“His job is volunteering” proudly describes Alex Luca (33 years old) one of his very good friends – and she is so right! Although the story is a little bit more complex – Alex is a young, successful business man who had chosen to do good for a lot of people in need, because he simply feels this and because he thinks that if you want to change something in a good direction you have to start by being an example yourself. He is the “heart” of “Give joys”, an initiative group that organizes charity balls for a few years already. More than 250 people in need got help, he participated in a charity bike race to support the local Department of Pediatrics, applied and won a project through participatory budgeting for a basketball court in a neighborhood on the outskirts of town, at one of his terraces homeless people eat every day for free, and many, many more. And he involves dozens of children in all his charitable actions, teaching them from small ages to give, to support, to empathize, to offer time and work with heart in the benefit of others.
Alex is today a young successful business man in Fagaras, his native town from Romania – with business in the field of event organization and a restaurant – but he never forgets where he left from. As a child his life was not an easy one – they were 7 brothers, raised only by their mother, “with everything shared and re-shared, a small pack to all, sometimes, I cannot forget”, he says.
He had worked in Italy for 7 years, in in the field of event organization, and he appreciated something very much while staying there – for Christmas and Easter volunteer groups had been organized in the supermarket car parks, to collect food for people in need – he remembers smiling he sometimes went there only for this joy, to offer something from what he had bought.
“Give joys” initiative group
So when he decided to come back home and start a new life here, good for the others came naturally. And good, dedicated people joined him – two friends, at the beginning, then many others. “Give joys”, an initiative group whose “heart” he is, had done so much for the local community – everything, with dedication, hard work and so much love. The story started in 2015, with a charity ball where food, clothes, shoes and toys for 32 families in need were collected. 30 volunteers joined.
“With our next editions we had perfected ourselves, better logistics, more volunteers, business partners, collaborators, people who wanted to help”, Alex remembers. A few balls followed on the same pattern, with necessary things, and for two years they collect funds. Families in need get many things, not only food or clothes – also electronic, home appliances, other things they need.
Furniture for Department of Pediatrics
Christmas gifts were also bought for children in surrounding rural areas. After participating in a charity bike race to support the local Department of Pediatrics, new furniture was bought there. Last year, applied for and won a project through participatory budgeting for a basketball court in a neighborhood on the outskirts of town. The local municipality manages a center where more than 35 children with autism problems are treated – they will also support this with different materials necessary for their activities.
His restaurant has also another point – a terrace and a grill – and there homeless people come and eat for free. “The next challenge is a waiting menu”, Alex says.
Volunteer of the year
The number of volunteers involved in their projects grown from one year to another. Most of them are children and teenagers – dozens, “my kids” as Alex says. All learn this way to give, to support, to empathize, to offer time and work with heart in the benefit of others. Alex thinks the biggest benefit for the local community is this one – the fact that they learn and grow doing this, which will certainly make them act this way as adults, on different associations or charity projects.
Last year, he was elected the volunteer of the year in his town – “but I wouldn’t have won that prize without my kids” – he says, insisting on children’s wonderful work and involvement all the time during the interview.
For people, with love
I’m asking Alex about a few highly emotional moments although I’m perfectly aware that everything means emotions when working on such campaigns. Of course it’s hard to choose and there’s never “the most…”. Alex remembers an old lady living on the 6-th floor, who came out of her apartment once a month and was shocked when she had seen them “she was crying, we were crying, she had never got anything from anyone”.
Or another old lady, former neighbor he hadn’t seen for many years – “she was in a wheel chair, when she had turned and saw me she started crying”. Or that family with 12 children, 14 with small grandchildren, who were all living in two rooms, but the house was very clean, children had all diplomas and good results at school, two of the children were doing karate, one was playing the guitar – they helped them many years, still keep in touch.
“I feel my mother with us all the time”
How changes you all this charitable work? is a question I ask all the time people I’m talking to. Because I’m quite sure many others could do it, but they don’t. “It makes you human, it charges me with energy, I feel wonderful when I walk on the street and I see a child I had helped and I realize that he is ok. You have to be an example yourself if you want to change something”, Alex says.
He looks up to the sky, and sees his mother – and he is sure that, from angel’s world, she takes care of them and is very happy seeing what he’s doing to help others. “My mother was very exigent, she asked us to be respectful, taught us you can’t do anything without learning and working. My biggest example in my life is my mother, and I feel her with us all the time”, he says.
PHOTOS FROM PERSONAL ARCHIVE
Do you know a very special person? Someone who has followed his dream, built it piece by piece, with passion, energy and lot of soul? An usual, simple person who did something in life, who you can identify with, who can be, for others, a source of inspiration? Tell me about that person and let’s tell the others his/her beautiful story. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, here, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.