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Brief History (from our program flier)
After the worst nuclear accident at Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Soviet Union, an estimated 3 million people are suffering the effects of radioactive fallout on their agricultural lands and waterways.
Children Of Chernobyl Project
In 1990, Connie & Cliff McClain of Petaluma, CA traveled to the Soviet Union and witnessed the hardships suffered by many as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. They learned of respite programs that sent children throughout Europe to breathe uncontaminated air and eat uncontaminated food in hopes of strengthening their immune systems. In 1991, at the invitation of the McClains, the first group of ten children with their interpreter arrived in Petaluma for a six-week respite. Since then churches and organizations all over the world have been sponsoring children for respite care.
Since 2000, Bethel Lutheran Church has sponsored children from a community center in Borodyanka, Ukraine. The children, an interpreter, and chaperones spend 6 weeks in Madison with host families from Bethel’s congregation.
Health Recuperation Respite
The main focus of the program is providing dental, vision, and medical care for the children. They attend English and computer classes 3 mornings a week. And getting them out of their country and giving them clean air, pure water, and non-contaminated food help to strengthen their immune systems.
Ways You Can Help
These children will come to trust and depend on you. This visit will have a great impact on their lives and yours.
Not only are you providing them a respite from their living conditions, you are also exposing them to a different culture, a more open and democratic society, and a loving Christian home. It is a great adventure and an awesome responsibility. The most important roles of the host family are to provide the children visiting with:
•Day to day care in a stable environment.
•Wholesome food, clean air and water.
•Love that will make them feel at home in a foreign country.
Helping Hand Family
•Provide support to host family.
•Stay in close contact, visiting and assisting host family.
•Help with rides to medical appointments, shopping, day trips, and more.
Fundraising & Sponsorship
Circle Of Love Golf Outing is our primary source of funding for the program. There are many ways of helping, you don’t have to be a golfer to participate. Please consider being a Sponsor.
Our family is a host family and helper family…we have been blessed with an adorable 10 year old lady who speaks no English. (Yes, this will be an interesting six weeks! LOL). Friday, we took a bus to O’Hare with the rest of the host families and helpers to meet the children. We had signs, welcome gifties and simple snacks for their ride home (Bananas and water).
We got there just as the plane was landing and then ended up waiting for about 2 hours as they were going through customs. You can see Ms Sarah being a very patient little lady, it’s a good thing I had my “bag of tricks” to help keep her occupied!
My Mom brought flower leis for the ten children, one interpreter and one chaperon. It made it very easy to pick them out of the group and was very sweet.
🙂You can see that they all had suitcases with them…here is the sad part: They were all about 3/4 full of gifts for their host families and their two adult traveling companions. Russian chocolates, beautifully painted bowls and plates, hand made scarves, Ukrainian flags, neat magnets and more. They had so little in there for themselves! I figure it is one way for their families to keep their pride…so not necessary as that isn’t the reason we do it for them! No worries, our sweet Dasha (her nickname) is going home with a full suitcase – you will hear more and more about her over the six week visit.
Most of the kids either got sick or fell asleep on the bus ride home, they were just beat from the long travels. A few days with jet lag and then they perk up and can start having fun.
Welcome to the USA little Dasha!