Patricia Robu is one of the Pinocchio Centre’s most active volunteers. She is 17 years old and is a student at the “Ioan Slavici” High School in Panciu. In the framework of the project “vulnerAbilities: from challenges to opportunities” she was directly involved in educational activities under the coordination of the centre’s educator, Oana Soare.
- Tell me about your activity at the centre: what exactly do you do?
There are two types of activities I carry out at the centre: the summer and the year-round activities.
Now I get involved in the activities at the centre every day, 2 hours a day. When I arrive at the centre I help the children with their homework, I aim to improve their educational skills. Besides this activity, we do all kinds of other activities: socializing, games, evening parties, skits. We have different thematic activities like the one about Eminescu. We give the children worksheets, we display their work so that they feel appreciated and proud of themselves.
During this period we put more emphasis on school work, this is the most important now.
In the summer they come to the centre every day from 12 noon to 4pm. During this period we do more activities: creative games, ecological games, we try to develop them constantly.
- Tell me about an activity dear to you.
The Bingo activity is one of my and the children’s favourites. We give the children a math worksheet with several exercises and when they finish solving them, we tell them the results, they tick the correct ones and depending on how many points they collect they get different gifts from us. That’s how we get them involved and to like maths.
- How long have you been coming to the Pinocchio Centre and what motivated you to start volunteering?
I’ve been coming to the centre for 9 months, I started last school year. Initially I was coming with donation activities with school but I wanted to get more involved. I really liked it here, it felt like a family. I was like them too… when I was little I needed help and I didn’t always have anywhere to get it from. That’s why I thought I should start volunteering here, so I could help the little ones when they needed it.
- How do you feel at the centre? What is it like working with children?
I feel good, I settled in quickly. The children know they can rely on me and ask for my help. We get along very well.
- What have you learned from the children so far?
Most of all I have noticed their purity and sincerity. They say what they feel and think, they are simple, they have a pure soul. They make me discover my inner child and want to grow with them.
- What challenges have you faced so far in working with children and how have you dealt with them?
No matter what challenges I’ve faced, I’ve done well. When I come to the centre it’s an exercise for me to keep calm and act composed; we have a system of rewarding them with red and green cards. We give them green cards when they are good and vice versa, when they are not good they get red and orange cards. The cards are put on a board next to each child and at the end of the week we discuss their behaviour. Another method we use is to give them snacks when they do good things.
- How does your volunteer experience help you? What changes have you seen in yourself?
I developed my communication skills, it made me judge better what is going on around me. The children are very energetic, I had forgotten a lot of things and with their help I was reminded to live honestly, with a clean soul.
The project is implemented by Lumea lui Pinocchio Association and benefits from a 50.000 euros grant from Active Citizens Fund Romania, programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants Grants 2014 -2021. The content of this material does not necessarily reflect the official position of the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021; for more information visit www.eeagrants.org. More details about Active Citizens Fund Romania are available at www.activecitizensfund.ro.”