Christmas Eve at Spaso House

Карпюк 5 Тема 3 Урок 3 Reading Сторінки 112-114

Christmas Eve at Spaso House

Christmas Eve at Spaso House

The residence of the US Ambassador to Russia hosted &# 171; Best friends&# 187;

Christmas Eve at Spaso House

Donna Norton, wife of the United States Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, hosted a New Year’s Eve reception for Russian children with developmental disabilities at the residence.

It was a real New Year: under a huge, up to the ceiling, Christmas tree, with Santa Claus, funny dances, music, card tricks and homemade Christmas tree decorations. Children sat at large tables, which could be reached in wheelchairs, and made garlands and snowmen. All the snowmen turned out to be different, they wanted to immediately hang them on the tree, and the children took the garlands with them.

More than 150 young people with and without disabilities gathered at Spaso House – members of the Best Friends Foundation in Russia.

The international volunteer movement “Best Friends” was founded in 1989 in the USA by Anthony Kennedy Shriver. It is the world’s largest non-profit organization that provides new opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.

Although, many children were impressed not only by the program of the evening, but also by the residence of the US Ambassador to Russia itself. Nikita, a Foundation member and one of the best dancers of the evening, told the Voice of America Russian Service that he had never seen such halls: “I really liked it. So many impressions. This is my first visit to such an embassy. And the shock was that such guests came – Natalya Chistyakova, and I met her. In general, it seems to me that this is some kind of extraordinary evening! “

Natalya Chistyakova-Ionova, or Gluk’oZa – Ambassador of Friendship of the Foundation. She and other guests came to celebrate a serious date: three years of the Foundation in Russia.

In a conversation with Voice of America, Vice President of Best Buddies International Alexander Dessauer said that he came to Moscow to celebrate “all these wonderful friendships that have arisen thanks to Best Friends.”.

Dessauer said that Anthony Kennedy Shriver was inspired by his mother, Youness Kennedy. She first organized the “Special Olympics” in the United States, and “Anthony Kennedy, when he was still a student, realized that people with intellectual disabilities can be great friends. They can teach us as much as we can teach them. It was this friendship that became the main idea of ​​the organization “Best Friends” “.

“We are very pleased to be here today and celebrate our third birthday here in Moscow. We are so grateful for the tremendous support we have received from children and adults, teachers and volunteers. This is an amazing experience. I am very happy to see so many young people here, ”said Alexander Dessauer.

Donna Norton, wife of the United States Ambassador to Russia, supports the “integration of persons with developmental disabilities into society.” “This organization is doing important work in Russia and around the world. We hope that this event will be a small part of the realization of her mission. We love it when our house is filled with joy and laughter “.

“Best friends” in Russia

Correspondent of the Russian service “Voice of America” ​​spoke with the director of the fund “Best Friends” in Russia Denis Rosa.

Anastasia Laukkanen: Tell us how the program came to Russia?

Denis Roza: The Best Friends program came to us from the USA. There, this program is already 22 years old, so we try to use their experience, as well as international experience. I must say that all this is organized so well that we communicate with people from different countries, from Europe, from Asia. After all, there are “Best Friends” in 50 countries. You can learn from all of them..

We have a goal: to help people with disabilities and developmental disabilities communicate with healthy peers, students and schoolchildren. The main thing is that they should be friends, just humanly. Of course, this is unusual for some. A lot of young people have never communicated with people with disabilities in their lives. And this is where difficulties sometimes begin. And children and youth want such communication, they come to us, and our most important task is to enlighten and teach them this communication. Sometimes we arrange evenings like tonight so that people can communicate with each other without experiencing any inconvenience..

We also conduct various trainings where we discuss disability issues, show films, sometimes we invite parents of children with disabilities – they talk about themselves.

Christmas Eve at Spaso House

A.L .: How children become friends?

D.R .: We find people with similar interests. Someone likes to walk together, someone – to go to museums or theaters. That is, something should unite a person with and without a disability. And they start to be friends.

A.L .: How new people find you?

D.R .: Many people come through our site. We ourselves go to different centers for people with disabilities, special schools. We tell, we discuss. We work with school and university administrations.

A.L .: How was the program perceived when you first came to Russia? Was it difficult to adapt it in the country? After all, the culture of communication with people with disabilities in Russia is different from the United States..

D.R .: This is a very interesting process. Another thing is that, for example, 50 people come to our meeting, but in the end there are less than ten left in the organization. The hardest thing, it seems, is to understand that this is not a one-day event, it is a choice, a responsible attitude for a long time. You have to participate as a volunteer for a whole school year. Therefore, you need to evaluate your time and understand how this will happen. The conditions are the same for schoolchildren and students. Some universities even come to us on their own, they have initiative groups.

Of course, this is a complex program in many ways. But it’s worth it because it gives the guys a lot. After all, they really start to be friends. Do you know what they told me today? One person who works at the center with children with autism. He said: “You know, I notice that children are no longer afraid.” And the children themselves are less afraid. Some of the children from his center are at this celebration. They feel comfortable and they are not shy. And this is the first important step.

A.L .: In your opinion, what are the main results of the three years of work of the fund in Russia?

D.R .: The biggest change in three years is the fact that more and more people want to participate. At the very beginning, parents were even afraid to let their children go. They kept asking: why would an ordinary child communicate with my son? They did not believe that it was possible, but now their attitude has also changed. They tell others and more and more people want to participate in the program.

Of course, we have many plans ahead of us. While we are only in Moscow, we would very much like to start working in other cities. We are doing new leadership training programs. We want to give children with disabilities new skills. They learn to plan their lives. Together they discuss their dreams, their plans. This year there have already been 10 such classes..

A.L .: And only children can be volunteers?

D.R .: There are programs for adults. While this is an experiment for us, we work only with schools and universities, with adults it is more difficult, and it is not always clear where a person came from. Although we already have three members who have found friends here. So, we think about it in big plans for the future..

“I was not ready for friendship”

Anastasia Vagina – volunteer and student of the PRUE. Plekhanov, has been working with Best Friends for about a year and a half. “I was in my first year,” says Nastya. – We held a master class at the university, I liked the program, and I decided to try.

At first, everyone who was in the program was divided into two groups: those who are ready to be friends, and those who are not. And I was among those who are not really ready. But then, after a while, we celebrated Valentine’s Day. And I liked the atmosphere so much, how it all happened, the children, their energy and positive attitude, and now I have not one friend in the program, but two ”.

When asked what has changed in a year and a half, Nastya proudly told about her own club at the university: “There are 15 people in the club. These are those who want to be friends and are friends. There are about 10 more people, they help to organize various events and evenings. I hope that I will be able to further develop the club, attract more people to it, arrange regular meetings and discussions “.

Christmas Eve at Spaso House

Similar articles