Showing news archive from: 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
Christmas Candles
As part of Christmas celebrations at the Ruth School, the after-school children had the unique opportunity to learn about another non-profit organization in Bucharest. Ateliere Protejate is a protected day workshop for adults with disabilities. One of the ways Ateliere Protejate inspires creativity in others is to make white candles and include pieces of wax for the children to make their own candles. Before the after-school children created their candles, they were able to learn about the people at Ateliere Protejate and have a discussion about candles. One of the questions posed to the children was: how can they be a light? Some of the responses included teaching their siblings how to behave, to help others, to listen to their parents, and to respect others. Children were also encouraged that candles light up the darkness around them and to remember this when they see their candle.

Uniting History
History has a way of uniting people no matter their age or mentality in something that has significantly impacted each of our lives. For the Ruth School children certain historical events ring a bell such as the start of Project Ruth in 1992, the accreditation of the school for grades 1-8 in 2009. Yet, December 1st represents something significant for them not just as Ruth School students but inhabitants of Romania: the unification of Romania as the country it is geographically today in 1918. The Ruth School along with all other schools in Romania will have December 1st off to celebrate this significant event as the Romanian National Day. In order to convey the importance of this date to all Ruth School students, the history teacher organized a school-wide assembly. Several older students recited poems regarding this event that they had been learning over the past few weeks. The history teacher also explained the specifics of the unification of Romania as it stands today using a multimedia presentation to engage students ranging from kindergarten to 8th grade.
Visit from Burlington Baptist Youth
Countless football games, dozens of crafts and hours of after-school Bible clubs at the Ruth School was how eight British teenagers and their five adult leaders chose to spend their fall break at the Ruth School. This group of young people came from Burlington Baptist Church in Ipswich, England as they had previously in 2011. Two of the adult leaders on the team were in fact youth for the 2011 trip. These young people organized various classroom activities for each grade level over the course of four days to include puppet & mask making, English bingo, parachute games and numerous other team building and fun activities for the energetic pupils of the Ruth School. Each afternoon the young people lead a two-hour Bible club with the 40+ students enrolled in the afterschool program. This programming included theatrical renditions of Bible stories, interactive worship time and fantastic crafts.
Running for the Harvest!
The road to a better life for Roma children is often long, tiring and full of detours and obstacles. On October 4th 2015, four Project Ruth advocates will participate in the Bucharest International Marathon to help pave this road for Roma children in the Ruth School. Their run of 10.5km each as part of a relay will help to raise awareness of Project Ruth and the distinct need of education for the Roma community. The relay team consists of Mihai Ciopasiu, Executive Director of Project Ruth, Adrian Sarbu, Senior Lecturer at the University of Bucharest , and David Bunaciu & Dani Stanculescu as volunteers of Project Ruth. You can join us in this marathon and road towards to better life for Roma children through education and social programs by sponsoring our run for harvest!. 

All proceeds from this event will be used to purchase fresh fruits for Ruth School students as part of healthy lifestyle program.

$1 contributed will provide six children with fresh fruit for one day.

$42 will provide one day fresh fruit for all 240 children in the Ruth School ($1 per kilometer of the marathon).
 
