was one which I had never seen before.
The centre was buzzing with sounds of music, bright colours and people dressed in unusual outfits with masks in every direction. The children joined in with the dancing and singing as we walked along with the parade. One of the children was even supporting to push my wheelchair and making sure I was okay and not pushed about by the crowd.
We give out love and care to these beautiful little children and they give this back to us two-fold. These children are our future and the more we invest in them now the brighter the future they will bring for us.
A. was given a chance to play on the drums by the members in the procession. She was very shy when she was approached about it and was quite happy to sit back and watch me play. However, with a bit of persuasion from the members and me she started playing the drums. Once she started she really got into it. She played it so well that she totally out done me with her skills. This girl is really a superstar in so many ways and I have learnt a lot from her (inc basic Romanian in exchange for Hindi and English from me) she is my bestie to for life.”
Another of our wonderful Occupational Therapy volunteers!
“Last summer was my fourth year out in Sibiu with the Bianca Project and it was so amazing to see the progress that has made over the past few years, including us being able to regularly take some of the children and young adults out of the centre to the park, to go swimming and out to restaurants, supporting them with new experiences.
It’s hard to pick from so many amazing memories but one of my favourites was celebrating Bianca’s birthday. We helped throw Bianca a birthday party at the children’s centre – whilst it’s something we often take for granted it’s something a lot of the children don’t experience at all, so it was amazing to see how happy Bianca was for her birthday party! This was followed by a trip to Astra outdoor museum where the young adults were able to explore and have ice cream, something so simple but something that we had not imagined being able to do just a few years ago!”
Lovely memories from one of our Speech Therapists, Vicki. It really was a a perfect day out.
“We were able to take some of the young people to the Salt Lakes which was a great experience. When waiting for the taxis to take us back to Speranta, there was an abandoned puppy which the staff were looking after.
All of the young people were really excited to stroke the puppy (particularly O.) and tried to persuade us to let them take him home with us.”