2015 FALL APPEAL
With Fall upon us, children and young adults around the world are gearing up for a new school year and a fresh start with high hopes, forgetting any unpleasant experiences from previous years. The mindset of a clean slate gives hope of improvement which is both motivating and helps children make lasting changes in their lives. The Russian Children’s Welfare Society has always supported programs that encourage both the intellectual and spiritual growth of children who have little or no guidance in life. We believe that every child deserves an education and a chance at a new beginning that will empower them to make positive choices throughout their lifetime.
The RCWS has partnered with a number of organizations in Russia that prepare students with the necessary knowledge for college enrollment or arm those who are not college bound with trade skills. The "Big Change" Center is one such organization. It is a non-profit organization registered and operating in Russia since 2002. Big Change was founded by a group of teachers, inspired by the idea of helping young people raised in orphanages to successfully integrate into society.
The educational programs of Big Change are focused on the specific needs of each student and include individual development plans, tutoring, professional guidance, job placement, and extra-curricular educational activities. Big Change works with young people living in orphanages as well as orphanage graduates between the ages of 12 and 26. Students often come to the Center with different goals, have different educational levels and life circumstances. Some come to receive help with preparing for University level exams, others can barely read and require support in the process of socialization. RCWS has been supporting Big Change programs since 2007. Additionally, 30 students enrolled in Big Charge educational and training programs received assistance via the RCWS scholarship program.
In the 13 years since opening its doors, Big Change has worked with over 440 children. Luda Kutina came to Big Change in 2004 at the age of 21 and could only count to 10. She was living in a mental health institution that didn’t have any educational programs and left her struggling to gain literacy. She came to Big Change because she was determined to receive an education, leave the confines of the institution and find a job. At Big Change, Luda followed a rigorous curriculum of individualized lessons and primary education courses to achieve both literacy and numeracy. As a result of her hard work, Luda passed the exit test of the mental health institution, has been living independently since 2007, and, this past Summer, successfully finished a pedagogical college with a degree in physical therapy.
Tanya Shakhova began attending Big Change in 2006. She was 22 at the time yet her educational level was that of someone still in elementary school. She lived in an orphanage from age 5 to 19, finished a correctional school in 2001, and completed her certification at a trade school in both the culinary arts and sewing in 2003. Her life path, however, was taking a course away from her passion. Tanya was always an avid athlete and an excellent swimmer who dreamt of working as a youth coach. She came to Big Change to «view life from a different perspective, receive a secondary education so as to apply to university, expand my mind and learn how care for and work with children." In 2011, Tanya passed all of her final exams and was accepted to a pedagogical college. This past summer, she not only finished college but also got married and is entering upon an exciting new chapter in her life as both a wife and a mother.
We thank you for supporting RCWS’s on-going charitable programs and making a difference in Luda’s, Tanya’s and other students’ lives. Your gift will be profoundly appreciated, and we thank you in advance for your support.
Beatrice M. Fekula
What Your Donation Can Do...
$50 will provide one child with school lunch for a full academic year.
$100 will cover a blood sugar monitoring device that will serve 25 orphans with diabetes.
$150 will provide a new bed for a child at an orphanage. Many orphans sleep on beds that were purchased 20-25 years ago and no longer meet sanitary or safety requirements.
$250 will cover a sewing machine for an orphanage allowing teens to make their own clothing and obtain vocational training skills.
$500 will cover an annual supply of vitamins for 50 orphans.
$1,500 will cover an industrial washing machine for an orphanage that takes care of over 100 children, where laundry is still done by hand.
$2,000 will cover an annual scholarship for an orphanage graduate. Learn more...
$2,500 will restore the life of a child with severe facial deformity. There is a waiting list at the Moscow Center for Children's Maxillofacial Surgery for children in need of reconstructive surgeries. Learn more...
$10,000 will cover a minivan for an orphanage in a rural area, providing kids with an opportunity to visit distant educational, cultural and/or medical facilities.
RCWS has always received support from artists and others who have, among other things, performed at various RCWS fundraisers including the Petroushka Ball.