A day at the Hercules Day Center

o zi la Centrul HerculesHercules center opens its gates at 8.30 am, with the arrival of “Voinicii”( ”The Little Giants”) – secondary school children who go to school in the afternoon. Despite the road, often long, of up to 10- 12 km, children reach the center sleepy and having had nothing to eat.

Geta greets them and makes sure that all of them had washed and have clean and dry clothes. If not, the clothes go to the washing machine, children take a shower and are borrowed clean clothes to wear at school.

If Geta’s routine doesn’t wake them up for good, Monica’s nourishing breakfast will definitely energize them.

From 9.00, for two hours, the children do their homework and receive help on specific issues and subjects should they encounter difficulties in school. Everything happens under the supervision and with Lavinia’s help, our gentle teacher who – since the founding of the Centre until today – has helped generations of children to love school and get better grades.

Depending of the children’s needs, Lavinia is helped by volunteer teachers from schools in the area and by former beneficiaries of the Center volunteers or school students in the community. We sometimes have volunteers from Bucharest – extraordinary people who seem not to be bothered by the distance (120 km round trip) and come every week to help the children.

O zi la CH variantaOnce homework completed, children have time for educational and recreational activities coordinated by our educator Marian, an inexhaustible source of ideas for fun and games. Marian also teaches children how to use the computer, and the basics in playing the guitar or the piano.

Mondays is “Debate” time, so we start the week by learning to speak in public, build a speech, find logical arguments to support our opinions, cotrol our voice. After going through this, everything else will seem so easy to children during the whole week! 😉

Tuesdays we meet again in the big hall of the Center, this time to read and talk about literature at the “Reading club”. We read together and comment on books read the previous week, we discover together what author we like, why some books resonate with us while others don’t.

Wednesday is English day – with school teachers or volunteers.

On Thursday we unveil the mysteries of the computer, learn to write a Word document, browse the net, learn to use email and the major social networks. Because we want our children to keep up with the times and with other children in terms of technology, we made sure all of our children have one computer at home (few of them have an internet connection though)

Friday activities vary – from health or financial education to nutrition, music and more. Very often, however, if the weather is good, the children are happy to play in the backyard and enjoy the playground.Tuesdays we meet again in the big hall of the Center, this time to read and talk about literature at the “Reading club”. We read together and comment on books read the previous week, we discover together what author we like, why some books resonate with us while others don’t.

12 o’clock is lunchtime for the Little Giants and the time when, noisy and energetic children at the “Dwarfs” group begin to arrive. Tired after school, the “Dwarfs” relax or play, before Monica calls them at the table. Then the program continues just as it did in the morning for the older kids: children do their homework and have at least an hour for educational activities.

At 4.30 pm children go home – alone, with their parents or are given a lift when the weather is bad and nobody can pick them up from the Centre. The Hercules super small team – Petruta, Angelica, Lavinia and Marian – has now time for administrative and organizational issues.

Around the holidays, all children, volunteers, seniors from Hercules and all the team work side by side to create Christmas/ Easter cards and various small objects (eg trinkets) which we sell during festivals or fairs, or we offer to our sponsor companies in exchange of donations. The money we raise return to children, as supplies, canteen food or an extra trip during the year. This is also an opportunity to bring together all the children, volunteers, sometimes parents and seniors in the community to empower them, make them feel useful and involved in the activities of the Hercules family.