Alumni Spotlight: Lea Pickett

Lea is a 23 year old from Tennessee. She attended East Tennessee State University and would like to work for a non-profit organization. She loves traveling and hiking and is looking forward to a second trip to Romania this summer.

Enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Romania

Morning: A typical morning began with the volunteers eating breakfast together in the kitchen or dining room around 9:00 AM. Breakfast normally consisted of cereal or toast with jam, butter or cheese. After every meal we took turns washing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen.

The volunteers would then gather in the dining room and discuss what was on the agenda for the day. If we had something specific to plan for, such as putting together a carnival for the kids one weekend, we would work on preparations then. Some mornings were spent on the playground with the children or helping in one of the houses with various chores.

Afternoon: At 12:45, a couple of the volunteers would go to the kitchen at the other end of Pro Vita and collect our food for lunch. There was one kitchen area where everyone's food was cooked together. Afternoons were pretty similar to mornings. We would continue to prepare activities or play with the kids. Sometimes there was wood that needed to be hauled and stacked for the upcoming winter.

One day we worked in one of the unfinished houses stacking books for a future library and moving bags of concrete mix. We also painted dressers for some of the school girls and planted a flower garden. On most afternoons, we would take a break and make tea. If we wanted, we could walk into the village and buy snacks and drinks or walk down the road to a small town called Starchiojd. The volunteers had chores to do each day and these were usually done in the afternoon. We swept the house, cleaned the kitchen, took leftovers out to the pigs, etc.

Evening: Around 6:30 in the evening, we would collect our food and have dinner together. After the kitchen was cleaned, we were free to do what we wanted. Most evenings were spent playing cards in the dining room with the older girls and teenage boys who live at Pro Vita.

There was also a considerable amount of time spent on the front porch of the volunteer house playing games, playing with the many stray animals, and simply hanging out with each other.

Lea helped put on the carnival for orphans

Highlights: I loved the whole experience of volunteering in Romania. One memory that always stands out is the carnival we put on for the kids one Saturday. The volunteers worked very hard together to make it work and it was so much fun! There were several games for the kids to play to win prizes, as well as face painting.

Overall, I had a very positive experience at Pro Vita. The people there are amazing and work incredibly hard to make do with the little that they have. They were very welcoming to the volunteers. The group of volunteers that I worked with were also great! I could tell that everyone wanted to make a difference during their stay and when everyone worked together we could get a lot accomplished!