After my first volunteer experience in the stables, I had a little break. About 5 month I focused on my university studying and language courses. But few months later students of my university got an invite letter (it was 2013) to a special event: “Easter gladness” (rus Пасхальная радость). This event is a special festival for children with different disabilities from many Russian cities. Sergiev Posad (my home-town) was picked ’cause it is widely thought as Orthodox capital.
So social department invited volunteers to
- Coordinate activities with teachers and tutors
- Provide information about the program
- Control time
- Assist in orienting in the city
After this event social department’s manager invited me to cooperation. Next move was “1st September act” (1st September is the day when new studying year starts). That act was about charity. Firstly I got a list of large families and families with disabled children. After that I called them and asked about what they and their children need for school. The most typical things were books, supply cupboard, clothes, toys and so on. The first thing which I noticed – suspicion. They repeated few questions:
- Who are you?
- Where did you get our number?
- It is not fun, you know?
But also I faced another reaction: crying and praying about what we did. Those moments were very hard, ’cause I knew that I was doing nothing here. When we got all info, we published it in a special sites where people provided different things from our lists. It took about 2 weeks to get everything and then we collected it in the office. One of the most difficult part was to divide that all. The office was absolutely packed to capacity. We spent about 6 hours to put in different bags and then we started inviting families to take their things. Our reward was the best: meeting happy families’ faces and getting thankful words.
The next event where I was invited is New Year’s holiday. In the beginning I was asked about help as previous time: calling families and getting information about what presents the children would like to get for New Year. The process was definitely the same: we published info about necessary presents, waited about 2 weeks, collected them. Nothing special. When we got everything we need, I was called again and asked about to be Ded Moroz (Santa Claus). I was quite surprised about that, ’cause I’d never thought about that and also I know that my dramatic skill is quite low. But I couldn’t reject that offer, first of all because I liked the manager, secondly, I wanted new experience. And here we go. On 30 December I masked Santa Claus was visiting about 5 families in Sergiev Posad. The most pleasant thing was children’s eye worship and parents’ grateful glances. I’ll never forget how humble the children were and how thankful they were for colored pencils and colouring books. The most simple things can bring the most happiness. I got my happiness those days and thank for that.
There is a special TV-episode about New Year volunteer, You can watch it Here