5 stories of “Zaschita”/”Love’s bridge” that will make you believe in kindness
A year ago, this month our PR-manager, Valeria Smirnova, began working with us. Here, she shares with us her stories and testimonials. The moments where she says: “I’m proud of being a part of this team”.
Alice was a victim of cruel bullying at school. Despite being clever and beautiful, classmates gave her offensive nicknames, pushed her roughly and shamed anyone who would sit with her. One day the girl couldn’t bear it any longer and told everything to our psychologist, Anna. It turned out that the child was even receiving threat messages. It’s horrible to imagine the stress level experienced by this teenage girl who spent the majority of her life with people who hated her! However, I was surprised, when I heard this story for the first time after several months. I couldn’t understand who exactly this poor girl was. I saw children who seemed to be a united team, they sat next to each other, communicated happily and didn’t show any signs of aggression. When the pedagogues showed me Alice, I saw a happy girl who communicated with her classmates very naturally. However, she did look at others more attentively, as if she tried to catch every move and intonation. She could hardly believe her new class status. She had been accepted. Bullying is not only a problem with “difficult” classes, but also at elite schools. Only professional pedagogues and psychologists can solve it. I’m proud to be able to work with such gentle and professional people.
2. In the project “Reload yourself” the pedagogues and psychologists of “Zaschita”/ “Love’s bridge” worked with teenagers from closed institutions. After having gone through a correctional program, a survey was completed by participants. A young man wrote just one phrase: “My dreams have changed”. I think, we can definitely say that the mission of Love’s bridge was accomplished here.
3. Making the acquaintance of Andrey – a very touching moment. The boy suffers from cerebral palsy and has a special form of speech delay. He speaks slowly, with monosyllables and only to those who he fully trusts. Despite the fact that the category of children we work with is often called “difficult”, the philosophy of “Love’s bridge” is to accept everyone, including people with special needs. It was such a pleasure to see kindness and tolerance from the kids while communicating with Andrey. There are values that we need to install and Love’s bridge is a place where children can learn to develop this awareness on a deeper level.
4. One of the projects of “Zaschita”/ “Love’s bridge” was named “School without lessons”. Very often, when teenagers do their homework, without understanding the importance behind it. Especially, children from corrective classes where academic performance isn’t a priority. Volunteers came and helped children to do their homework. One of the girls from the center, Aya, was so excited with her studies that she entered the Perm State Pedagogical University in the faculty of foreign languages. Then she came to Love’s Bridge by herself.
5. The co-working of “Zaschita” and “Love’s Bridge” began in the 90s, during one of the most difficult periods in Russian history. At the time, these foreign volunteers came to our city, founded Love’s Bridge and opened 3 centers for children who lived on the street. The project named Forgotten children has become innovative. Our foreign friends brought a completely new approach to Russia. They taught children how to set goals for themselves. As a result, these children and young adults were able to establish independent, addiction free and self sufficient lives.Years passed, these volunteers, who became friends with the children and the pedagogues of the center, returned to their countries. What touched me a lot is the continued connection that still exists today: in correspondence, by phone or video connection – every conversation is full of warmth and caring for our center and the kids. It is amazing!
The project “Forgotten children” was the first project in our city created to address homelessness. As a result, some of the methods of Love’s bridge were taken into account on the city level and in several years the results were extremely positive – there were no longer homeless children in Perm.
“Zaschita” and “Love’s bridge” are not just names. Behind them there are many personal stories of children and adults who’s lives changed to the better.