Children Learn About Understanding and Empathy

Conflicting views and personalities can easily divide, but if there is mutual understanding and empathy between different people, love and peace can reign. Youth volunteers in Omsk are working hard to teach orphans these values, and thankfully, by the grace of God, the children have received the lessons well.

The volunteers anchored the activities on group interaction. At the top of the day’s program, the children were paired off and asked to identify 3 similarities and differences between them. Each pair was then made to present their answers to the whole group so that all may come to know each other better, as well as figure out together which pair had the most in common.

The second part of the program posed more serious questions for the children to consider: “What are you feeling now?,” Why are you grateful that you know this person?”“What is special about him or her?”These gave them the opportunity to reveal their inner thoughts and feelings, as well as expand their capacity to understand and empathize with one another.

Games designed to stimulate brain development and improve social skills were also incorporated into the program, as well as a refreshing “tea time” to help wind down the day. All in all, the activities were a success, with the volunteers receiving positive feedback from the grateful children.

Isabella, a Polish exchange student majoring in social work, joined the volunteer team for the first time in the hopes of learning how to successfully interact with troubled kids while helping them get socially adapted. Her enthusiasm made the children more comfortable and confident during the activities, so much so that one of them asked if she could enroll in Allies’ English courses.

Another orphan, Vanya, is also keen on pursuing his goals, but his situation is proving to be more difficult than the others. He wishes to attend driving school, but because his medical records reflect his past admission to a mental hospital (for smoking tobacco), his foster family and the administration will not allow him. The volunteers took the time to talk to him during the visit, urging him to reconsider staying in the orphanage and cooperating with the social work department, emphasizing that this is the most ideal way towards earning his driver’s license.

With God’s help and support from partners like you, there is hope for Vanya, who the volunteers describe as being very friendly and bright.