Education
 Russia
Project #9443

Giving Russian Orphans an Equal Start in Life

by Step Up
Vetted
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"
Katya Pal
Katya Pal

Dear friends,

Today, I’d like to introduce to you one of our new initiative. You probably know that StepUp is not only about academic knowledge, but also about life skills and relations. This September we started a new project called The-Buttered-Side-Up (MaslomVverkh in Russian) with the help of our new friends Katya Pal and Roman Lerner from the Kings & Cabbage Cooking Club. Both of them have left their successful professional careers because of their passion for cooking and willing to share with passion with the others. They are remarkable cooks and great teachers of kitchen magic. We are so excited to have these extraordinary guys as volunteers in this project.

Every Monday they welcome our students in their marvelous and professionally equipped cooking studio and teach them to cook every day and holiday recipes. Adolescents leaving orphanages often cannot cook at all or are able to prepare very basic stuff. Katya and Roman teach them to cook more complicated things such as pizza, fish and vegetable soup, fish-and-chips, dumplings, salads, omelette, etc. They also teach to employ various cooking techniques and use different kitchen appliances. Students are working in small teams. Each session lasts for about 4 hours and ends with common eating of what was cooked. Everyone is encourages something to take home the leftovers and excess ingredients for home experiments. Most of ingredients are provided by our sponsors from Globus retail company. So these are products that can be found in a regular supermarket.   

Katya and Roman are just angels to look at how our crazy students pull their cozy space to pieces.

Students admire this new project a lot. First of all, it is enormous fun. Second, they learn that healthy and home-made food can taste better than burgers from McDonalds. Third, they get chance to mix with students from classes and with volunteers who come to help us with project. In this process, they learn to be volunteers themselves which a great step for those who got used to receive and not to give. On the New Year eve, they gathered in the Kings & Cabbage kitchen to cook holiday salads for kids from the Filimonki special needs orphanage.

Our warmest thanks to Katya and Roman!

Follow us on Facebook for more photos and latest updates https://www.facebook.com/CentreStepUP/?pnref=lhc  

Roman with a cake for the anniversary of StepUp
Roman with a cake for the anniversary of StepUp
During the cooking session
During the cooking session
Salads for kids from Filimonki
Salads for kids from Filimonki
Cooking pizza
Cooking pizza
Cooking stuffed vegatables
Cooking stuffed vegatables
The three "musketeers"
The three "musketeers"

Dear friends,

Summer has gone and a new academic year started on September, 14. As always we congratulated our graduates on the new step in their life they are about to embark. Last year we had three students graduating from the 11th grade, our three "musketeers". They had very busy and fruitful summer taking unified state exams and nervously waiting for the results of the entrance campaign.

Now we are delighted to announce the results. Iliya was admitted to Bauman Moscow State Technical University. Bauman University is a highly renowned engineering school that carries research in cutting-edge areas of science and technology. Masha also fulfilled her dream and entered a medical college. Alexey decided to spend additional year deepening his knowledge in physics and chemistry and apply to the university next year.

Congratulations on these wonderful achievements, Ilya and Masha! The horizon leans forward, offering you space to place new steps of change. You have walked a long way toward this goal but you have successfully managed! We are proud of you!

We got about 170 students this year in the Education Center! It is the record number of students we ever had in Step Up! About 50 new students enrolled to our programme. The year promises to be thrilling!

 

Best regards,

Anna 

Our graduates and their teachers
Our graduates and their teachers
Photo from the opening ceremony
Photo from the opening ceremony
5 years ago after getting a high school diploma
5 years ago after getting a high school diploma

These days we celebrate a success of one of our most devoted students. This spring, Maxim graduated with bachelor degree from the Russian State University of Physical Education (Scolipe). He got a qualification of trainer in athletics and a certificate allowing him to judge international tournaments in athletics.

It was a long way to this diploma. Maxim joined Step Up Education Centre about ten years ago (in fact, nobody remembers exactly when it happened as it seems that he has been around all the time). He got a degree for secondary and high school and entered the university. Maxim was not an easy student for our teachers and studying was not easy for him either. His major learning difficulties originated in his hyperactivity. But he managed to turn his weakness into advantage through his passion for sports and a habit for hard labor during training sessions.

For a long time Maxim combined studies with part-time work as a waiter and barista in coffee shops. Two years ago, he started a new career of physical education teacher in secondary school.

Maxim did not break ties with Step Up upon entering the university. He continued to visit individual tutorials, which we organize to first and second year university students. More importantly, he became an active volunteer going every summer to Step Up’s camp in the orphanage in Pskov region. He is a member of our legendary football team.

The last, but not least, Maxim is the one who ran the Moscow marathon! Two times by now! He is outstanding!

Congratulations on this wonderful achievement, Maxim! The horizon leans forward, offering you space to place new steps of change. You have walked a long way toward this goal but you have successfully managed. We tried to help you but you really did most of this great thing yourself. We are proud of you! Best wishes for you on your graduation from university! 

Celebrating graduation from the university
Celebrating graduation from the university
Volunteering at the Christmas bazaar
Volunteering at the Christmas bazaar
First time in a suit
First time in a suit

Links:

Photo from the presentation
Photo from the presentation

On October 21st Step Up held a roundtable discussion for prospective employers interested in hiring orphanage graduates.

We invited representatives from medium and large companies to discuss the influence of work placements on young people’s personal development and the role companies can play in the life of orphanage graduates.

Step Up is looking not only to help young people find a job, adapt to a new environment, and be ready to face the new challenges, but is also ready to help employers.

Step Up’s work placement programme consultants, Ekaterina Belyakova and Aleksei Kurbatov, told participants about the assistance we are ready to offer:

— Motivational seminars for employees;

— Coaching sessions for managers (face-to-face or via Skype);

— Urgent advice (in case of conflict situations).

Two of our students — Mikhail and Andrei — also took part. They told participants about their journey from Year Nine of correctional school to university, and then how they found the jobs they love.

As a part of the work placement programme, Step Up has started a communication skills course that is aimed at solving the speech problems that many young people have – and that often become a reason for unsuccessful work placements.

Many thanks to Merrill Lynch for supporting the work placement programme and helping us organise the roundtable. We are also grateful to the company representatives who took part in the event.

 

More news can be found in our recent newsletter (the link is below). 

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

Best regards,

Anna

 

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Step Up

Location: Moscow - Russia
Website: http:/​/​vverh.su/​
Project Leader:
Anna Lukyanova
Moscow, Moscow Russia

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