Back to School
Ruth School students had a summer to remember with sleep away camp, multiple weeks of fantastic summer club and countless hours using the recreational spaces at Project Ruth. Yet early September 14th, all those lazy mornings and endless soccer games came to an end as the 2015-2016 academic school year at the Ruth School began. Students came dressed in their best first day of school clothes with flowers for the teacher in one hand and new students clinging desperately to their parents. Headmistress Virginia Lela-Holban welcomed back returning students and gave a special word of encouragement to the first year students. New staff members were introduced including the Special Education program director who will be further implementing special education services this school year. After opening remarks, the students anxiously raced to their classrooms, which are all bright new colors thanks to volunteer teams efforts during July and August. The students were thrilled to have new chairs in their classrooms and even new desks in some of the classrooms Project Ruth was blessed with the means over the summer to insure that all classrooms had proper, sturdy furniture for all the young minds that will be learning there this year. Each student also received a back to school supply packet complete with all the notebooks, they need for the first semester with the promise that the teachers have plenty more once those are full of learning.
Quilting: New Skill
Binding, batting, feed dogs, half-square triangle... the vocabulary of quilting sounded strange to the ladies of the Naomi Center. A team of master quilters from CBF Heartland had arrived to teach a week long workshop of quilting fundamentals. Children ran in and out of the room as the air conditioner struggled to perform in the 97 degree heat. This did not deter the Naomi ladies who proved to be quick learners and eagerly embraced measuring, cutting, and piecing together the materials for a quilted table runner. They learned how to put colors and prints together to coordinate a pieced top. The week was more than quilting it was a sharing of community as the day began with a devotion, moved to learning the basics of quilting, and sharing lunch together. Also daily an American woman shared her faith journey through a talk show interview entitled "The Naomi Show" with the theme, "We Are Women, God Loves Us!" Each Naomi woman was celebrated as their vibrant colored table runners were finished and a new project was started. Some of the master seamstresses took the basic quilting skills and quickly adapted them to expand their projects into small blankets with fancy stitching. It has helped the Naomi women to expand their skill levels to aid in their abilities to support their families. It was jokingly said, "The Naomi Center can become the go-to place for quilted products in Romania." While that can be a goal for the future, the present day goal of helping women to know God loves them for who they are was certainly fulfilled. Now, who needs a quilted table runner? We have some beautiful ones!
After-School Encourages Financial Stability in Families
The after-school program is one of these programs designed help combat the unemployment rate of parents especially mothers. Students from kindergarten to fourth grade are brought into this program if their parents provide documentation that they are working and are in need of childcare until 4pm. It is our vision that mothers of elementary age children would be able to work because their children would be at school from 8am-4pm now which could be considered a typical work day. More than a dozen parents have submitted the documentation for their child to be enrolled in after-school because they are employed. One particular student asked if he could stay for after-school but neither one of his parents was working. This young man holds his own academically but nonetheless Project Ruth staff reached out to his parents to see if they would be interested in enrolling him in childcare so they could work. It turns out that this student was living full time with his grandmother because his parents wanted nothing to do with him. After his grandmother heard that she, as a guardian, could still from the benefit of this after-school program for her grandson, she was thrilled. Within a matter of weeks, the grandmother was employed and better able to provide for her grandson that she is raising as her own. The after-school program did in fact help to provide a solution to the not so cookie cutter problem of a broken family with financial burdens in unexpected ways.
Sleep Away Camp
June 22nd to June 27th were exciting days for some of the 40 Project Ruth students who were able to participate in an overnight camp in the Transylvanian mountains of Romania. With bags packed and mothers giving their final hugs to their children, the bus was loaded and we set off. After a four hours, several stops, and a few carsick children the mountains were in sight! For many this was their first time so far from home, and an exhilarating break from the poverty in Ferentari. First order of the afternoon was a tour of Bran castle former fortress to Vlad the Impaler. The excitement in children’s eyes was contagious as we explored the inner lair of “Dracula.” After that excitement, we headed to beautiful Casa Elim, our accommodations for the week. With the help of a team sponsored by the Goshen Baptist Association of Virginia, the children spent five days packed with bible school and recreation activities. The students were invigorated with the fresh mountain air and were taken aback by the volleyball, basketball, and football fields. Also, having three great meals a day prepared by the kitchen staff further added to the excitement. The time spent in the mountains was a first for many students and was a luxury they were unaccustomed to. Having their own bed, a shower, and a quiet nights rest stands in stark contrast to many of the homes back in Bucharest. The children received a much-deserved experience to learn about Jesus and spend time in fellowship in a comfortable atmosphere. These students became immersed in a great experience made possible by many generous sponsors, and it is certain they will hold dear the time they had.
School is out for SUMMER!
Our final day of school arrived once again on a gorgeous June morning. Students gathered on the Ruth School soccer field to give flowers to their beloved teachers and, in many cases, receive awards for academic excellence, exemplary behavior and many others while saying see you in the fall to their classmates and teachers. Parents beaming with pride filled the soccer field to applaud their children and colleagues as they once again made another stride towards a brighter future. For a few of the teachers, this was their first of their end of the year celebration. The third grade teacher who commutes six hours to teacher her precious students. Our IT volunteer celebrated the strides of the older students in the realm of PowerPoint by awarding trophies for the best presentations. Special Education students were also celebrated for their advancements in mathematics and Romanian language class. It was a great day of celebrating the end of a great year and the coming of summer!


Farewell to Class of 2015!
The hallways of the Ruth School will soon be empty as the end of the school year draws near. On Wednesday, the Ruth School said good-bye to the 8th grade class of 2015 during a celebration in chapel in which the students wore caps & gowns. Their teacher who had been their homeroom teacher for the past four years addressed them by reminiscing over the past four years and offered words of encouragement for their future. These fourteen students will be moving onto high schools, vocational training schools and their futures beyond schooling. Regardless of where they go, our students will not forget where they came from: the Ruth School. During a ceremony in their honor, one student represented his class by thanking each teacher and department of staff for their hard work, dedication and care for them over the past eight years.
Social Study
This past Thursday Project Ruth launched a published study of the programs of the Foundation from the point of view of various stakeholders. This qualitative research study was conducted in August of 2014 in conjunction with the School of Sociology and Social Work at the University of Bucharest. The results and interview excerpts were included in a full 184-page report in the Romanian language and the Executive Summary of the report has been translated into English for publication.

