telling these four seniors from Notre Dame Preparatory
School they can't change the world.
know they can't.
doesn't keep them from trying to change whatever they
their classmates are off for Senior Week at the beach,
Carly Amato, Ashley Anderson, Lauren Moore and Lauren
Young will be on a flight to Romania to try to put a
dent in the chronic and ever increasing need for
clothing, medicine and most of all love to the orphans
left behind by parents unable to care for them.
is so much horrible stuff going on in the world," said
Moore who will head to St. Mary's College in the fall.
"I needed a way to make a difference."
ongoing mission to address the deplorable conditions of
the Romanian orphans began after graphic television
reports stirred an outcry for reform.
need continues, even after the exposure the TV crews
brought to the problem and prompted NDP teachers and
alumnae to journey to Romania as volunteers for the
first time four years ago.
the four seniors step on a plane from John F. Kennedy
Airport in New York this June, they won't be the only
volunteers making the journey.
they be empty-handed.
will be carrying clothes, medicine, diapers, wipes and
cream to the orphanages who care for babies from birth
until age 3-years-old as volunteers for HUG (Humanity
United in Giving).
volunteers, the girls will deliver the every day
comforts most babies in our country know.
will also help train orphanage workers to show how a
little love and interaction with the children can help
them develop cognitively.
will be training the staff all about brain development,"
said Lucy Strausbaugh, an NDP religion teacher who has
helped to coordinate the trip for the students with HUG,
a Texas-based nonprofit which supports hospitals in poor
or war-ravaged areas. "And HUG is there monitoring to
make sure the training is used and nothing disappears
from the donations."
students will encounter is unimaginable, Strausbaugh
thinks the problem is as great, if not greater, since
the violent and vilified Romanian President Nicolae
Ceausescu was ousted and executed more than a decade
Strausbaugh attributes the current demise in care to the
fact that the communists have regained control of the
Romanian government and have made it difficult for
volunteers to work with the children.
was also a question as to whether the donations were
making it to the children who need it most, said
Strausbaugh who adopted a teenage daughter from the
Siret orphanage visited by NDP colleagues.
no better," said Strausbaugh, who is also a counselor
with an expertise in dissociative behavior. "This is not
going away. The need is still staggering."
Strausbaugh learned about HUG's commitment and vigilance
in the country, NDP signed on once more to help.
children who were left at the orphanages, the fate was
almost worst than death, says Strausbaugh.
were never held. Their growth was stunted because of the
lack of nutrition. And their intellect never developed
because there wasn't any schooling or interaction
between the children and hospital staff.
since the initial exposure brought relief and aid to the
orphanages, many thought the problem had been addressed.
wasn't until another television report aired in 1998
which showed the situation once again turned sour,
prompted NDP teachers and alumnae to return a handful of
times, helping to build a group home for older orphans
whose age precluded them from staying. Eleven lucky
children were adopted out, including a 15-year-old named
Nadia who became Nadia Strausbaugh.
volunteer effort was curtailed after the Communists rose
to power. It wasn't until Strausbaugh heard about HUG
that the mission was resumed.
founder Judy Broom came to NDP a few months ago, the
supportive response from the school was immediate and
much beyond what was initially discussed.
hearing of the horrific conditions, the students wanted
to do more than simply send money or gifts.
number of the senior class wanted to go.
underclassmen wanted to throw numerous baby showers with
all the presents to be shipped overseas.
been here for 25 years," Strausbaugh said. "I have never
seen anything like this. I am so inspired by their
giving. That is charity. The spirit is moving us."
Strausbaugh said, the orphans will be the best dressed
in the country.
seniors going will fill two suitcases and a duffel bag
with medicines, food, diapers and other necessities and
take them on the plane.
thousand or so pieces of clothing, stuffed animals,
bottles, pacifiers, diapers and other baby paraphernalia
will be shipped by the school.
couldn't go into this with my eyes shut," said Carly
Amato, a Carney resident. "I know I'm going to be
affected by this."
the others were deeply bothered by the HUG videos -
especially Lauren Young who organized the effort
including the baby showers.
they have all the things the children could want, the
students travelling with HUG still need to raise $2,000
to cover their expenses.
Laurens have received donations from their home church,
St. Margaret's in Bel Air. And Ashley Anderson hopes her
church, St. Joseph's Church in Cockeysville, will also
make a donation. But her neighborhood in Timonium is
already stepping up to the plate. This past Saturday, a
community yard sale was held with all funds being
donated towards the trip.
seniors and their teacher hope that this isn't the last
time a delegation of students is sent to Romania. And
the girls have a feeling it won't be their only trip.
is the will to connect," Strausbaugh said. "The most
dangerous part of going is knowing you will have the
need to return."
information on donating to the mission, call Lucy
Strausbaugh at 410-825-6202, ext. 1635.
E-mail Seana-Kelly Coffin at email@example.com.