FLEX Alumni Monthly Report November Moldova

December, 11 2013

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Girls on Bikes

On November 3, Natalia Andreev FLEX '07 organized the seasonal ‘Girls on Bikes' event which lasted around 3 hours, and took around 47 girls of all ages on a bike tour around the city of Chisinau. Older FLEX alumni Ruxanda Barba '08 and Olesea Brinza '06 were also present to support the idea and cause of the event of their fellow FLEX alumna - Natalia. The event was meant to promote healthy and active lifestyle, but it was also the last event of the biking season. After the city bike tour, participants were offered an event venue for free where they would be taught how to take care of their bikes and watched documentaries on bikes while enjoying tea and cookies. More events are expected with the beginning of a warmer season. Many news channels were present to film a story about the eco-friendly event.
ACES Event

On November 6, Cucu Catalina, FLEX '13 along with her English Teacher Mascautan Ana organized at the lyceum "Natalia Dadiani" the first meeting of ACES (academy central European schools). Each student had to bring a musical instrument and have something neon or sparkling to wear. During this meeting, they introduced the students to ACES and made a couple of fun activities such as: after the students were divided in groups, each group was given a word about which they had to make a song/noise that would help the other groups guess the word; each group was given a bottle that they had to decorate in an interesting way. The best groups from both activities received a prize. They also dance afterwards national dances as "Hora" and the American Cupid Shuffle. This event lasted from 3pm till 5 pm; there were around 20 students who attended. The goal of this event was to help students relax after school by also practicing English during the activities, as well as introducing them to ACES, which goals are to make people understand cultural as well as personal diversity.

Coca-Cola Bottling Factory Tour

On November 7, Ruxanda Barba '08 organized a tour at the Coca-Cola Bottling Factory in Moldova. As Coca-Cola makes a great part of the American history and has supported the American people in their many ups and downs throughout the time, the tour aimed at educating the younger generation about the work and processes that stand behind Coca-Cola products. The 8 participants, out of which 6 were FLEX, walked around the plant for an hour and a half talking and asking questions about the bottling process and about the company. They saw how the bottles were blown into the shapes as we know them, the varieties of bottles, how these bottles are steamed and the finished soda with its secret formula is poured into these. The participants were taken to the storage were they were explained how the bottles are packed, stored and delivered. The Coca-Cola Bottling Factory tour enriched the participants' knowledge on American brands and how they affected and were part of the American history.

Wish Tree

On November 13, Maria Mocanu, FLEX '13, organized an event at her school in which students from 6th grade decorated a "Wish Tree". The whole activity lasted 1hour. 14 non-FLEX students participated. All of them brought bright yarn, ribbons and flowers and were excited to make the lonely tree look cheerful again. Participants were free to use their imagination because there were no restrictions or limitations. I think that at such an early age as theirs (12 years old) it is very important to consider each of the students' ideas. At one point one of the participants said that they have way more wishes than there are ribbons on the tree, so they wrote down their wishes and we buried them near the tree. It was a fun activity for children on a Sunday morning. They laughed, they played and they didn't want to leave when we were done. The next day the students showed their friends how beautiful the tree became and more people wrote down their wishes.
There aren't many events held in Cimislia on weekends especially for middle students and I think they enjoyed decorating the tree. I hope to organize more activities for this group of age.

Opening of the Volunteering Club at Natalia Dadiani Lyceum

On November 14, Cucu Catalina, FLEX '13, opened a Volunteer Club in her lyceum "Principesa Natalia Dadiani". The first meeting lasted two hours, from 2-4 pm. The goal of the meeting was to plan some volunteering activities they could do as a club and to promote volunteering in High Schools. There were 11 students who attended and signed up for all the events planned by the club. The students played an ice-breaking game where they had to untangle themselves without letting go of their hand. Afterwards, the students watched a movie in English:" Red 2", which they enjoyed a lot. The ones who attended wrote down their Facebook name and were added the next day in the group created on Facebook for the volunteering club. The biggest success of this meeting was that the students that attended have spread the word amongst their peers, and now there are around 30 group members of the volunteer club.

City Rep Planning Meeting

On November 16, Ruxanda Barba '08 organized a City Rep planning meeting with the Moldovan FLEX City Reps to talk over the November event calendar. The meeting lasted two hours, were all discussed the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday as well as suggested having ‘decorating-a-public-place' activity throughout the country which would be led by the city reps from different regions. The reps had pizzas and refreshments during the meeting while finding discussing their project ideas and activities whilst inspiring each other and sharing opinions on how to structure activities in a better way.

Meeting of the Volunteering Club

On November 17, Alina Zestrea '11 organized the first meeting of Volunteering Club held in Children's Public Library from Orhei. At their first meeting they discussed the activities they will have during a month. They started to prepare for their 1st activity. There were present 5 people and 1 Flex alumna- Zestrea Alina.

