St Gregory's Foundation

St Gregory's Foundation works in Russia and the former Soviet Union to tackle the social problems facing children, teenagers, parents and carers. Our projects address the root causes of disadvantage by putting families before institutions, strengthening a sense of responsibility in young and old alike and providing opportunities for vulnerable people to fulfill their potential. Our work makes our beneficiaries active participants in improving their own lives and encourages a more charitable society.
Feb 24, 2014

Celebrating deaf kids' creativity with your help

Me and my mama
Me and my mama
Thank you for supporting our work with hearing impaired children and their families in St Petersburg.  As you might remember, art work is one of our regular activities.  Parents often struggle to communicate with their hearing impaired children and doing activities like painting together is a great way to relax and build a strong rapport.  Soon we will have a chance to show our work to a wider audience.
This Thursday our children and parents prepared this "painting" for a competition for hearing impaired children and we will submit it on Monday.  Apart from a prize-giving, a concert for the participants has been planned.  We are planning to take part with our children and parents. One of our mothers who is herself hearing impaired will perform a song in sign language.  
When they first came to our Club many of our parents were depressed, lacking in confidence and finding it difficult to accept their child's diagnosis.  It is great to have an opportunity to celebrate our familys' new-found confidence and show off what they can do together.
Please help us keep up the good work.  If you donate through globalgiving.co.uk we also wanted to tell you that for a week starting at 12.01am on 3rd March Global Giving UK will be adding 50% to donations up to £600 until funds run out.  So, if you're keen to help this would be a great time to make a donation.  Want a reminder?  Either drop us an e-mail to sarah.sgf@live.com or join our Facebook page and we will remind you when the bonus week is about to begin.   

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Dec 23, 2013

Happy New Year from our orphanage-raised parents

Artwork by one of our families
Artwork by one of our families

Our group of parents who grew up in Russian orphanages and their children are preparing to celebrate New Year.  Art is one of the activities we organise through the year to help our families improve their relationships.  Our families have painted Christmas and New Year greetings for those who have helped through the year.  We are sending this with our best wishes for 2014.  

Our New Year party may be the next big event for our group, but we are already thinking ahead to our summer camps for 2014.  Seven families have already signed up to take part and, if we can raise enough money we hope to organise a summer holiday for eight more families with teenage children.

We are fortunate to have been given a grant to cover our staff costs, which leaves us with the food bills to cover and, if we can manage it, some maintenance work on the log cabin we use as our base.  

We know by experience that this summer camp is more than a holiday.  For families new to our programme it may be the first time they have really taken pleasure in each other's company, an experience which can change their lives.  It is an opportunity for us to work with families in an intensive way to transform their relationships.  We know by experience that every contribution we make is more than matched by our parents in their efforts to improve their children's lives.

Thank you so much to everyone who helped us with our summer camps in 2013 and who has already donated for the camps in 2014.

If you admire our summer camps, why not give that pleasure to someone else.  It is not too late to make a donation as a Christmas gift to a family member or friend.  A gift of $32 will feed one person throughout our summer camp.   Any donations you make through Globalgiving.org are tax deductable for US taxpayers.  

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Dec 9, 2013

Film gives us an insight into the orphans you help

We watched the film The Chorus with our young people who spent their childhoods in Russian orphanages.  If you don't know the film, it is set in a French home for "difficult" children in the 1940s.  The sadistic head master presides over a grim institution, but the children's lives change when a new teacher arrives and sets up a choir.  You would think it was clear who was the hero and who was the villain, but our young people admired the head teacher because "he stuck to his decisions", " he knew how to put his feelings to one side and didn't feel compassion" and because "you know where you stand with him".  The film started a whole discussion about which role models we should follow.  This is so important because already we see our young people beginning to immitate some of the harsher teachers and supervisors who have looked after them.  It might seem strange, but the older ones are already beginning to treat the younger residents at their hostel in ways which not so long ago they found so hurtful themselves.  With our weekly discussions we try to help our young people rebalance their topsy-turvy view of relationships.

The group sessions we hold for orphanage-graduates already living independently show us the value of our years of patient work.  Having been involved with our project for some time, they really appreciate our support and are motivated to improve their own lives.  Serafim said recently, "Coming here is so important to me that I run here as if I was coming to see my family".  Recently we went on an outing together to the IKEA showroom so that they could get some ideas on how to arrange their home so that it is comfortable, practical and reflects their personality, rather than imitating the institutions of their childhood.

Lastly, we have been discussing gratitude.  We don't want our young people to take your support for granted.  We'd love to put together a Christmas card from as many of our supporters as possible, so that they realise that there are real people round the world who care for them, and that the meetings they value so much don't happen by magic. Please do give us your messages to pass on this Christmas.  Perhaps you'd like to say a little about why you support this project, or about who you are.  Feel free to send us your photo.  We'll pass it all on.  You can add your comments or photos to our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SaintGregs) or send it to me at sarah.sgf@live.com.  Thank you!

 


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