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Service Programs

UPF Partners in the All-Russia Week of Goodness

Moscow, Russia - UPF-Russia initiated programs during the fifteenth annual Spring Week of Goodness April 16-24. Events with the slogan “We Create Our Future Together” took place throughout Russia. A variety of projects drew the attention of volunteers, from cleaning streets and yards to charitable activities in veterans’ homes and orphanages.

This annual week of activities promotes the idea and values of volunteering and stimulates creative ways to engage people in doing something for the greater good. It involves young people in social activity and encourages cooperation between the institutions of civil society and state and local authorities to solve social problems by combined efforts. The goals and objectives of the Spring Week of Goodness correspond with state policies promoting volunteerism and involving youth in resolving social issues.

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UPF and its Young Ambassadors for Peace were enthusiastic participants in events in a number of cities. Events organized by UPF included:

Mister and Miss University Pageant in Moscow, April 16

Inside the hospitable walls of the Russian State Social University, the final competition in beauty of character and lifestyle “Mister and Miss University 2011” took place on April 16. Students competed for honors by demonstrating a good moral outlook and social engagement. Contestants went to orphanages, made videos, wrote poetry, and did other creative activities that expressed their heart of living for the sake of others.

Among the participants were Russian and foreign students at the Moscow State University, Russia International Friendship University, Moscow Academy of Economics and Law, Agricultural Academy, Oil and Gas University, Russian Humanitarian University, and Moscow Construction University.

The Russian State Social University offered their location for free because their students are interested in seeing the pageant. Participants dress in beautiful dresses and suits provided by top designers. Sponsors provided prizes, make-up, and gifts for contestants. Catering companies brought refreshments to promote their services.

The pageant showcases beauty of character and a healthy lifestyle along with moral and family values; it promotes volunteerism and peacemaking in the students’ milieu. The participants demonstrated their creative abilities proving that friendship and love can change the world. On their way to victory, the contestants participated in two round-table discussions about the challenges of peacemaking and family values.

Volunteering at the Social Adaptation Center for refugee children brought them even closer together. The project proved that people of different cultural, traditional, and national backgrounds and speaking different languages can not only change the world but also make it better, free from violence and hatred.

For many years, the pageant has been showcasing the importance of the beauty of the human mind. The competition was very instructive and deductive for the participants, who sincerely wanted to prove that friendship, kindness, and love can dwell eternally in this world.

Orphans Volunteer in Novosibirsk, April 16-23

Two grassroots organizations of Novosibirsk, the Women’s Initiative Creative Association and UPF-Siberia, united their efforts to carry out the joint project “Social reception room for future volunteers and peacemakers – graduates of children’s homes.”

The program that consisted of seminars, lectures, trainings, and master-classes took place in the period of April 16 – 23. Among the participants were children’s homes graduates of 2011. They watched the first presentation of the film “This wonderful world” about nature produced by the well-known Russian photo-artist Vyacheslav Nikolayevich Izraztsov, who for many years collected materials for this film taking them right from the wild nature. Watching the film, children felt their involvement in the wonderful and kind world of nature. Then the two organizations presented their projects in the spheres of volunteerism and peacemaking.

The participants were invited to work as active volunteers and peacemakers. The teenagers were told about socially important volunteer projects that could be carried out in our city and beyond and about interesting ideas for organizing their leisure time for the common benefit. For boys and girls on the cusp of adulthood, it was a good chance for them to show their worth in good deeds.

Among the participants in the Spring Week of Goodness there were children’s homes graduates, students and schoolchildren. The seminar participants accepted a new notion: peacemaking as value-oriented volunteerism. The themes like: human purpose in our world in the light of true love to people and nature; learning to listen and speak; preventing and solving conflicts etc. All that resulted in three volunteer projects with the mission of volunteerism, chosen out of 12 generally presented.

The winning projects were: “Clean City,” “Leisure Time for Teenagers,” and “Knowing and Respecting Laws.” The development process of the chosen projects will continue beyond the Week of Goodness.

Finally, on April 23, participants came to the community work day that culminated the Spring Week of Goodness by cleaning an area that was important to the city.

These activities were organized by Nadezhda Alexandrovna Latrygina, President of Women’s Initiative Creative Association, and Dmitry Oficerov, Secretary General of UPF, Siberian chapter.

