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 25, 2014

9 ingredients for an independent life

Recipe for independent life
Recipe for independent life

What is the recipe for an independent life? Recently we discussed this question with members of our support group for young people who are either about to leave the orphanage system or have just done so and guests from an orphanage in a small settlement in the Archangel province.  We were also joined by members of another group we run for families, parents who left the system around ten years ago.  

These are the ingredients one group came up with:

1. Respect for yourself and for others

2. Being able to value yourself

3. Being able to win trust

4. Risk

5. Courage

6. Being able to work

7. Responsibility

8. Freedom and

9. Being able to be yourself

This isn't a bad recipe for us all.  The trouble is that although everyone agreed that family, friends and a job are vital, they have only the vaguest idea of how they will find these things.  We talked about how important it is to plan the first steps into independence and also where they can go to find support.  We also talked about the fear that all of them feel when they think about taking responsibility for themselves.  This is perhaps the biggest barrier to a successful independent life, and we must continue to support our young people so that they can find the courage they need inside themselves.

Thank you to all our Global Giving donors for helping us give this vital support.  If you donate through globalgiving.co.uk you might like to know that for a week from 12.01am on 3rd March Global Giving UK will be adding 50% to donations until funds run out.  If you would like to make a donation, this would be a great time to do so.  Want a reminder? Just drop us an e-mail to sarah.sgf@live.com or like our Facebook page and we'll remind you when bonus week starts.  Anything you can give us hugely appreciated.

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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