Award Stories

Award Stories

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – Romania can be found right across the country, since 2013 engaging over 10,000 young people and 2,000 Award Leaders and with millions having participated around the world. Our program is run in cities, rural and remote areas, through government and independent schools, universities and colleges, and a wide range of organizations, sports clubs, employers, youth detention centers and community youth organizations. They are empowered with not just the confidence, but also the desire to create meaningful change, finding their purpose, passion and place in the world. Here are just a few of their stories.

”Watching young people around us I realized how important every day education is, it challenges young people to change their destiny. In Romania, the Award turns it’s eyes primarily to basic values ​​and international quality standards; it’s not just about gaining skills, having outdoor expeditions, but also inspires young people to take control, make their own choices and build their own unique program, to connect them with the needs of the 21st century. It helps to accept themselves and discover their full potential.”

Erika Hristea, World Fellow & Board member Award Foundation Romania


”Being part of the Award offered me the opportunity to look beyond myself and to help others discover that too. Every person is capable and special in their own way, and I think the Award is one of the best ways of getting that “special” at the surface and share it with the world. As young people receive the opportunity of making choices by themselves and taking responsibility for those, their self-confidence increases and reveals skills and qualities they didn’t know they have. It’s about giving trust and support, working in a team, setting a goal and achieving it by overcoming fears and finding solutions. The whole process leads to a better version of yourself, without forgetting the ones around. I am proud to see participants taking steps forward in this journey and getting closer to their goals. I think everyone we meet has a purpose in our lives and the other way around. So lets leave a meaningful footprint on each others path.” Denisa Maier, Award Leader & Ambassador, Royal School in Transylvania, Cluj Napoca

”Thinking about my journey I realized how much I have evolved and how many things changed in my life. I met wonderful people who inspired me, people who trusted me and pulled me out of the comfort zone by showing me that I can go beyond my limits. Now I can speak freely in front of an audience, inspire young people and realize that anything is possible if you are motivated and trust yourself. I love nature, hiking, guitar playing, basketball, photography and, above all, people. I found that if every person is appreciated and surrounded by love, flourishes and makes use of his best qualities, and the Award has such people!”

Beatrice Podeanu, Bronze, Silver, Gold Holder & Award Ambassador, Iași

”Our students have become energized by the opportunity to undertake the Award which they also recognize as valuable for university enrollment and future employ-ability. The knowledge they have already picked up is unique, personal and has extended their learning beyond the classroom. They are setting new, wider goals and as they focus on achieving them they are developing resilience and dependability, learn to manage time effectively, become more self-motivated and enjoy the uniqueness of these moments. There is a wide range of activities they have chosen which are helping them grow on every level and we are enjoying watching them develop into healthy, well-functioning adults, more aware of wider society. What can be better than that?”

Rita Hayek Maalouf, Director The Cambridge School of Bucharest

”The Award programme was from the beginning an amazing opportunity to get to know each other and to get beyond ourselves, to do what we love and scares us in an organized and generous environment, continuously adapted for young people. It gave us the opportunity to discover fabulous people and build memories for a lifetime. To work as a team, both adults and young people, in a permanent search for the best solution and the highest goal. To understand the work of the person next to us and support him to the end. To interact with our own fears and to grow up alongside fearless young people.”

Gianina Paun, Award Coordintor, Supervisor & Assessor, Tânăr și Liber Association, Piatra Neamț


”As Ambassador Award in Romania I can go further in the program, being also a Gold Holder and Award Leader in my school. I recommend to every young person to say yes to this challenge, because I know from my own experience how much you can develop personally and professionally. I helped young people living in isolation in the Atlas Mountains, in Morocco, experience that taught me to be more socially aware and give back to society, and also developed a lot on my passion for politics and diplomacy, which will help me in the future!”

Ioan Pristavu, Bronze, Silver, Gold Holder & Award Ambassador, Transylvania College, Cluj Napoca


