Changing Lives for the Children of Romania

Spotlight on Hannah Bridges

Photo by: Hannah Bridges
Hannah Bridges holds a puppy that was roaming on the streets with its family.

Midlothian High School junior Hannah Bridges annually volunteers with her church, West End Assembly of God, in Romania, to help orphans find new homes. On November 3, 2017, Bridges’ plane touched down in Budapest, where she began her journey at the orphanage of Oradea, Caminul Felix, reconstructing homes and aiding children in building a better life.

From sunrise to sunset, Bridges worked by stacking bricks onto concrete foundations and installing appliances for safe keeping. After a long day’s work, the houses were furnished and rebuilt, and volunteers then transitioned children into their new homes. “I showed Narcisa, a girl who I visited from my previous trip, a picture that I had taken of her three years ago. She remembered me and held my hand and took me around the orphanage,” Bridges said, while speaking about the children’s reactions. Each house can hold 10-12 children with an adult in charge while they live there.

After dusk, Bridges joined the children for dinner and enjoyed getting to know the personalities of each individual. In a nearby village named Dumbrava, Bridges met a man who takes in the physically and mentally disabled and cares for them by offering room and board. Discussing her daily travel from the farm to the orphanage, Bridges recalled: “We stayed at a farm, so I had to walk to the cow farm, and I always passed by a bush where a dog was tied up. Her puppies would always come out to play. It was always something to look forward to before going to work.”

Her trip lasted until November 10. 2017, and during her time abroad,  she gained new insights about the troubles going on around the world that go unnoticed by most people.  “I really loved being able to see the smiles on these kids’ faces. I really love knowing I’m making a difference in children’s lives,” she shared. When the next opportunity comes around, Bridges hopes to visit again to see the kids and those who work to make their lives better.