Our History
Dana & Brandi Bates and a team of Romanians started New Horizons Foundation in Lupeni, a small town in the Jiu Valley.  In the previous year, they had built Romania’s first high ropes course on Straja Mountain, together with volunteers from Project Adventure USA, and had organized the first summer of VIAȚA.

In 2000, they also held the first training course for camp animators.  The training still happens annually, continuing to prepare at least 15 leaders a year to work with youth in camp settings.

The first IMPACT club is opened (under the name Kaizen), in the Bates’ apartment.
The first service-learning project was done by an IMPACT club: the creation of an ecological toilet in Romania’s Retezat National Park.  Its success helped convince us that IMPACT was a program that deserved to be replicated beyond that first pioneering club.
Fifteen IMPACT clubs were opened in the Jiu Valley through a grant from the International Youth Foundation.  The following year, IMPACT was featured in their publication of best practices, “What Works in Youth Engagement.”
The first IMPACT manual and curriculum for leaders were written.
The IMPACT model was replicated for the first time at the national level, as 18 new clubs were opened in 10 counties.  This replication was thanks to a partnership with the Romanian Orthodox Church and grants from the International Orthodox Christian Charities and USAID.
The IMPACT network in Romania exploded in size, growing to a number of 145 clubs across the country, thanks to grants from NOKIA and the International Youth Foundation.
2007 was also the first year of the Romania Semester, in which students from Northwestern College in the United States have the possibility to study abroad in Romania.
New Horizons Foundations opened an office in Bucharest.
Fifty new IMPACT clubs opened in Cluj county, and NHF opened another office in Cluj-Napoca.

In addition, two NHF trainers traveled to Honduras to share about the IMPACT program with partners there.  From this training, new clubs opened in Honduras and, a few years later, in the Dominican Republic.

With support from a Youth in Action grant, the team introduced the idea of social entrepreneurship into the IMPACT program.
The first pool of trainers for New Horizons Foundation was formed.  From this year forward, New Horizons Foundation began to offer trainings on experiential methods for both the IMPACT and VIAȚA programs.  NHF also began to receive government certification of its training courses in 2010.

IMPACT trainings also were held with partners in the Republic of Moldova, thus introducing IMPACT into its third international setting.

A second version of the IMPACT curriculum is developed for use by club leaders.  This curriculum is organized into four learning areas: Active Citizenship, Employability, Social Entrepreneurship, and Leadership.
A second ropes course was constructed in the town of Băile Tușnad, giving VIAȚA its second location in Romania.

The IMPACT model began to be recognized as an international best practice in youth development and plans were laid to replicate it more widely internationally through a partnership with World Vision in Armenia. A training was also held in the United States to open IMPACT clubs there.

Together with World Vision, New Horizons Foundation developed the SKYE program, including a full curriculum and accompanying learning instruments, in order to adapt IMPACT for an older age group (youth ages 18-26).

International IMPACT clubs were opened in Albania, Haiti, Mexico, and Nicaragua through various partners.

In the town of Vulcan in the Jiu Valley, the Fără Limite (Without Limits) Climbing Gym was opened as a social project by New Horizons Foundation foreign volunteers.

The Romania Semester study abroad program was voted one of the top 10 study abroad programs in the world.

International IMPACT & SKYE clubs spread to Germany and Cambodia through partnerships with Young Life and World Vision.
NHF completed an advocacy campaign which led to the Ministry of Education modifying its implementation of the Școala Altfel program and integrating more experiential learning methods into this national initiative.
Construction began on a new ropes course in the Jiu Valley in Câmpul lui Neag, in order to replace the aging Straja location.
The Community Schools project was launched, which marked a new type of intervention for New Horizons Foundation, at the level of entire schools.  In addition, the first edition of the Architects of Education conference was held, which extended NHF’s influence to teachers (beyond those who volunteer with the IMPACT program) by offering them new instruments for their work.
International IMPACT & SKYE clubs spread to Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Georgia.


International SKYE clubs are opened in Bosnia, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Nepal, and Palestine, through partnerships with World Vision.


Lupeni central headquarters

Bv. Păcii, bl. 5, ap. 9 | and in Cluj-Napoca


+40 254 564 471