Day Center Ministry Activities
Incorporated in the US in 1998 as a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization, and in Romania in 2003 as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in order to operate as a ministry and clinic, hire employees, and to own property. In an effort to present God’s love in needed and practical ways, we provide safe socialization and day care, expose members to basic education, attended physical therapy treatments, family counseling, and medical services and medications that extend to family members as well.
RHM-Ro purchased a one-room property on the ground floor of a boxy, high-rise apartment building. It was in need of rehab, but held promise. Given some time and a lot of sweat equity, the place became a modest, but cheery three-room Clinic/Day Center. The larger space serves as an activity room that accommodates ten to twelve people comfortably (and twice that when everyone squeezes in together).
Dr. Gabi Ghereben’s examining room/office houses therapy machines when they are not in use. Administrator, Silviu Ghereben, occupies the other small office. Social Worker Liviu Marin floats among the desks and computers to work. Every square inch serves double duty making it obvious that a larger space is sorely needed. They maintain the most sparkling clean, shiniest, freshest restroom in all of Constanta, notwithstanding!
The current RHM-RO Foundation’s Madison Day Center is a modest, renovated facility where Foundation members and their families receive medical attention, medications, personal and family counseling at no cost.
Positive social interaction, simple academics, physical therapy, and safe day care has produced encouraging, and measurable improvement in each member.
On an average day, time blocks from 9 AM until 2 PM would include structured and unstructured activities.
· “Categories for Functional Literacy,” an outstanding English-Romanian program created in 2003-2004, especially for RHM by Amanda Conrad of Cincinnati, OH, provides an interactive method for learning language.
· Language Arts – practice with writing names, ages, letters, or strokes in a personal copybook, fun with simple crossword puzzles, mazes, drawing, coloring, etc. Verbalizing simple English words.
· Math – with particular emphasis given to counting money, objects, number recognition, telling time, games with numbers, etc.
· Social skill building has produced close bonding among members as well as families.
· Individualized physical therapy programs utilize four large-muscle physical therapy machines: A stepper, a stationary bike, a vibrator/belt massage, and a treadmill. For small- muscle therapy there are hand grips, balls to squeeze, bands to stretch, small weights, pencils, markers, crayons, blunt tipped scissors and massage, All have learned the sequence of their individual therapy programs and keep a watch for their turn.
· Computers– recognizing and typing letters from the printed page, fascination with moving screensavers and screen displays when striking the keyboard.
· Music – CDs play during writing, calisthenics, rest breaks, singing, and dancing.
· Bible concepts – projector presentations, DVDs, stories with related activities (e.g., building a Tower of Babel, puppets shows, etc.).
· Health/Hygiene – Dr. Gabi’s teaching healthy eating has helped the very overweight members to reduce significant amounts of weight; personal and bathroom cleanliness; proper use of water container and cups.
· Social/Art & Crafts – Friday reserved for socializing - birthday celebrations, art projects, crafts, and team games that always result in cheers and high-fives all around - no matter who wins.
· Transportation provided for those whose parents are unable to transport their children.
· Staff, parents, and psychologist meet to discuss individual. Interventions for improving emotional and intellectual growth.
· Families gather with Pastor Marian for Bible study and discussing spiritual matters.
· Planning for Gideon International Camp.
· Family counseling as situations require.
· Meetings with officials from the Department of Child Protection to discuss ways of improving conditions for children.
Each June, an American travel team goes tp Constanta to help conduct a Day Camp for Foundation members and their families.
Each December, a smaller American team goes and helps to conduct a Christmas party for Foundation members and their families. During these days, the business meetings of the RHM-Ro Board occur.
The Cornel Foundation
A group of physicians from London, have established in Constanta the Cornel Foundation, which makes prostheses and or theses for victims of amputations. Three to five times per year, two to three London doctors visit us to assess the needs represented among our members. Four of the RHM-Ro members have received specially created boots and support garments by Dr. Ken McCrea, organization leader and creator of the appliances.
Day Center Visitation Report, 2007
Following the day camp of 2007, two Americans remained for an additional period in Constanta to experience and observe members in normal Day Center function. Their behavior resembled that of well-behaved little children who loved being together, and who freely and frequently would show their love for each other with hugs and laughter.
Morning activities begin after all members arrive, even if one is a bit tardy, but the time is filled easily filled with chatter and laughter. It was easy to see that the Day Center was definitely their “Happy Place!”
The staff’s impressive professionalism is enhanced by maintaining a joyful, happy atmosphere and demonstrating sincere love for each member. Dr. Gabi, a calm, industrious, happy-spirited physician, and Liviu, a bright, witty, creative social worker are admirable multi-taskers: They fill the roles of teachers, diligent record keepers, custodians, medical attendants, and counselors – anything that is not chauffeuring 50 city miles a day or administrative in nature. That, as well as maintenance man and general problem solver falls under Silviu’s responsibilities.
Parents who can are responsible for getting their children to the Center in the mornings. Some help with tasks as needed, and in time, some will become Foundation Advisory Board members, van driver.
Acceptance into the Program
When new people seek to join the Foundation, a 3-4 week adjustment period is provided to see if there is an appropriate fit. Two persons have needed to be refused due to aggressive behavior.
Until I visited it, I could not have imagined how small a space the Day Center has when all are present. (I dubbed it Squeeze City.)
A Foundation with a staff the size of ours may legally maintain a membership of 25. At number 26, the staff not only must be increased, but doubled. With the current space allowing for only ten students at one time comfortably, no place to work individually with any of the diverse needs, nor room for storage, this is a ludicrous thought.
Another major need is a developed curriculum. Very little directive guidance information exists, and teachers of disabled persons anywhere, are “on their own” to develop practical applications.
3. A Romanian academic teacher
Dr. Gabi and Liviu fill 5 individual roles, thus are severely overloaded. Please pray God to send us a pedagogically trained person to be a teacher. The law requires that a certified teacher be a Romanian citizen, therefore Americans do not qualify except as volunteers.