Watching them give back...
When George, Katya and I began this work sixteen years ago, our dream and prayer was to live to a day when orphans would come alongside with us to help other orphans. Today the greatest reward for me is to watch them give back and share the skills and knowledge they acquire in Ministry Centers programs with children in orphanages. Last year brothers Viktor and Ruslan, graduates from Ivanovo #1, gathered several other young people and started visiting two orphanages once a month and teach classes to help kids made wise decisions after they leave the orphanages. In 2009 they led nine one-day seminars that included fifteen group session and over a hundred individual consultations.
Ruslan says: “I remember how difficult it was for me when I left my orphanage. I couldn’t make one step or one decision without wanting to go back to the orphanage and ask for advice. Participation in the Ministry Center programs helped me a lot and in two years time I learned more than ever before. I know well how much children in orphanages need help to prepare for their independent life. Life isn’t easy and they need to learn to study and to work, to pay for the apartment, to provide for themselves. I believe my own life experience has a lot to offer to them and they can learn from me just as I keep learning from the staff and programs at Ministry Center.”
Viktor agrees and adds that besides learning useful skills, it is also very important for the kids to see positive role models, examples to follow. And indeed, it’s exciting and encouraging for all of us to watch Ruslan, Viktor and other young people in this leadership role.