Social service volunteer field trip
The main purpose of our trip to Belarus was to interact as volunteers and learn about social service work. In this program 11 college students from different states travelled to Belarus visiting orphanages, children’s hospice communities and boarding schools for orphans.
We visited a boarding school not far from Polotsk, which has 120 students from grades 1-12, who for one reason or another were deprived of their parents. They are taught the various trades to obtain professional habits which will help them in life after they graduate from the boarding school and are set out on their own. As part of the trip we learned of the children’s hospice at Samarian Rehabilitation Center for handicapped children, which is a joint project of the Pinsk Diocese Social Service Department and St. Barbara Convent of Pinsk. This year our “School piggy bank” program raised $11,000 for this hospice. This money will go towards the heating system of the hospice premises, including the church and all the buildings. The center is built with a church in the center and rooms surrounding it so that children in wheelchairs and even beds can be wheeled into the church.
We were able to participate is assisting the staff with light volunteer work at an orphanage for children with special needs in Minsk. Thanks to our “School piggy bank” program a special sensory park and petting zoo was built for the orphans. This park allows the children with special needs to engage and develop their sensory organs: vision, smell and touch. We were happy to see what benefit these children get from the sensory park.