Elizabeth Floyd (USA)
It seems to me that the project has done a wonderful job reacting quickly and effectively to the changing situation on Perm’s streets, adapting to somewhat new work at a new center with a slightly different population of kids in a relatively short period of time. The fact that despite turnover in staffing and administration, LB has managed to forge and maintain such a longstanding, personal relationship with the kids who have been visiting your centers for five or ten years really impressed me; that the folks at LB have an emotional connection with quite a number of these kids is surely an integral part of the success of the organization’s work – but also simply outstanding.
Also the creativity and continual variety of activities offered by the center impressed me and seemed an equally key element in keeping the kids involved and excited.
A highlight was definitely the rafting trip. Even having spent so little time with the older kids beforehand, their overnight transformation struck me as astounding. In my short time remaining after the trip, I never saw quite the same strength of character or childlike excitement in any of them as when rafting – such a valuable experience for all and a treat to witness. I wish we could somehow institute a longer-term city-escape program for the older kids.
I would definitely recomend volunteering with Love’s Bridge, although I would recommend staying for a longer period, at least 3-6 months, and probably not during summer, since the kids and staff are sparser. To me the opportunity both for independent, “hands-on” work with the kids and simultaneously to learn as much about the workings of a nonprofit founded on such an unusual Russian-foreign partnership is invaluable.
Roz Euan-Smith (UK)
I think it’s great how active the Project is and how many plans and ideas there are for the future. Just the range of activities and things the project does with and for the kids is great.
A highlight was getting to know some of the children better when we went camping with them. It was great that even the naughty kids relaxed, and were happy to just hang out and chat with us in the evenings.
I would like to volunteer again, because I enjoyed the experience, and felt it was worthwhile. And because I’d like to see people in Perm again.
I’d recommend Love’s Bridge to my friends, but only if they speak/study Russian, as I think it’s a great opportunity to see a different side of Russia, the work is challenging and worthwhile, and it’s great practice for your language.