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IULIAN MINEA
Lider la clubul IMPACT al Liceului Spiru Haret, Bucureşti

Iulian, a graduate of the College of Literature, has been part of the beautiful IMPACT story for more than three years, ever since he heard of the program from his co-leaders at VIAŢA Adventure Camp.  “[The program] seemed so incredibly cool to me, and they were speaking with so much passion about IMPACT, since they were club leaders themselves.  So even though I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, I said I would try it.  IMPACT has been really wonderful and I am glad that I was offered the chance to be a leader, because this program is really great.”

For Iulian, VIAŢA Adventure Camp was a defining experience.  As an IMPACT leader, he tries to use that experience to help others to also develop.  As he says, “For me, for one, VIAŢA changed me immensely.  It changed the way I think, and I said that if I could change so much, I could also be able to help change other kids and other youth.  I try to help them become better, to succeed in reaching their maximum potential.”  In Iulian’s opinion, a leader has to have certain specialy qualities, in addition to their desire to help: “A leader has to inspire trust in his members.  He has to be a role model for them.  The way he talks, the way he behaves at the club, have to be done in a way that the youth will want to copy him and quote him.  A leader needs to be more than a friend, but also a person who can counsel and give advice.” 

When he began activities at the Spiru Haret IMPACT club, a club which had already been functioning for three years, Iulian was nervous.  But friendly and relaxed relationships with the other leaders and the club members allowed him to integrate quickly into the IMPACT family.  “The first time I was a little afraid, and I didn’t know exactly what to do, so I was very nervous.  But in time I advanced, and the kids were super, so I integrated quickly enough.”  In addition, he succeeded in helping the club to deal with a difficult phase when the new members felt alienated from the old members and wanted to quit.  Iulian was able to convince the youth that they all had something to learn from each other and that it was important to go on together. 

At the beginning, club members saw Iulian as an authority figure.  “They saw me as more of a boss, so I talked with them and said, ‘Okay, I am not the boss here, I am only a guide.  I will try to give just a bit of advice, but in the end you all need to make the decisions.’”  As time passed, the youth began to believe this and to see Iulian as more of a friend who had taught them how to make decisions for themselves.

Iulian’s involvement in the IMPACT program has had a positive effect on himself as well, inoculating him with the volunteering virus!  As he explains, “I can say that I had never really volunteered before.  Since I have started, I have wanted to volunteer more and more.  I have started to be more relaxed and easy-going in front of new groups, both in and outside of IMPACT.  And I have learned to be much more responsible.”