Dorothy J. Tarrant, MA, MSW has been director of the RSP since 1994. Dorothy is professor emerita of Eastern Nazarene College, where she taught for over 20 years in the areas of German, ESL, and Cross-cultural communication, and was director of the student counseling service at the time that the college asked her to come to Romania and develop the Romanian Studies Program. Dorothy combines academic preparation in languages, literature, and social work with interests in history and art, and extensive experience in cross-cultural ministry.
Dorothy coordinates the academic, social, and cultural aspects of the Romanian Studies Program. She teaches “Cross-cultural Service Learning,” helps students arrange internships, and provides supervision, accountability and support. She works with all students to process the cross-cultural issues raised by their semester experiences, providing orientation, hosting weekly “Monday night suppers” that offer a safe space for debriefing, and preparing them for re-entry. She teaches Romanian cultural history through field trips, readings and planned group experiences, and enjoys taking them on hikes.
Dorothy is also the founding director of Veritas. Having handed Veritas over to Romanian leadership in 2010, she continues to serve as President of the Board.
Casey J. Bloom, MSW worked as a school social worker in Illinois for three years after completing her Masters in Social Work degree. She began to feel a calling to serve internationally and had already applied to volunteer with Nazarene Mission Corps when her undergrad social work professor from Olivet Nazarene University suggested she consider coming to Sighisoara and work with Veritas and the RSP. Casey arrived in Romania in the spring of 2015 and immediately became part of the leadership team of Kids’ Club, the Veritas afterschool program for Roma children. The timing of her arrival was perfect as Veritas was entering a period of transition when several long-term staff were leaving to begin new initiatives in other communities and newly hired social workers needed to learn how to apply the principles of holistic child development in planning and carrying out the daily program. Casey’s education and experience, combined with cross-cultural sensitivity, has equipped her to support and empower the new staff as they learn their unfamiliar roles. Casey’s professional credentials qualify her to supervise social work majors who are doing their practicum, and to teach Social Work Seminar.
Roberta M. Bustin, PhD taught for 31 years at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas, where she was professor of chemistry, and latterly also chair of the Biology and Chemistry Division. For 14 years Roberta had spent summers doing research for NASA and developed exciting related research projects for her students at Lyon. Following God’s call to become a missionary, Roberta came to Romania in the summer of 1997 with Nazarenes in Volunteer Service (now called Mission Corps). Her initial assignment was to develop a local environmental organization as a means for reaching out to young people, and a year later she became pastor of the Sighișoara Church of the Nazarene – a new work which had grown out of the friendships of students in the Romanian Studies Program. In 2002 Roberta began a new outreach in the village of Țigmandru. Both of these churches now have a Romanian pastor, and Roberta serves as their mentor. Since coming to Romania Roberta has completed studies for ordination as an elder in the church of the Nazarene, and regularly teaches courses in practical ministry for students of European Nazarene College. She provides spiritual direction for the Veritas staff and also serves as pastor, mentor and role model to students. She teaches “Introduction to Environmental Science” and “Personal Vocation and Ministry”, and supervises students who choose to do their service assignments and interships within the context of church programs.
Petra Popa is the Executive Director of Veritas. Petra has a degree in “social pedagogy”and worked for 12 years at a local girls’ orphanage before joining the Veritas team in 2003 as director of the new program to combat domestic violence. Petra grew up in Sighisoara, and has a large network of relationships in the community. This, combined with her knowledge of the workings of state institutions, makes her a valuable resource for students as they seek to understand the background of the people they serve.
Emese Kis is a social worker with ten years of experience working with persons with special needs. Since 2015 she serves as Coordinator of Social Services for Veritas, overseeing staff who work with children and youth and their families, the elderly, and those with special needs. Emese works with RSP staff to plan where students can most effectively serve, finding the best match between program needs and students’ preferences and abilities. She helps orient students to the objectives of Veritas programs, ensures that they have adequate supervision, and troubleshoots as problems arise.
Svetlana Lisenko has teaching degrees in English and Russian, and has been trained in interactive methods of language teaching by a master-teacher from Scotland! Svetlana teaches Romanian to RSP students as well as to other expatriates living and working in Sighisoara. Her classes focus on conversation, helping students gain confidence in using Romanian with their host families, in their service activities and around town. Svetlana enjoys technology, and manages Veritas website and Facebook page.
Adela Romanica has a law degree and works for Veritas as Coordinator of Educational Services, based at House on the Rock. Adela helps with orientation of RSP students to Romania and to Sighisoara, and is a key person in helping them connect to the community. She is always eager to have a student work with her in “It Takes Courage” a weekly program targeting bright, English-speaking high school students, and to have students involved in bi-weekly social evenings called “Chai and Chat” which provides a safe and healthy environment for young people to socialize and have fun. Adela is the person to ask if you need help getting a sim-card for your cell phone, picking up a package at the post office, or buying something at the pharmacy.
Elena Istrati has a master’s degree in Romanian literature and literary criticism from the university of Chisinau. She came to Veritas from an editorial position on the “Casa Limbi Romane,” a journal which upholds the importance of Romanian language and culture in the Republic of Moldova. Elena teaches the class on Romanian Literature – which is her principal passion. She is also fluent in Russian, English and French.