Five years ago, the “Vis” Community Center opened its doors in Bacioi and began providing support for children in the community, including children with disabilities and children at risk of institutionalization. Today, “Vis” is an important part of the community. The community center still provides educational, psychological and socialization support for children, but it also prepares children and youth to be active citizens who care about and contribute to the community.
We first opened “Vis” through a grant from the European Commission, in partnership with local authorities in Bacioi and the Speranta Day Care Center. Since we first started providing services and supports, we have watched the children of the village grow and gain a multitude of new experiences and skills.
Perhaps the best way to celebrate the “Vis” Community Center’s fifth anniversary is to share some of our stories.
The “Vis” Community Center held a summer camp, and for one girl, it was her first experience at a summer camp. After participating in all of the activities, she shared her thoughts on her first summer camp.
“I had an unforgettable vacation. I’ve made many friends, having the opportunity to participate in many contests. I’ve realized that I can do much more than I thought I could….I [even] had the opportunity to swim in a real pool for the first time. I was so happy I felt like I was flying.”
The Youth Club at Vis began a Public Achievement program so youth could learn what it means to be a responsible, active citizen. They explored some of the issues of the community, including littering, substance abuse and support for the elderly. By working together, the group decided to visit the elderly in their homes and learn the best ways to help them, including bringing them food. Since the beginning of the program, these young adults have grown into responsible citizens who take an active interest in their community. This year, the Public Achievement program installed a free WiFi zone in the school yard, as well as several benches. Liza said:
“I learned things that I certainly didn’t know. Together with my colleagues from Center Vis, I discovered the problems of our community. I personally found out about the community’s problems. Every one of us proposed different opinions, which helped us discover a problem which every one of us can resolve.”
The Public Achievement program has extended farther than the “Vis” Community Center. Keystone Moldova has trained local coaches from 11 other communities that have started implementing the program so that many more teenagers gain the theoretical and practical skills to find solutions to challenges within their communities.
Thank you to everyone who made the “Vis” Community Center possible! We are looking forward to what the next five years will bring.