New Horizons Foundation in Lupeni, Romania

Lupeni, Romania

New Horizons Foundation (NHF) is a nonprofit organization located in Lupeni, Romania, in the Southern Carpathian Alps, promoting experiential education models that advance life skills for youth. Its programs include:

  • a world-class ropes course in one of the poorest places in Romania, the Jiu Valley, historically known for its coal mining and with an unemployment rate of more than 50 percent.
  • VIATA Camp (viata means “life” in Romanian), where more than 500 young people each summer come to learn about sustainable development.
  • IMPACT, a program that enables youth to take their teamwork and leadership skills back home. IMPACT clubs typically meet once or twice a week and work through the IMPACT curriculum, a multi-year innovative collection of experiential games and activities.

New Horizons recognizes that many Romanians do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and so they are creating a faith-based curriculum to reinforce the various topics of the IMPACT program. NHF also partners with Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, to offer a study-abroad program. 

Opportunity type: 
Volunteer opportunities: 

VIATA volunteer: North American and other international interns come to learn and serve at VIATA Camp among a team of Romanian leaders from mid-June to mid-August of every year. 

Social work practicum: Social work students have been involved here in Lupeni since 2008 through the study abroad program, and now are able to receive practicum hours. Interns take on significant responsibilities and provide an important contribution to the foundation.

M.Div. intern: Currently, we accept M.Div. and M.A. students in the summer for internships up to 425 hours. Your supervisors will be Jeff and Chelsea Lampen, ordained ministers of Word and sacrament in the RCA. They have the ability to oversee internships through the RCA, CRC, ELCA, PC (USA), and UCC denominations.  

Other internships: Are you a student studying sociology, anthropology, psychology, religion, community development, intercultural studies, international studies, environmental education, or another major who needs an internship? NHF would love to think outside the box to help you meet your internship requirements. 

Key scriptures: Mark 12:29-31 and Galatians 6:2

Volunteer quote: "My first full week as a Tabara VIATA leader was truly an unforgettable one. To be nominated as the liderul saptamanii (leader of the week) is such an honor. The team of Romanian leaders quickly became like a family to me after just a few days, and I am extremely thankful for the bond we formed. Although we all come from different places around the world with different pasts, we all share one thing in common: to help the kids of VIATA learn moral values.”

Cost notes: 

Internships and study-abroad program: A semester-long internship is $10,700. This includes all travel, lodging, meals, and other expenses outside of travel to Romania and souvenirs. Further discussion with specific universities and colleges is required. Internships shorter than a semester will be processed per case.

VIATA internship: Internship costs are $4,500.

Nearest airport: 

Bucharest Henri Coanda International Airport

Free day suggestions: 

- Hike in the Carpathian Mountains

- Ski and sledding in the winter

- Shop at the Piața and many second-hand stores

- Take a train to castles, ancient ruins, and old churches

- Spend time with young people from IMPACT clubs

- Visit Fara Limite (the climbing gym)

Contact Us

If you would like to learn more about the RCA's short-term mission opportunities for individuals and groups, please get in touch with us.

The best way to reach our team is to email or call (616) 698-7071. One of the members of our team will be able to connect with you right away.

Stephanie Soderstrom

Coordinator for Short-Term Mission

Molly Towne

Short-Term Mission Placement Specialist

Erika Spykman

Administrative Assistant

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