Friday, September 14, 2012

Do Good Ukraine!

Do Good Ukraine! and The World of Creativity 
JCC Youth volunteer initiatives for vulnerable populations, volunteer event  at the orphanage in Kiraba

Do Good Ukraine! is a unique project launched by JDC in December 2008 that aims to foster a national culture of voluntarism by encouraging youth participation in civil society and by collaborating with existing local networks in Eastern Ukraine to strengthen the third sector.  

Individuals and non-profit organizations are linked to volunteer opportunities through the Do Good, Ukraine! interactive web-based forum (

Do Good, Ukraine! coordinators (“Metsuda” graduates)  who work in the project cities of Donetsk and Zaporozhye organize volunteer activities in their local communities.  They focus on programs that expose young people to the concept of volunteering and attract surrounding social-networking organizations seeking to collaborate.

There are a lot of JCC volunteers in the special needs orphanage program; lots of different activities – dancing, balloon making, arts. SABINA is the coordinator (blonde in white dress), set up the group as part of her Metsuda project, now she has 15 volunteers helping 400 in the orphanage, they work with 12 institutions. They also collect in-kind donations for the kids.

It’s so difficult for these kids and you can see how these volunteers care, make an effort, show their kindness and love. They're mostly students or young professionals. There are kids with severe disabilities, retardation, one girl who looks 4 but is 14.

Sabina: volunteering is part of my life, I'm a part-time teacher for early childhood, also at the JCC part-time. It’s in my power if not to change the world then at least to help improve it. If I can see that I can do something then I’ll do it. It’s so rewarding to see the results. It’s important to see smiles.

Sabina didn’t know she was Jewish; she came with friends several years ago to the JCC and then discovered she's Jewish; she met her husband in the Metsudah program, now they're a very Jewish family – she jokes “I was his Metsudah project,” to set up a Jewish family. I was a blank sheet of paper and step by step I added letters on to the page. God sent me to the JCC because I didn’t know I was Jewish. Maybe intuition. I was 18, now I'm 26. (Father is Jewish, mother isn’t).

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