Over the years, we have aided children and families in a number of ways. In fact, because of our efforts, the State Department of Social Services often comes to us to help identify needy families and to develop the most effective means of helping them. Summarized below are just some of the ways we are currently working with children and families.
After-School Center in Romanovka
The Sisters of Charity of St. Anne operate an after-school center in Romanovka called Tropinka (Pathway). The facility includes a music room, a library, craft room, costume room, a hallway with hopscotch, and a sizeable play room. In addition, there is a large eat-in kitchen with tables and benches where kids can do their homework, eat lunch, and enjoy after-school snacks.
The children can also take piano lessons on Friday or guitar lessons on Saturday. Each spring, they even have the chance to help with the center’s garden.
Many of the children are abused or neglected at home due to the alcoholism of their parents. But at Tropinka, they have a safe place to spend the afternoon while enjoying activities and snacks. Generous donors from the Vladivostok parish and from the Far Eastern Federal University have provided food staples for the center, but other support comes from outside the country.
Lesozavodsk is a city of 45,000 people where many factories have closed and work is hard to find. The city’s Social Services Department tracks families that are in “dangerous” or “critical” situations due to their poverty and other social conditions. Our parish of the Visitation by Mary of Elizabeth has worked with the city since 1999, when we bought a building in an area where 80% of the residents are very poor.
Our parish trustee, Victor Pisarenko, noticed that some kids were looking for food in garbage bins and many others were begging in the streets. He and Fr. Myron worked to find parish volunteers and sponsors who could help alleviate the situation. In 2003, the parish began to offer once-weekly meals to the children. Now, about 50 kids show up every Saturday. If they need clothing, we provide it for them. We have also started Bible classes, art classes, and a singing group.
We would love to expand the program, pattern it after the Tropinka program in Romanovka, and also see what the children need in the way of medical care. Ideally, we hope to have a larger facility and operate the program daily. But right now, space and funding are the main limitations.
Today, we also assist children and families through our Guardian Angel program; we help pair retirees with emotionally starved orphans through our Grandma Mentoring program; and we support women and couples seeking assistance with pregnancies via an array of pro-life programs.
You can assist needy children and families in southeast Russia by clicking below.