Today 63 children live in the SOS Children’s Village Pushkin (29 boys and 34 girls). Four children attend nursery school. Kirill from SOS House no.1 will go to nursery school too. One of our new kids, the girl, named Alexandra (House no3), started her school in September. Now there are 53 school children in the SOS Village. Fifteen youngsters finished the previous academic year with only good and excellent marks. Those who have finished their school are studying to obtain professions. Nina and Igor (House no12) are the students of economical and financial college, Elena (House no2) studies at a Cinematographic College, Varvara (House no11) continues her studies at a vocational school and Valentina (from House no7) has entered a college where she will not only obtain a profession but also will have an opportunity to enter the University without taking entrance exams.
From October 15, 2008 the SOS Village welcomed 10 newcomers. Six children left the SOS Village. Two children were moved to the institutions for kids with special needs. Two girls were adopted to families and a boy was taken to a foster family. Two adolescents have come of age and left SOS Youth Facility – 1.
For 7 kids the time came to leave the SOS Village for the SOS Youth Facilities. They entered vocational schools in St. Petersburg and now come to the SOS Village for holidays, events, sports competitions and, of course, simply on weekends to spend them with their SOS Families.
Some of our elder children not only study but get their first working experience. Three of our youngsters work in Grand Hotel Europe; Sergey from SOS Youth Facility -1 works for a large telecommunication company as a seller; Anastasia and Milena from the same Youth Facility work at a restaurant.
During the past year the younger teenagers worked in stables of charitable center “Dar” (Gift). They were cleaning the stables, washing the stalls and landscaping. Besides wage they were rewarded with diplomas at the festive concert “To the future with a kind heart.” The children also had an opportunity to gain work experience at a co-operative farm or manage various skills at a “New generation” production (organised especially for teenagers to help them choose future occupation).
This summer more than 60 children went to various health resorts, children’s camps and vacation homes for their summer vacation, owing to vouchers provided by the social defense committee of Saint Petersburg. In spite of financial crisis some of SOS Families had managed to go to the seaside – Houses no10, 5, 9, 1, 12, 11, 7. Children from the family houses no 4, 6 spent their vacation at their SOS Mothers’ relatives’ and friends’ places in the south of Russia.
The SOS Families from Houses no8 and 3 enjoyed their vacation at a health resort in Saint Petersburg, Zelenogorsk. The adolescents from the SOS Youth Facility had a rest at a camping at the Black seashore. Our kids continue to manage camping skills together with the youths from touristic club “Touri.” In June 9 of our children went to a canoeing trip along the Vuoksa River with the SOS Village Director and an educator. The SOS Village and the Youth Facilities kids went hiking to 100 km. The life of our children is also busy with extra-curricular activities. Five of our girls learn how to play the piano at a music school. Elder kids go in for various kinds of sports at their schools. In spring our children have started to attend intersensory therapy groups where they are taught to express themselves and enrich perception through various sensory canals – sound, color, word. There is also an art-therapy studio in the SOS Village. Drawings and crafts of our children took part in the city contest “Kind hands.” Our children were awarded with valuable gifts and a trip along the rivers and channels of St. Petersburg.
Our SOS Village theatre and music group continues its rehearsals and performances. The kids are great success at the SOS Village fests with their small plays, dancing and singing items.
The career guidance programme continues working for our teenagers. The children often visit different enterprises and organisations of the city. The biggest interest among the kids was aroused by the famous porcelain factory named after Lomonosov and the governmental printing office.
This year we continue repair works in the SOS Village. Family Houses no8, 5 were redecorated. One more room was made in the Aunts’ (SOS Mothers’ helpers) house.
SOS Mothers regularly take group and individual psychotherapeutic consultations. In June they participated in the field training.
One of our SOS Mothers, Elena (House no11) won the first place in the contest “Open heart” which was held among the district educators.
The Child welfare department presented our kids with the tickets to the newest cinema-theatre where they were taken to by a comfortable bus.
Now let’s take a look to the list of the most remarkable events of the departing year.
Grand Hotel Europe team organised charitable event called “Present” for the SOS Village children. The kids wrote letters with their dearest wishes and the New Year Tree decorated with their letters was established in the hotel’s lobby. And a miracle happened on January, 30th all the kids received their congratulations and presents at festive concert.
April, 30th SOS Youth Facility -1 had its 5th birthday.
On June, 1st (International children defense day) sixteen children took part in a paintings contest “Paint the stadium!”, which was dedicated to this day. The event was organised by the Saint Petersburg football club “Zenit”.
On June 17th the event, already traditional, called “Play with Arshavin” took place at the SOS Children’s Village Pushkin. The event had been initiated by Andrey Arshavin himself, national football team player and FIFA Good Will Ambassador of SOS Children.
On August 22, SOS Village Pushkin turned into a concert hall for the German music capella Rulfingen – the famous wind band, consisting more than 60 musicians.
On October, 13th an event “Plant a tree”, was held in the SOS Village. It was dedicated to three significant dates at once – to the 60th Anniversary of SOS Children, to 20 years since Convention of the Right of a Child has been adopted and the 15 years of SOS Children in Russia. SOS kids together with the adults planted young fruit trees and bushes to commemorate the jubilees. Volunteers of the student organisation AIESEC were recreating the children for two hours with interesting games, competitions and contests. The busy festive day was concludes with a wonderful concert.
On behalf of our children, their SOS Mothers and all the Children's Village staff I would like to thank you for your being our constant supporters and staying with us especially in these economically challenging times and wish you MERRY CHRISTMAS and A HAPPY NEW YEAR.