At my first visit to Step up organization I found myself as a part of the biggest event - the graduating day. I saw elegant young people running here and there and all they were very thrilled, teachers were making hairs, setting the tables...
I saw several small rooms where students - young orphans from special orphanages for children with special needs, studying and learning. Step up organization is one of the several organizations in Moscow where orphans can get proper education and pass their exams to get certificate. It is the first document everyone should have so they can apply for a job or continue studying at the University. Its the first official document that means that you have graduated school. Not all orphans has opportunity to pass exams and get certificate while studying at the orphanages, because some of them needs very slow and careful approach that meets all their needs. I saw rooms, full of school books, old computers, blackboard. I imagine how difficult it must be to study at school when you are about 18-19 and supposed to go to the university or work. How many efforts do they all make to fill the gaps in education. All lessons are for free to students, everyone can join. But joining you should stay in. Nobody will make you to come, you yourself should know why you are here.
And now I saw all these bright faces and shining eyes. Young adults, ex-students were so proud of themselves. During the party students thanked their teachers, said kind words. One young man delivered a very touching thankful speech. He was shying because he was not able to speak clear, but he was trying and that moment was the moment of happiness. I understood how much this first certificate means to all these girls and boys, how much they were trying to get it and what the ocean of opportunities is before them now.
That was very good and inspirational visit to Step up organization.
Few months ago I told you about our football team. I am not the only one who is excited about it. FIFA TV channel recently filmed a 5-minute video about our boys and I am happy to share it with you:
Here is the link to watch this video at vimeo.com in high quality.
Please, spend 5 minutes of your time to watch this video.
I would like to add to what is said in the video that Maxim Mironov - the main character of this video - ran the Moscow marathon this September. He also was a volunteer for our Summer Camp in Pskov region this year.
Now Maxim is ready to make another step in his professional career. In January he will start to work as a physical education teacher at school. We all here in Step Up wish him good luck in his undertakings!
I attach our November newsletter for your kind attention. There are more news on football and news on science inside. In the same issue!
Thank you and all the best to all our supporters!
In this letter I would like to tell you about another project ran by Step Up. It is a Summer Camp in Belskoye Ustye Orphanage in Pskov Region (about 700 km to the north-west from Moscow).
Belskoye Ustye Orphanage is one of Russia's psychoneurological institutions for children with serious mental and physical disabilities. The orphanage is located in a small village and children are largely deprived of socialising with anyone from the outside world. They interact almost exclusively with their carers and teachers. Each year Summer Camp brings about 20 volunteers from different countries to make holidays for these children who do not leave the orphanage in summer. Volunteers organize games, performances and various developmental activities.
Summer Camp is the mostly waited event of the year in the orphanage and it is great experience for volunteers.
One of volunteers - Viktoria Taesina - shares her impressions:
"Above all I remember the most touching, and the brightest moments of Summer Camp. For example, near to the end we wrote letters to the children. One of the carers told us how Sasha could not be parted from his letter – he slept with it, he went to lunch with it, he always had it with him and was constantly asking for it to be read to him. I remember how, when you were leaving the orphanage, you would hear your name being shouted. You turned round and one of the children was standing at the window, waving at you. At such moments you smile to yourself, and want to come back next year."
This year 3 out of 16 volunteers were Step Up students or graduates! We think that it is a great achivement of Step Up. Those, whom we helped, now help the others!!!
For longer stories with dozens of pictures and even video please follow the link:
I attached a Step Up Newsletter for September 2013 for your attention. It presents a story of the opening ceremony marking the start of new academic year.
A big thank you to all our supporters!!
Summer has gone and we are in last preparations for a new academic year that will start in about a week time. Those of you who live in Moscow or happen to be in Moscow on Monday September, 16 are warmly welcome to come to the opening ceremony and party. As usual it will take place at the St.Andrew's Anglican Church (Voznesensky pereulok, 8) at 6:30 pm.
Meanwhile I want to tell you about our new project that started half a year ago. It's HandsON workshop. An idea came from our volunteer Pavel Zakharov and his hobby - making creative bird feeders. In HandsOn our students are making colorful bird feeders that are then sold on charity fairs, festivals and via Internet. Half of all revenues goes directly to the students, another half is used to support the educational programmes in Step Up.
The project is growing fast thanks to our creative ideas, love of Gennady the Starling (a mascot of the project), and a great desire to help. This summer HandsON participated in “Sun Circle” Festival on June 1st where we held our first Gennady the Starling colouring championship. The winner was chosen by a popular vote. Naturally, we couldn’t miss Day of Joy at Winzavod. As is traditional, we held master classes on how to make our bird feeders, and told a lot of people about what Step Up does. At the end of June two of our students, together with Pavel Zakharov, visited Trimurti Festival.
In August HandsON got its first big order of making 100 bird feeders for the Gorky Park. It's the most popular park in the centre of Moscow and a famous place for various festivals, exhibitions and other activities. We proud of our students and their leader Pavel Zakharov!
We filmed a short and very lovely cartoon about this undertaking and posted it to Youtube:
HandsON also has its own page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rukiottuda that has become quite popular. By now it has gathered more than 400 friends. Gennady the Starling is growing in popularity. Join his fan club!
Still, for its future development, we need people who can contribute their time to promoting the project, and, most importantly, we need a permanent base for the workshop. If you think you can help, please send an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
This story introduces our football team. StepUp football team was organized 2 years ago. It mostly consists of our current students, but it is open to our graduates and those orphanage graduates who do not participate in our education programmes. For the latter group it can be viewed as a stepping point to mainstream education or training.
We organized football team because we believe that sport is a powerful tool of changing lives and simply because majority of our students are males and they like fooball.
Recently StepUp football team got a new coach - Andrey. Under his command Step Up participated in the third Blitz Football League and came the third in this tournament.
The players and coach shared their impressions about this tournament.
Sergey, player: "This tournament was a transitional moment, a starting point. It was the first tournament with our new coach. Many things, such as communication, understanding what the coach is expecting from us, we began from scratch. And you need some time for such things to bear fruit. With our new coach we have a new arrangement in our team that pleases us, and will lead to better results in the future. We hope that during the new tournament we will do better, refine our game and win. We have a real chance. You always have a chance to win, even if your competitor is stronger."
Andrey, coach: "I didn’t see how the team played before, but, in general, I’m surprised by their performance, their understanding of the game and their efforts. I am grateful to some players who can sacrifice results to the greater good of building a true team, to making the team grow and develop, and to making others play better. This was one of the most important things that happened during this tournament — it is not only victories that are important, but also the growth and development of our players."
Ruslan, player: "We have a very close-knit team, and great guys who can play better than they do at the moment. It’s cool when there are such guys. By and large, our team is young, and promising. In the future we are planning to take part in the Russian Cup... We are buying new football uniform. Everything will be great!"
I attached our March newsletter for your kind attention. There are more news, photos and longer stories inside.
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