This Romania Global Volunteers Service Program Saved His Life


Ken on his first program in 2005

Although he didn’t know it at the time, Ken Kieffer made a life-changing decision to become a Romania Global Volunteer over a decade ago. The attachment he felt to the children on his 2005 service program became an “early warning” of what was to come.   Over these years, he’s assisted the experienced nursing staff with the children’s daily needs through play, exercise, feeding, and offering love. (And it’s clear from these photos that Ken has a lot of love to offer!)  The backstory:


Ken serving in March of 2016

After five service programs at the children’s ward of Municipal Hospital “Elena Beldiman” in Barlad, Romania, Ken confronted his own health concerns when preparing for his May, 2013 service program.

“I had ignored chest and left arm pains for over a month. I finally realized I had to do something; there was no way I would be able to climb the stairs to spend time with the kids. The day after I saw my doctor, I had open heart surgery. The surgeon told me and my own children that without the triple bypass I would have had no more than a month to live!”  Ken credits the Romanian children with focusing his attention on his own health in the steps he took to save his life.

“My volunteer service in Romania has now become an integral and very joyful part of my life. The Global Volunteers team in Barlad is kind and deeply inspiring, and the time with the kids and the staff at the Hospital is nothing short of consistently magical,” Ken explains.

In a remarkable “pay-it-forward” perspective Ken says:  “I believe my love and concern for the kids in Barlad, Romania saved my life, and I will spend the rest of my life repaying them–and having great times with them and my Romanian Global Volunteers friends.”

Ken, we’re so very grateful for you continued service and support of the Global Volunteers program in Romania. Thank you for sharing your love and talents!


Volunteers as young as 10 years old are welcome in Barlad. If you’re interested in becoming a Global Volunteer in Romania, we’re ready to assist you with project descriptions, travel questions, and registration guidance. Chat with us!

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