The Young Ambassadors for Peace together with children beautified the territory of the St. Nickolas children’s home on April 23. They found planting stock and sponsors and then made serious preparation before visiting the children. Five years ago, they started contacting the administration and residents of the children’s home. Now they often come to visit children and organize interesting programs for them. The volunteers decided to plant trees as a token of friendship and hope.

The website of the St. Nickolas orphanage has this report: "Within the Spring Week of Goodness, in our children’s home there took place the volunteer project “Plant a Tree – Do Good to a Child.” The idea was carried by out 17 volunteers including university students and UPF Young Ambassadors for Peace. Volunteers inspired the children to join in the project and plant their personal trees. The idea kindled the hearts of the children! In spite of a strong and cold wind they came out to plant their personal trees. Children worked together with volunteers. In all, they planted 16 saplings. The children promised to look after the plantings and regularly water them."

The director of the children’s home, Sister Barbara, participated in the event. Afterwards, she invited all activists to tea and gave to each a chocolate egg in celebration of the Easter. We saw joy in children’s eyes and smiles on the faces of the volunteers, when near the orphanage there appeared a grove of young trees.

Master Class in Mandala Making in Yekaterinburg, April 19

UPF-Urals offered a master class in making mandalas at the Center of Social Aid to inhabitants of the Verkh-Isetsk district, Sverdlovsk region, on April 19. This charitable event for pensioners and Center workers was initiated by the wonderful handcraft expert Yulia Kazarina in honor of the Spring Week of Goodness.

The mandalas were done in the Native American "Ojo de Dios" style, a Spanish phrase meaning “God’s eye.” The braiding can be done in different patterns, all of them resembling an eye. This kind of handicraft is very simple, very beautiful and diverse in the result. The process of making mandalas helps reduce stress, which causes many ailments, and develops creative potential. Besides, this technique is quite new for Yekaterinburg.

This activity was a source of great joy and satisfaction for the participants in the master class. Yulia reported that the event will remain in her memory a long time. Through sharing her skill and love with the people she received in answer gratitude and love.

Dreaming of the Stars in Perm, April 20

During Russia's Year of Astronautics, activists of the Perm regional chapter of the Women's Federation for World Peace of Yekaterinburg  took up the idea of the Spring Week of Goodness. On the invitation of the president of the Women’s Federation, Lyubov Kuklina, children in School No. 116 in Perm met the chair of the Perm organization of missile and space corps, D.P. Glotin. He told the children about the formation and development of Russian Astronautics. At the end of the meeting, they watched the documentary “Star Detachment” about the first 20 astronauts. The children were very much interested and asked many questions.

Lyubov Kuklina, together with a volunteer of the Women’s Federation, N. Kosareva, continued the space theme by inviting the children to visit the museum of the Perm machine-building plant, where parts of spacecrafts were produced. Many children didn’t know that their native city was so involved in space exploration and that their grandparents and parents had made such a big impact on the history of human space exploration.

We consider such meetings very valuable because they help preserve historical facts that are worth being proud of. They also help young hearts to share the "big dream" that will stimulate their desire to improve and be their guiding star in choosing life priorities.

Play Football Make Peace in Moscow, April 22

Several teams of children and youth responded to the invitation not only to play football but also show through the means of sports an example of healthy lifestyle, mutual respect, and friendship. No doubt, all teams wanted to be winners, but the winner in the fair play was the team of the Lyublino Center of Social Aid to families and children. The second was the sports association “Lyublino”; the third was the team “Children of the Streets” from the southeast district of Moscow.

We would like to express our special appreciation to the team leaders who perfectly understood the importance of teaching the children moral values not only during class-hours, but also at such practical events where teenagers could feel their own involvement in something great. Those days many of their peers also participated in different events related to the Spring Week of Goodness.

Visiting a Veterans' Home in Moscow, April 22

At the Veterans’ Home in the Konkovo district of Moscow, members of the "Little Angels" group performed on April 22 in the hopes of bringing joy to the hearts of the veterans and thank them for their sacrificial service for the motherland. Young artists sang, danced, and recited poetry. It was so nice to behold sincere smiles and tears of joy on the faces of the veterans.

Two weeks before their visit, the children made greeting cards by their own hands, studiously decorated them, and wrote their best wishes to the veterans. The best drawings were also brought by the children and handed to the residents of the veterans' home. After the performance, the children gave their cards to the veterans.

