Our History

Mia Scarlat in Memphis

In March 1998, our Romanian founder Mia Scarlat visited the United States, and Darrell and Joan Castle housed her in Memphis, Tennessee, for her three-month stay.

During this time, Mia and the Castles became very close. They often discussed the sad situations of Romanian orphanages, schools, families and street children: problems Mia knew firsthand.

During Ceausescu’s infamous reign, Mia worked as a school teacher and her husband Costel was an engineer. When communism was overthrown in 1989, Mia continued as a teacher and principal, and as a translator with church groups who came from the U.S. to work in Romanian orphanages. But Costel lost his job. By the time Mia visited the United States, Mia and Costel had seen poverty in the children around them and had experienced difficult times themselves.

Mia and Costel

Mia’s love for the children she taught and visited in the orphanages was so evident to the Castles that they became convinced they should help. Before Mia left at the end of May 1998, the three of them decided to start an American fund to help Mia and Costel serve the children.

Mia began meeting with children who hung out around her neighborhood in Bucharest. They’d meet on benches where they talked, studied and played. From this humble beginning, Mia’s Children began.

One of the first Mia’s Children summer camps

Within a few months, Mia’s Children Foundation, Inc.* was founded as a non-profit corporation. Funding began coming in from individuals, civic organizations and church groups – many of whom met Mia during her time in the United States or while serving in Romania on missions trips.

Patsy Vick soon became instrumental in coordinating work between the two countries by traveling to Bucharest to work with Mia and Costel.

Since that first year, Mia’s Children has seen over 75 children come into our program and receive food, education, health care and a knowledge of God’s love for them. Mia and Costel have worked tirelessly, and the results of their sacrifice have been a privilege to watch unfold!

Please explore the rest of our website to learn more about our work!

*Mia’s Children is also legally registered in Bucharest as Mia’s Children Association.