PLUS is the newest division of Music Camp International, a non-profit children’s charity registered in the United States, Romania, and Ukraine.
Its goal is to transform children’s lives—by building a positive, dynamic environment through ensemble music participation and educational support. The innovative approach of integrating those who are underserved and marginalized by the highly stratified educational and social service system, and children from traditional families that enjoy “success and significance” but are accustomed to ignore those in need and ostracized by society, run counter to the years of a failed system of charity that “donates goods” to the poor, but is unwilling to get involved in providing solutions at the deep level of quality education for all and programs of mentoring and personal engagement.
Although PLUS is a new division, Music Camp International is no stranger to Romania or to Cluj. Since 2002, Music Camp International has been transforming the lives of thousands of needy children in Romania and Ukraine by giving them hope, dignity, and self-confidence through the healing gift of music. Instead of “testing for talent,” Music Camp International comes to the child from a different perspective. We believe that all children are talented and that our opportunity and obligation is to help each child discover and develop that talent in a dynamic, positive, and caring community.
In August 2014, Music Camp International conducted a pilot Music Camp for the children of the four sub-sections of the Pata Rât community located just outside Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Because of the astonishing success and the pleading of the parents, Music Camp International returned to Pata Rât in August 2015, for a second Music Camp and to launch PLUS. After three years of a pilot program, the template of PLUS was adjusted to provide for long-term sustainability and expansion. Children from all strata of society were included to facilitate social transformation and responsibility. An innovative mechanism of “giving back” was designed to provide concrete opportunities for children to engage in measurable “acts of kindness” through caring for their environment, helping the elderly, and contributing to their civic responsibility.
Children from all strata of society work together as “one big family”—learning to care for one another, help one another, and inspire and encourage one another.
The PLUS program combines ensemble music participation with academic support. PLUS corresponds to the school calendar—meeting after school, two times per week, with two 12-week sessions per year.