Thereafter, children visited the rooms of some of the invalid veterans who couldn’t come to the performance. They congratulated the veterans on the coming Day of Victory, handed them greeting cards, and sang a song and recited poetry. The elderly people were deeply moved; they asked children to stay longer. Also the children were very much interested because they felt that they not only brought joy to the people but learned many interesting facts about the lives of those who defended our motherland at the risk of their lives. This day will stay in the memory of both children and veterans.

The veterans asked the children to visit them again and again and the children confirmed their desire to come to the Veterans’ Home more often. They will visit the Veterans’ Home right preparing a new performance and new gifts!

The project was organized by the Women's Federation for World Peace.

Cleaning the Red Partisans Street in Pokrovskoye, April 23

Initiated by the Ambassador for Peace, Olga Vorobyova, a primary school teacher in the village of Pokrovskoe in the Ural region, inhabitants of the Red Partisans Street jointly decided to properly clear up their street. With this in mind, they gathered together on Saturday April 23, and furnished with garbage bags they started walking along the street collecting the amassed road-side litter. At the beginning they thought it would be an easy job, but the result was eight big bags of garbage. They tried to do their best. In the end they felt very tired (the bags were very heavy) but quite satisfied with their work. The participants hope that the adults will take their example and come out to clean the territory near their houses. They think that keeping the planet clear depends first of all on cleanness of each home.

The act this April woke up the village. After this project the more and more villagers cleaned the park. They delivered drinking water to the elderly people. They held a village-wide meeting to discuss how to keep the Village clean and beautiful. During the meeting they distributed leaflets to the people encouraging them to keep their home-town clean. A report signed by eight villagers came to the address of the Universal Peace Federation.

UPF-Russia is continuing with the project “City Helps the Village," with organizing grassroots exchanges between the people of Pokrovskoye and the nearby city of Yekaterinburg. Multiplied to the dozens of thousands of villages in Russia it will clean the nation.

Cleaning a historical park in Yekaterinburg, April 23

Volunteers cleaned up the Sensor Park area of the Kharitonovsky Park, a famous historical site in the city), on April 23. This was the third April community work, and has become a good tradition tradition. Each citizen can participate in improving the external appearance of Yekaterinburg, making it fit not only for outings but also for spiritual education of children. This time the initiators chose for trimming the sensor park planted according to the concept of Professor G.P. Sikorska.

Not only the regular participants but also new enthusiasts gathered together on a Saturday morning in the park. From all our heart, we would like to congratulate School No. 60 on starting this new initiative (by the way, the school has been developing the topic-related project “Ecological education of children and adults from city outskirts” for the past six years), and we highly appreciate the efforts of the teachers I.G. Zaitzeva, L.M. Shovghenyuk, and S.N. Kurbatova and students from the seventh through ninth forms.

People of all ages participated, including children who came together with their parents. Some of the passers-by inspired by the spirit of the action joined the participants.

As is the tradition after such clean-ups, teachers from the city's ecological center walked with the children around the park and showed them the little zoo area belonging to the Center.

"Run Hour" in Moscow, Nizhni Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Pokrovskoye, Rostov, Tula, Ufa, Yekaterinburg and more

The “Run Hour” program was initiated in Urals region in 2008 by youth Peace Ambassadors as a monthly activity [see report]. It was adopted by the Moscow City government this year as part of the Russian National Week of Goodness. Other cities took up the program even without UPF participation, and we do not know the extent of the program.

Its appeal transcends national boundaries, and UPF-Georgia also sponsored a "Run Hour" in the capital, Tbilisi.

Sharing Stories of Old Photos, Yekaterinburg

UPF-Yekaterinburg organized two meetings in support of the Spring Week of Goodness aimed at the revival of family traditions. There were altogether 45 participants.

"Old Photo Stories" was the title of the meetings. The participants showed photos from their family album and told about their relatives who worked during the Second World War on the home front in different cities of our motherland. The described the hardships they endured on the way to the long-awaited victory. Studying family history helps family members to better understand and value each other and thus strengthen mutual love and respect, which will manifest itself in mutual care and support. Disconnect between generations leads to a deficit of communication and an “emotional hunger” that are equally destructive for both old and young. Therefore, the events of the kind are beneficial not only for participants but also for the whole society.

Organizers expressed gratitude to the municipal Club of children’s creativity “Fantasy”, the library informational center “Pravoberezhny,” family club “Our World, My Family and I,” the teachers and fourth-year students of School #74.

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