Sneakers needed! Send a pair to an Orphan in need!
I remember last May, when my mom and I had just completed the first week of camp for the summer: Shpola Orphanage Kids Camp. After a wonderful week of being with the children, hearing their stories, and building relationships, we realized that one physical item they were in dire need of was decent shoes. Already being in Ukraine, we quickly realized that our only option to solve this problem for upcoming camps was to buy shoes in Ukraine. Initially, we were happy about this fact -- Ukrainian shoes would be much cheaper than ones bought in the USA, and then we wouldn't have to lug them all the way across the world with our already limited luggage space.
Is this trip going to be a bust?
I admit, visiting Ukraine in winter can be a bit tricky. Certainly, it is not for anyone unaccustomed to dealing with ice and snow and as a native Minnesotan, I like to think I can handle harsh winter weather. Plus, last January’s trip was full of snowy fun and navigating the roads was not a problem. So far, it’s been a different story in 2018.
Did you get what you wanted for Christmas?
Every year, members of our family dutifully write up a detailed list of gift hints designed to make Christmas shopping productive, easy and usually amusing… it’s a sort of grown up version of writing a letter to Santa, except for family members. All of whom usually comply, except me.
College Visits for Teen Orphans in Limbo
In Ukraine, after the 9th grade, children living in orphanages age-out or “graduate” and hopefully move onto a new institutional setting. We say hopefully, because education beyond age 16 is not mandatory, and many kids without a support system or even the most basic help simply disappear into a street life of gangs, prostitution, drugs or worse. Recently, we discussed the disturbing situation of orphans in Ukraine.