Decorating a Public Place Near ASEM College Dorm

On November 17, Petrov Mihaela, FLEX '13 created the event "New Look for the Public Place" the event was paced on the concept to decorate a public place. Were decorated the benches from the park in front of the Dorms of the "Academy of Economics". During the activity everybody got the chance to show their inspiration and to paint on the benches with different ornaments .There were presented other 4 students from the "Academy of the Economics". The event lasted from 1Pm until 2 PM. The main goal of the activity was to make the place look better, to give to it a fresh look and to do it more creative.

Decorating a Public Place in Central Park
November 17, Olga Guștiuc, FLEX `13, with the participation of the Alumni coordinator Ruxanda Barba, FLEX `08 and Marina Balichin, FLEX `13 organized an event with the goal of decorating a public place in Chisinau. The event took place in the public park in the center of the city, where we decorated a bench in colorful strings. The goal was to make the fall days more colorful and put a smile on everyone's faces. This activity was inspired from an interactive website diez.md, where it was under November activity #6.When decorating it, a lot of people asked why the participants were decorating and smiled when hearing the explanation. After finishing with the decorations, people would come by and take pictures.
Decorating a Public space at Natalia Dadiani Lyceum

On November 19, Cucu Catalina, FLEX'13 with the help of 6 students organized the decoration of a public place. The students decorated a bench in front of the school which they called: "The bench of Wishes" (Banca Dorintelor). The other students could write a wish on a sticky note and put it on the bench so as if it becomes true. The students did it during the last lesson, so that when everybody got out of school, everybody was able to see it and put a wish on the bench. The goal of this activity was to encourage young people to believe in their dreams and to promote the new Volunteer Club from the lyceum.

Thanksgiving at AIESEC

On 20 November, Petrov Mihaela, FLEX'13 organized "Just Say Thank You" event at the AIESEC Organization ( International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences). During the event Petrov Mihaela made a introduction about the upcoming holiday of Thanksgiving Day, she related some facts from the history of this holiday and the AIESEC members wrote "Thank You" notes to each other and handed them. This event lasted from 6pm till 7pm; there were around 50 college students. The goal of the event was to bring the memories of all good things that somebody did for you, to be thankful for life, to get the chance to say "thank you" again.

HIV/AIDS Informative Seminar
On November 22, Olga Gustiuc, FLEX `13, with the collaboration of the NGO "AFI (Act for Involvment)", organized an informational seminar about the virus/disease HIV/AIDS. The event took place in the Lyceum "Mihai Eminescu", with the seniors of 2014. 19 students participated, including Olga Gustiuc, FLEX `13, and the AFI volunteer Inga Bînzari. During this activity the students were to bring ideas of why is sexual practices good/bad. They had a discussion on what is HIV/AIDS. The volunteer who talked about this told the students what are the ways the virus is passed, how to protect themselves and what are the myths about this disease. The goal was to give the right information about HIV/AIDS, and destroy that wrong stereotypes. At the end of the activity the volunteer gave out brochures and was asked extra questions from the students. Overall, the goal was to inform the students and develop a collaboration outside school with NGO's that can provide information on sexual education.
‘Thank You' Bracelet Workshop
On November 23, Ruxanda Barba '08 organized a workshop were FLEX alumni and friends and family could participate and make hand-made Thank You bracelets which they could give as gifts and say thank you to people in their lives whom they were grateful for. Some of the ones present exchanged bracelets between themselves and thanked each other for the support they got from their fellow FLEX alumni. The 8 people present made bracelets for 3 hours in the American Councils kitchen while drinking coffee and reminiscing on their Thanksgiving celebrations with their American families. Everyone enjoyed the workshop and all expressed gratitude and motivation to make something similar in their own community of friends and classmates.

Volunteering at the ‘Alga' Pet Shelter

On November 24, Cucu Catalina, FLEX '13, organized a volunteering activity with her Volunteering Club. Catalina, along with 8 other volunteers, visited the animal shelter for homeless dogs "Alga". They brought some food to the dogs, as well as oil for the preparation of the food. They also spent about 3 hours -from 12 till 3 pm at the shelter. The boys chopped wood, the girls boiled food for the dogs and then they altogether painted some doghouses and played with the dogs. After the event, the people working at the shelter wrote an article about them on their website where they thanked the Volunteer Club. The goal of this event was to promote activism amongst young people and it was achieved, the volunteers liked it and cannot wait for the next time.

Math Week
November 25-29, Olga Gustiuc, in collaboration with the administration of the Lyceum "Mihai Eminescu" , organized and activity as a tribute to Math Week. The activity took place in the main hall of the lyceum and students were invited to show videos or powerpoint presentations, that show the importance or beauty of Mathematics. The activity was translated to an online activity on the second day, so there are not so many pictures of the activity. The goal was to involve the students in activities outside school and to spread math knowledge throughout all grades. In this contest 15 people participated and in December the winner will be nominated
Giving Thanks
November 26, Olga Gustiuc, FLEX `13, organized an activity related to Thanksgiving Day. We decorated thank you card for teachers and gave them on Thursday. This activity took place in the Lyceum "Mihai Eminescu" and along with the organiser participated: Ecaterina Leahu, Elena Petrache, Irina Ursu and Vera Lungu. The goal was to promote American Culture, and thank teachers for the great effort they did for the students. During the decorating activity students asked questions about Thanksgiving and had a discussion on the traditions and customs of this holiday.
Thanksgiving Movie Screening

On November 27, Daniela Chilari, FLEX Alumni 2013 organized a movie screening related to Thanksgiving Day in her school for the senior class. Students got useful information for themselves. A lot of them were familiar with this holiday, however they wanted more details on how Americans celebrate this holiday, what's so special about it or what's the story behind it. Many seniors attended this activity which was about 50 people. Some of them brought popcorn and potato chips. People had fun and discussed about the movie and Thanksgiving Day. They found this holiday very creative, peaceful and unique. Activities like that make people more unite, friendly and reminds that we are all human who deserves love and support from each other.

