Hercules Day Center

We founded the Hercules Day Center in 2007 with funds from the Princess Margarita of Romania Foundation.

We have remained until today the only Day Center in the southern part of the Arges county that provides social services to underprivileged people, despite the fact that our community – the town of Costesti and the surrounding villages – is strongly affected by countless economic and social problems: an unemployment rate higher than the county rate, alcoholism, domestic violence, family disintegration, emigration and consequent child abandonment or neglect, school dropout and juvenile delinquency.

carusel 2 cantinaWe started the Hercules project with the aim to combat poverty, social exclusion and school dropout in the community, focusing mainly but not exclusively on helping children – the only ones who have a chance to break the cycle of poverty and lack of education.

In 9 years, we managed to make childhood a little more beautiful and enriching for hundreds of children. More than 1.600 children in the community attended our events or took part in different projects initiated by Hercules (eg financial education)

More than 80% of Hercules children improved their school results thanks to Hercules, only three dropped out of school, 95% of the 14 year-old’s went on to high school and all children with behavioral problems recorded progress. Former beneficiaries of the Center regularly return to Hercules Center to volunteer for the benefit of new generations of children – a result we are especially proud of.

 

Activities at the Hercules Center

Activities with secondary school children (the “Little Giants”/”Voinicii ” ) take place in the morning, between 8.30 -12.30 , and the ones for children in grades 1-4 ( the “Dwarfs”/ “Piticii”/) take place in the afternoon from 12:00 – the time when children finish school – to 4:30 pm.
 
Daily activities

  • Canteen – breakfast and lunch for the “Little Giants”, lunch for the “Dwarfs”;
  • After-school – children do their homework helped/supervised by volunteer teachers, the Center’s team or volunteers. They are also helped with specific problems they encounter in school subjects;
  • Educational activities – debate club (Mondays), reading (Tuesdays), English (Wednesdays), computer (Thursdays), health education / financial education/ other activities etc. (Fridays)
  • Recreation, movement, play time – inside or outside, on the playground (equipped with swings, slides, play houses etc)

 
Occasional activities

  • Non-formal education workshops: creative workshops, carpentry, cooking, chess competitions, karaoke, painting etc.
  • Counseling for children and parents – when necessary
  • Parental education and counseling – monthly – issues regarding the development and education of children
  • Volunteering – corporate volunteering events, activities with the children’s parents, other volunteers from Costesti or Bucharest
  • During holidays (8.30-16.30 schedule for both groups of children): trips, summer camps, playful activities and all the non-formal education activities already mentioned

 

Our beneficiaries: who they are and how we select them

50 children (aged 6-14), students in grades 1-8 at two schools in Costesti. The children are coming at Hercules Center every day.
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20 senior people who are eager to socialize and/ or to feel useful and pass on some of the knowledge and experience they gained.

Parents or grandparents of our children – receive occasional help (personal hygiene items, house cleaning products, food, clothes and shoes – depending on needs and sponsorships attracted by Hercules). They also receive parental and psychological counseling. In turn, they engage in the Center’s activities as volunteers (cleaning, gardening, housework and maintenance activities of the center).

Approximately 150-200 children from Costesti and the neighboring villages participate in our events in the community and receive gifts thanks to the sponsorship attracted by Hercules Association.

Angelica, the Center’s social worker, does the social investigations, keeps in touch with the children’s families, drafts personalized intervention plans and tracks the progress of each child. Lavinia, the after-school coordinator, conceives the children’s educational plans, keeps in touch with the children’s teachers at school.

Selection criteria: precarious financial situation, large family and / or single parent, behavioral problems, absenteeism, risk of school dropout.

Our children come from families with extremely low incomes (a large proportion of families with incomes of 200 lei/ 50 eur or less), single-parent families, children with one or both parents emigrated to work abroad, raised by relatives/ grandparents; children with seriously ill or deceased parents; children who live in poor conditions or in improvised homes; children with alcoholic or violent parents.