Step Up

We work with children and young adults from Moscow orphanages. Our mission is to help every child to learn and develop as a person, overcoming the negatives of an institutionalized past. Step Up is the first organization in Russia which, since 1999, has worked to provide orphans with a quality education, to motivate them to learn. We help graduates of orphanages to complete school, find jobs, pass college/university entrance exams. We provide specific help necessary to overcome the psychological complexes that plague orphans. We enable institutionalized orphans and orphanage graduates to make wise, mature and healthy decisions for their own live. We also work surmount and eventually change...
Aug 24, 2016

Second Generation Summer Camp

Step Up launched a new project in August this year – the Second Generation Summer Camp, which took place at Step Up’s Integration Center in Novopetroskoe village.

The project ran between July 24th and August 3rd (directly after the annual Summer Camp with children from Belskoye Ustye orphanage). A total of 19 people took part, including five mothers (involved with Step Up’s projects for orphans in Moscow) and nine children (aged 2 to 9 years old).

Second Generation Summer Camp was designed to help students and graduates of Step Up improve their parenting skills, to strengthen the relationships between parents raised in orphanages and their kids, and to boost the children’s intellectual and emotional development.

Financial difficulties generally prevent families of former correctional orphanage residents from having a proper vacation with their children. And stress-free time when they can enjoy each other's company is very rare.

Volunteers and Step Up staff organized a series of activities for the mothers and their children (both separately and together) during the camp. These included yoga, theater, cooking and drawing. Novopetrovskoe's location deep in the countryside meant there were frequent outdoor activities including swimming and short treks. Step Up also arranged for the mothers and children to take part in a day trip to nearby Pskov and get acquainted with some local firemen!

The success of the project means Step Up will look to repeat it next year — as well as using it as a model to help implement and develop other residential camps at Novopetroskoe.

Apr 26, 2016

Comic book about Step Up

The Step Up Tower
The Step Up Tower

Dear friends,

Step Up is not only about studies and life skills. We also help our students to find their true passions, develop their personality and make reasonable career choices.    

Recently, we got the first comic book about how students start their studies in Step Up. It was created by Yana who described her personal story of coming to Step Up in pictures. The idea to draw a comic book came to her when she worked on the presentation for the 5th annual conference of history of inventions. She is a fan of comics and decided to make a presentation on the history of comics. At some point, she realized that she can organize her drawings into a comic book herself.

I attached some pages from this comic book to this e-mail. You can find more pictures at: https://www.facebook.com/CentreStepUP/posts/1167601413274812

Comics are often published with a sequential manner. Yana is preparing a continuation of her story at the moment. She also kindly allowed to use her drawings in the 2nd edition of our book for teachers and social workers about Step Up “To love and to feed and other methods of social adaption: The experience of Step Up”. (The book was written by Ekaterina Kurdukova, our teacher and board member. It is based on the interviews with teachers and volunteers.)       

Every day we find out that our students are very gifted. I told many of such stories in my reports, but I can’t stop getting surprised at new amazing examples. Exactly for this purpose we need our conferences, debates, live library, workshops, clubs and excursions. One day one of these teens discovers a poet, artist, cartoonist, or cook living inside of her.

 

Best,

Anna

The first calls
The first calls
New signs
New signs
Finally, on the way to "Hogwarts"
Finally, on the way to "Hogwarts"
Apr 20, 2016

Inna and Yoga at Belskoye Ustye

At Step Up, we place a high value on the work we do with volunteers — young Russian professionals and students.

Inna, who works as a manager in Moscow, is one of Step Up's brightest volunteers. She used her annual leave to attend Step Up's Summer Camp at the Belskoye Ustye orphanage in 2014 — her first experience of volunteering and working with physically and mentally disabled children — and she has since taken part in all Step Up projects at Belskoye Ustye.

In her free time Inna is interested in yoga and, last year, she enrolled in an intensive children's yoga training course in Moscow where she learnt the basics of the discipline.

Staff dismissals at the Belskoye Ustye orphanage means that the institution does not now have a single physical education teacher. During Winter Camp 2016, Inna ran a series of yoga masterclasses for the children at Belskoye Ustye, which were very popular among volunteers and children.

Here is a something Inna herself wrote about the experience:

"The classes were even more effective than I expected. Many became seriously interested in yoga, and kept asking when the next class would be. One older girl, who has cerebral palsy, said that, at first, she thought she wouldn't be able to do anything but she quickly realized there were a lot of positions that she could hold even in her condition. After the successful classes during Winter Camp I have continued running classes in Moscow, this time with autistic children."

Inna is currently in discussions with Step Up's Summer Camp coordinator about the possibility of holding a whole series of yoga classes during this year's Summer Camp for children, volunteers, and staff at the orphanage.

 
   

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