Yelka (Christmas Tree) Celebration for Disadvantaged Children

Eighteen years ago, Russian Children’s Welfare Society (RCWS) organized our first “Yelka”, a modest Russian Christmas and New Year celebration in Moscow for disadvantaged children. Each year, over 1,000 children participate in RCWS’s Yelka festivities.

This past December, over 1,100 children traveled great distances to participate in the 18th annual Yelka event at the Teatrium on Serpukhovka in Moscow and see the holiday show “Sword of Samurai” and to receive a gift. A trip to the Yelka celebration and the opportunity to see the capital is something that every participant truly cherishes. We had children from 20 organizations located in Moscow, Tula, Yaroslavl, Pskov, and Northern Caucasus.  In addition to the cost of holiday show tickets, RCWS covered the travel expenses for young participants.  Usually this is the only present these children receive during the holidays or even the whole year. 

The selection process for Yelka participants is highly competitive as they are selected based on academic merit. The children spend months diligently studying and striving to be the best in hopes of being awarded a trip to Moscow, a trip that is oftentimes the highlight of their year. Natalia Borodina, Director of the Pushkin School in Novomoskovsk, dubbed Yelka the Day of Happiness and sent us a “heartfelt Thank You for including the Pushkin School in past years. The children are exuberant at the thought of visiting Moscow, playing with newfound friends and creating joyful memories that stay with them for the upcoming year.”  

 

 

Among the participating organizations: Solba Orphanage for Girls, Children’s Rehabilitation Center “Krug”, the St. Nicolas Gymnasium, Center “Inspiration”, Pushkin School, Center “Preodolenie L”, Gymnasium in Tutaev, Children’s Center “Rostok”, St. Alexei School, Education Center “Big Change”, Center “Nelishnie Deti”, Center for Children with Down Syndrome in Ryazan,  Center “Kupel” to name a few.

Last December, RCWS personnel and volunteers, together with “Ded Moroz” (Russian Santa Claus), visited the Orphanage in Shatura, which houses 150 children with special needs, as well as over 100 little patients at the Moscow Center for Maxillofacial Surgery and the Sechenov Academy in Moscow to distribute gifts and bring some magic to their holiday.

 
 

Your support is vital in organizing the RCWS Annual Yelka celebration.