Thanksgiving Day
November 27, Olga Gustiuc held an open lesson about Thanksgiving in 8th grade, at the lyceum "Mihai Eminescu" where 16 students participated. The lesson had activities related to the history, traditions, type of food and when Thanksgiving is celebrated. The students were interested and asked questions about what they heard about Thanksgiving Day. At the end of the lesson they wrote on a paper what they are thankful for and put it on the board. The goal of this activity was to promote American culture and share the American experience firsthand from someone who experienced it. The students were satisfied and are looking forward to more activities of this kind.
‘Speed Networking' Event
On November 28th, Ruxanda Barba, the FLEX Alumni Coordinator held the first ever Speed Networking event in Chisinau. Much like Speed Dating, the event format is constructed in such way that all participants have a chance to talk to everyone present. The goal is to get to meet all attendees and learn about their projects.
The list of invited people included several FLEX alumni, among which 4 City Reps, Erica Ceka - Executive Director at Association for Women's Entrepreneurial Development "Success", Dan Prisacaru - a small wine producer, Elena Scutaru - the founder of the Mara Woman social project aimed at employing jobless women from the town of Scoreni, Alecsandra Serediuc - the leader of "Clepsidra" community service project aimed at fundraising for children living in orphanages from the regions, Dorin Hamuraru (FLEX ‘09) who is currently working the production of the Moldovan movie called ‘100 de Movile'/ '100 Risings', Irina Dubinschi - the organizer of the KoolTour Exchange, and many other active and inspiring youngsters.
The event was held in a relaxed atmosphere where participants could enjoy each other's company, have a cup of tea, find a project to volunteer for or find partners for theirs. Many new ideas arose and many new connections were made as a result of the Speed Networking event. Watching the success of the event, Ruxanda promised to surely have a follow-up, which would potentially bring more of the active youth together.

Thanksgiving at ‘Aschiuta' Orphanage
On November 28, Cucu Catalina, FLEX'13, organized a celebration of Thanksgiving at the ‘Aschiuta' orphanage. The 8 volunteers from the Volunteer Club and her English teacher Ana Mascautan spent 4 hours with 11 children aged from 5 till 13 that cannot afford to celebrate Thanksgiving. They started with a game for the children, after which they explained what Thanksgiving is. Then they served the children with Kebabs, cookies, candies and "placinte". Before starting to eat, the children each said a thank you to somebody to show their appreciation. The volunteers also brought some donations from which toys and socks. Two of the volunteers dresses up as Indians and played in these roles with the kids. The goal of this activity was to promote American Culture and volunteering and to show how important it is and how good it feels to help somebody in need.

Thanksgiving at a Center for Children with Disabilities

On November 29, Cucu Catalina, FLEX '13 organized a Thanksgiving activity with 6 children with disabilities. In 2 hours, from 3 till 5; they have made a Thank you door by decorating the door from their classroom with a lot of sticky notes in which the kid wrote what they are thankful for. They also had a chance to give an interview to the local radio station "Radio Moldova" during this activity. The goal of this activity was to promote American Culture through fun activities.

City Circus Clean-Up

On November 30, Petrov Mihaela FLEX '13 with the help of Catalina Cucu ‘13 and her Club of Volunteers went to the old Circus which was closed around 9 years, and helped there to clean up. During this activity we cleaned the stairs, brought out the trash, and, swept, and picked up the broken equipment. The event lasted from 10 AM till 12 PM. From the Volunteer Club there around 10 people. The goal of the event was to help the Circus Administration, to give back to the Moldovan community.
‘Alga' Exhibition

On November 30, Cucu Catalina FLEX' 13, along with the homeless animal shelter "Alga" organized an exhibition at the center "Moldexpo". "Alga" brought some cute puppies to show, and along with the volunteers set up a charity box for the shelter. The volunteers have handed out flyers with information about the shelter and looked after the puppies during the exhibition. The activity lasted from 12 till 3 pm. The goal of this event was to help the shelter and to promote activism, and it was achieved because they were lucky enough to be approached by several TV and Radio stations during the event.

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Previous news
We continue to share with you weekly Alumni’s inspirational stories “FLEX inspired me to ….” It will allow us to share with you and you to share with us all you have accomplished since you are back from the program! This week inspirational story comes from Olga Bostan FLEX Alumna 2015, Thank you Olga !!! Looking forward to hear your story!
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