For the launching of this study, various partners of Project Ruth along with many other non-profits working in the Ferentari and similar neighborhoods were invited to take part in the conversation of reflecting on what has been done in through these programs and what the next steps could be. The publication of this study is an important step as Project Ruth aims to document its’ successes, its’ failures and its’ future goals after more than 22 years of experiences to help other organizations who are seeking to be a catalyst for change in their communities.

Click here to read the Executive Summary in English. 

If you would like a full Romanian copy or a publsihed English Executive Summary please contact Mihai at mihai.ciopasiu@project-ruth.org. 

Beyond Words
Sorin can no longer speak because of his throat cancer. In the mornings he goes to chemotherapy, and then he comes to GSS class. As he faces the very real possibility of an eminent death, Sorin continues praying, continues studying, and continues serving his local Roma church. Sorin is GSS’s first student in its 15 year history to never miss a session and complete the program in just two years. At the GSS graduation service, Sorin shared his testimony of how Jesus saved him from a life of alcoholism and even today, his cancer has taken his voice but not his life. Today he is a leader in his family, his church, and serves as an inspiration to us all to never lose hope, and never stop bettering ourselves through education.

Encouraging Employment
If you were to visit the Ruth School and sit to have a chat with several of the students, it would take about only five minutes to realize that the poverty and hardships faced by Ruth School families are not cookie cutter problems therefore there is no easy solution. Project Ruth tries daily to counteract many of the barriers to success for these children through food programs, hygiene initiatives, education, job training for mothers and various others.

The after-school program is one of these programs designed help combat the unemployment rate of parents especially mothers. Students from kindergarten to fourth grade are brought into this program if their parents provide documentation that they are working or therefore are in need of childcare until 4pm. It was our vision that mothers of elementary age children would be able to work because their children would be at school from 8am-4pm now which could be considered a typical work day. More than a dozen parents have submitted the documentation for their child to be enrolled in afterschool because they are employed!

One particular student asked if he could stay for afterschool but neither one of his parents was working. This young man holds his own academically but nonetheless Project Ruth staff reached out to his parents to see if they would be interested in enrolling him in childcare so they could work. It turns out that this student was living full time with his grandmother because his parents wanted nothing to do with him. After his grandmother heard that she, as a guardian, could still take benefit of this afterschool program for her grandson, she was thrilled. Within a matter of weeks, the grandmother was employed and better able to provide for her grandson that she is raising as her own. The afterschool program did in fact help to provide a solution to the not so cookie cutter problem of a broken family with financial burdens in unexpected ways.
Older Students Giving Back
For as far back as they can remember, the majority of our middle school students have been coming to the Ruth School day in and day out being taught and absorbing this education like a sponge. On March 18th, several older students sought to share a little bit of what they have been receiving all these years with others. Transitional Care students visited the youngest pupils of Project Ruth at the Obed Day Center for an hour of shared learning with them. These middle school students lowered themselves into the tiny little chairs to sit alongside the sixteen preschoolers for puzzle time. After each group with a little help from the “big kid” in their group successfully completed their puzzles, there was a read aloud time for the class. The preschoolers were excited to see “big kids” that could read and that enjoyed spending time with them. The “big kids” were thrilled to spend time and help the little ones and are already trying to plan an activity during the week of Alternative School in April. It was a great morning of excitement for literacy and critical thinking skills!
Motivated & Talented
Despite having three young children at home, Lila somehow found the time to come to the Naomi Center for a sewing session with a friend in October. After coming for the first time, she was hooked. Lila has a strong sense of style and desire to sew and create. During the Christmas rush, she happily helped other ladies at the Naomi Center to cut their fabrics since she was just a beginner and wasn’t proficient enough to produce high quality products for the holiday season. During this rush, she treasured each moment of instruction she got from the sewing instructor and practiced for hours. In February, Lila will attend a seamstress certification course in Bucharest because her skills progressed so quickly and her commitment is so high that the Naomi sewing instructor recommended her for this course because she sees in Lila the potential to become a professional seamstress.
Expanding the Reach of Technology
The Ruth School technology room became fully functional this year with 12 desktop computer and 8 iPads. Ruth School students get to take full advantage of this facility on a weekly basis through classroom computer instruction by our newest volunteer, Andy Arthur-Worsop. Younger students in the elementary after-school program are also encouraged in their learning through the use of technology on a twice weekly basis. In addition to the Ruth School students, the technology room is open one afternoon per week to women who take part in the Naomi Center programs to use for job searches, CV writing and other activities. One afternoon a timid young lady came in hopes of learning a little about Microsoft Excel. Her beginner college course requires that Excel be used to complete the accounting problems. Young Daniela was thrilled when she discovered that Andrew is certified in Microsoft Office programs. She is now spending several hours a week learning all the formulas and tricks of the trade in Excel in the technology room at the Ruth School.
Project RUTH Presentation