More school without lessons
With the start of the new school year in September came the re-opening of our own “School without Lessons”. Our innovative project, which is now in its third year, is growing from strength to strength. The project coordinator Oksana is now working with 14 pairs of volunteers and children, who work together up to three times a week on a wide variety of school subjects. Our volunteer mentors use a wide range of interactive activities in order to gain their mentees’ interest in the subject, and inspire them to work hard at their subjects.
We have seen great results in the participants’ school grades, and have had very positive responses from participants’ parents and school teachers. We are also working hard to develop relations with local businesses and organizations, and give the participants a taste of what career they might go into with the skills they are developing at school. We are expecting even more children to come to us for help in the coming months, and are always on the look-out for new volunteers!
Work with young offenders
“Nikita is only nine years old, but is already serving a sentence for a serious crime. When I recently spoke to him, he told me with great difficulty about the feelings he was left with after a frightening dream. He dreamt that he was in prison, and had decided to try and escape. He had a moment of terrible realization of the responsibility of his actions and the implications that they were going to have on his future – if he tried to run away he would surely be prosecuted again and would remain in prison for several more years. Upon waking up, Nikita felt a huge sense of relief. He felt happy that he hadn’t made a further mistake which would have had even more of a detrimental effect on his life. Our work with Nikita and other children like him in the Perm Temporary Holding Centre for Young Offenders is vital and pressing. We are able to educate them in the most basic and fundamental way, in the way which their parents failed to do while they were at home. We can show them that even though they have made mistakes it’s possible to turn a corner, and avoid such terrible situations in the future.” – Svetlana Kozlova, Project Coordinator.
Love’s Bridge has been working with young offenders for several years now. The vast majority of those in young offender institutions are there for petty offences such as antisocial behaviour, shoplifting and fighting, although there is also a small number of children who have been involved in much more serious offences. Young offenders face a myriad of problems, both inside and outside their institutions, and we are often overwhelmed with the difficulties of the tasks set before us. Several years of experience have shown us where our strengths lie in this field, and we are pleased to be further developing relations with more young offender institutions in the region. Our main priorities in this field are:
- Helping young offenders within their institutions adapt to their situations, develop the skills to deal with anger and other emotions, analyze their feelings and successfully resolve conflicts;
- Helping young offenders (particularly those who are in prison for the first time) employ constructive coping strategies to relieve stress; and
- Enabling young offenders to realize the detriment their former lifestyle has had on their situations and motivate them to lead a more positive and constructive lifestyle.
The more celebrations – the better!
Volunteers from around the world have played a huge role in the life of Love’s Bridge, especially when it comes to celebrating different festivals. Halloween has become a much loved day of the year for all of us at the centres, and the children and teenagers take particular delight in this quite unusual day! On Halloween everyone seems to let their hair down, express their feelings and are able to leave all their negative feelings behind and look forward to fun, games and a lot of mess! Our staff and volunteers are able to find their “inner child” on this day, and seem to get as much out of the fun and games as the children do. Together we made costumes, a celebratory Halloween feast and prepared plenty of ghoulish games. For many of the children who come to our centres it is a rare and great opportunity to forget their troubles and enjoy a fantastic party!