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.
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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Dec 5, 2013

Thank you for helping feed homeless teenagers

 

Thank you to everyone who has supported our project in the last year.  It has been an exciting year, but each excitement has brought its own difficulties.  We organised for 11 boys to be released from prison under a government amnesty, but this meant more mouths to feed.  We are very grateful to everyone who has helped us keep our commitment not to turn anyone away who is in need.
This task gets harder at this time of year, as, quite apart from our regular residents, more homeless teenagers come to the house for food and a bed when the weather turns cold.  We usually have mattresses and camp beds in every corner through the winter.  
Very soon we hope to launch a new car hire business, to be run as a social enterprise.  This will help us give our young people vocational training and will help us pay the bills.  The first car has been donated for this wonderful scheme by the European Commission.  We would give you a picture of it, but apparently it will take two months for all the paperwork to be done to finalise the gift.  

We try our hardest to be self-sufficient, but unfortunately, we do still need help to buy food for our young people.  Can you help us give them a feast to remember for their New Year celebrations?
 
Thank you!

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