Shpola Grads

College Visits for Teen Orphans in Limbo

College Visits for Teen Orphans in Limbo

November 20, 2017

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

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Get well soon, Marina

Get well soon, Marina

May 19, 2017

"All that is here is the best of my life! I'm happy that I have so many friends who love and appreciate me and I them! The Lord does everything for me and I remember that! With God it is easier than in a past life!" -- Marina, age 17

A year ago, those thoughts would have never entered Marina's mind. She was a scared, defiant and self-conscious 16 year old, seeking attention from anyone who would give it. She told me "I really want friends, but I am unable to make any." 

Throughout her teen years, I saw how Marina was positioned as an outcast in

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“Is it Opposite Day?”

“Is it Opposite Day?”

March 06, 2016

That’s the question I’ve asked myself on and off over the past 2 weeks here in Ukraine. It seems like things have gone from joy to stress to surprise to confusion to irritation and even to peace.

Like today, my coordinator Inna and I simply invited 3 kids to church with us…

This morning, Anya (19 yrs. old) caught the freezing cold 7:20 am bus to Cherkassy from her town 3 hours away, where she is studying to be a Vet Tech and lives in a public dorm.

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