This year, 19 students joined the Romanian Children's Relief (RCR) service trip to work with abandoned children, children and young adults with special needs, and Roma children in after-school programs. Many of the students were returning for their second or third time, and three of the students had first-time siblings come along!
TASIS has been working with RCR for the past twenty years. This was Ms. Gediman's 17th year on the trip, and she also serves on the advisory board of the charity. The RCR staff loves working with students and some of our past students continue as adults to volunteer in the programs.
Students divided into groups each day to visit a variety of programs, including a special needs school, the placement center, the hospital, and after-school Roma programs. The students worked with babies, toddlers, and older children with special needs. It was so heart-warming to observe our students going straight in with open arms. The love that our students showered on the children was so strong, you could almost see it flowing in the air. There were no holdbacks; no matter how severe a disability was, our students saw each child as a person of worth and dignity. The children they worked with glowed with these interactions.
The varied evening activities included a welcome dinner at a traditional Romanian restaurant; a visit to a Romanian family who successfully adopted a baby who is now 17 years old; a potluck dinner made by the staff of RCR; viewing the film Hand Held, which tells the story of RCR and the fall of communism in Romania; a banquet dinner to celebrate our week; and a special dinner with a group of Roma children on our last night. They also managed to fit in a bit of bowling just for fun!
Ms. Gediman said, "I cannot thank our incredible students enough for being such great ambassadors for our School in giving their time and love to others. I also want to thank the fantastic teachers: Mrs. Gordon, Mrs. Portchmouth, and Mr. Triantafyllidis."
You can see more photos taken during the week in our Flickr album.