The First Steps to Performance Association
Founded through the initiative of young Craciun Alexandru Flavian, The First Steps to Performance Association is a non-profit association in Arges, and the opportunity for disabled people to excel in sports.
Currently, in Romania there are 757.248 disabled people, more than 2% of Romania’s total population. Out of these, over half wish to perform sport activities, but are not given the help and support.
The major obstacles that stand in disabled people’s way to acceptance are: negative attitudes, stereotypical thinking and assumptions regarding what disabled people can and can’t do.
In reality, disabled people possess a large spectrum of abilities that can be constantly updated and developed.
Because of this reason, we have founded this association to offer the necessary support to disabled people and offer them a new chance so they can achieve their dreams.
A Champion’s Story
Craciun Alexandru Flavian
“Up until the age of 19 I was a perfectly normal young man, but because of a medical error following a spine surgery, I became a wheelchair user. Since then, my life changed completely, changing me into a whole other person. I refused to leave the house for 2 years, becoming a more and more secluded and isolated person, but with the help of a foundation from Bucharest I participated to a sports camp, where I first interacted with wheelchair tennis. Step by step, I succeeded in overcoming my limits and proving to myself that I can do more than a normal person.
Sports had a huge impact on my life, transforming me from an isolated person into an ACTIVE young man. To me, this seemed like a very big thing, something that I managed to do after such a hard period of my life. Since then, I started practicing to many national competitions where I practiced many sports: basket, tennis and athletics, but lawn tennis seemed to me like the most provocative. For 3 years I have also started participating in international tournaments, where I represented my country. Until now, I have participated in over 26 international tournaments.
Currently, I’m the only Romanian sportsman qualified in the Quad category by the International Tennis Federation, and I occupy the 52nd place worldwide in the ITF ranking. These competitions played a huge role in my life, sports being a launching ramp for disabled people and an occasion to realize the potential in each and every one of us. In the present, I’m legitimated in the STEAUA Bucharest Army Sports Club.
Along with my sports activity, in 2014 I founded the First Steps to Performance Association, which helps disabled people. In July 2014, with the help of a businessman from the Arges county, I managed to reach the Anadolu private clinic in Turkey, to evaluate my health state following the recovery years spent in Romania. The Turkey medic, after doing a set of investigations (RMN, CT), took the conclusion that there is nothing that can be done because the surgery in Romania in 2006 was done wrongly, sectioning the bone marrow.
Devastated by this discovery, I returned to Romania and, to never give up, I decided to found an association that fights for disabled people’s rights.
Through the First Steps to Performance Association, I’m trying to help others fit into society and make their disability an ability. Disabled people are not a burden for Romanian society, but they are useful for it. In many countries, it is said that the grade of democracy is measured according to the respect offered to the chance equality principle, so, to protecting disabled people. Sadly, Romania is doing poorly on this chapter, more implication in supporting and promoting disabled people’s rights being necessary.
This association founded by us, through its young and dynamic team, proposed that everybody finds happiness in the good deeds of society, and that everybody feels equal in society. We are sure that, being united, we will be able to open many gates, and we could offer a hand to anyone that needs is. We wish that people understand that in life, almost everything is possible, with a little will and effort from everyone, reality being easier to beat.
People with disabilities do not need mercy and pity, but they need respect and they will offer respect and want to be seen as normal people.”
CRĂCIUN Alexandru Flavian
Romanian-American Marketing College
BURCĂ Otilia Ştefania
Law College / The Craiova University
Sports College / The Pitesti University
Our objectives are:
- Reactivating disabled people’s potential through practicing sports and encouraging the competitive spirit;
- Developing disabled people’s communication and relationship skills, in order to regain professional and social independence;
- Creating new accepting opportunities for disabled people.
Our purposes are:
- Supporting the disabled people and integrating them totally in the social-economical life; promoting, respecting and guaranteeing disabled people’s rights/interests;
- Ensuring conditions and creating opportunities for keeping and improving relationships with families or other significant people for the beneficiary;
- Supporting treatment, recovery, and improving the life of handicapped people;
- Improving disabled people’s life, health, culture, material, sportive and spiritual conditions.