”One of the best things about being involved in the Award was the opportunity to meet wonderful, fascinating and inspiring people that happened to become great friends too. Believe it or not, but giving time to coordinate, to lead and assess as part of the program has improved my physical and mental health. Running the Award in Transylvania College teaches me different things about people and places which ultimately leads to my personal and professional growth. Through the p rogram I can fulfill my passion for traveling and exploration, which has a positive impact on my self-esteem and great work experience. Every volunteer can make a difference. Don’t underestimate your potential. No matter how small your steps are, you have the potential to make a big difference!”
Daniela Ganea, Award Coordinator, Supervisor & Assessor, Transylvania College, Cluj Napoca
”It is a such a joy to be an Award Ambassador, to have the opportunity to share and support the initiatives of the program in Romania. The Award made me see potential in people and see them with loving eyes. In this program I managed to develop from many points of view and broaden my horizon, embrace the sky through aviation and bring a splash of love for music along with my dear violin.”
Hanna Hoos, Gold Holder & Award Ambassador, Brașov
”The Award programme is probably one of the most beautiful experiences with young people in my life. Although I have been working with them for more than two decades, I don’t think I have met them anywhere more casual than in this wonderful program. Here they experience completely new things, test their limits, make friends for the rest of their lives and, moreover, mature rapidly. On the other hand, the Award also develops us, their mentors, we are always close to supporting them in overcoming their age-specific fears. Therefore, the Award is a chance for any teenager eager to find out their real potential.” 
Ovidiu Albert, Award Coordintor, Mușatinii Roman Association, Roman
”I feel very lucky to be part of the Ambassador Award team. My two passions are human rights and extreme sports. I am a Gold Holder and  have always been connected with my team, together we are ready to support young people in Romania to complete the programme and develop personally as much as possible!
The Award is not only about challenging yourself, but also about being part of an extraordinary community!”
Ștefania Vîlcu, Award Ambassador & Gold Holder, Bucharest
”Many complain about the school system, that we teach useless skills and don`t prepare young generations for real life. Well, The Award is an amazing programme  where you can make your own decisions and follow that pa
th, build up responsibilities, consistency, empathy, better understanding of the world and of oneself without any competition. Honestly, I could go on and on listing all the benefits of the Award, and as I started getting to know more and more about it I realized how essential it is for young people to get involved in such a programme. I am very proud to be part of this community and I`m really sorry I haven`t had the chance to join this when I was a teenager. I would have had a lot of fun and this is why I encourage all our students to join this wonderful programme and community.”
Botond Cserei, Award Coordintor János Zsigmond Unitarian High School, Cluj Napoca
”The Award for me is a stimulus that always makes me overcome my fears and face all challenges and, above all, it always reminds me that nothing is impossible. The Award has contributed a lot to my personal development, from bronze participant to center coordinator, it has been and continues to be about wonderful people, challenges, fun, motivation, friendship, but especially about me, Ali from now. I encourage all young people to join today!”
Ali Stoicescu, Award Ambassador and Coordinator, Un Strop de Fericire Association, Ploiești
”Guiding young people in the direction of faith and achieving dreams is a task that requires patience, openness, empathy. The results are not immediately visible, but the fruits are for life. Discovering your value, discovering talents and abilities can help you in your professional orientation and in building a balanced life, knowing your gifts, passions, learning to fight for them. I believe in the power of the Youth Award program and because I had a participant in the team who chose guided reading, for the development of critical skills, in a consistent and timely manner, and this has already brought him recognition and results: his dream of become a journalist has been achieved.”
Marica Badiu, Award Coordintor Mircea Eliade Theoretical High School, Întorsura Buzăului
”Working with young people in the Award is like painting on canvas: you buy all the colors, watercolors, tempera, acrylics and brushes, but all the canvases already have a sketch on them. Returning home, you put the canvas in the easel. You look at the already existing outline and think about how you can transform that form into the drawing you wanted to paint initially. From there until the qualifying trip, you have besides t
raining lots of discussions, adjustments and negotiations, from which you learn and you learn again. Each team I have supervised or evaluated has given me a new lesson to take away.”
Ariana Cordoș, Award Supervisor and Assessor, Cluj Napoca
”For me as a teacher the Award is an exceptional opportunity to channel the students’ energies in a constructive way, that will put their qualities in value, motivate them to develop in ways they did not think its possible. For Pașcani, a small city lacking cultural opportunities and challenges, this programme helps young people to aim higher and to surpass themselves, to discover and get involved in the community, to find their own path and to be actors and not just spectators in our society.”
Anca Aparaschivei, Award  Coordinator, Mihail Sadoveanu National College, Pașcani

”The Award helped me discover the guitar, that has become an essential part of me, it comforts my soul when I am stressed, tells me that there are moments of joy even when you are tired, and that I can turn beauty into excellency. But what I like most is Sunday, when with my brother who plays the org,  we bring together a beautiful harmony in the family with every moment, chord, string and clapper.”

Sara Sticea, Bronze participant, Mihail Sadoveanu National College, Pașcani


”The Award program has a significant impact on the young people personal development and adults involved. Through the Award, young people can be empowered with not just the confidence but the desire to create meaningful change; to find their purpose, passion and place in the world. I would describe the Award as a bridge, a bridge that connects generations, a bridge that opens roads, a bridge that unites destinies. And we all know how important and beneficial those bridges can be.”
Raymond Gheorghiță, Award Coordintor, Turul Madar Association, Sfântu Gheorghe