Can you say stunned? The director at the
shelter showed us into the room where all the dorm furnishings and kitchen
cabinets were stacked and waiting to be assembled. Irina had no idea what
we still had in the van and trailer.
As we carried the next mammoth load into the room, she was like a kid. The
supplies we carried from Berlin, through Poland and Belarus, caused her to
hit sensory overload. She was speechless. No, as precious as she is, you
can never really say that about this lady. I think she has gills, as she
never draws a breath, but speaks nonstop. Lena has to interrupt her to
translate. After translating the main points, Lena just looks at us and
smiles as she says, “…and a bunch of other stuff.”
Richard, Nadia, and I put the colorful playhouse together, while Vitaly
and Max assembled toys and shelves. Stephanie and Donna entertained Irina,
trying to keep her from playing with the toys, as she donned the Punch and
Judy puppets and peeked through the puppet theater. I believe she touched
every toy. She has plans to use all these toys to help the children heal
from the trauma of broken homes. From her own past, Irina knew, from early
childhood, she wanted to help children in need.
UPDATE: We have already received word the
playroom is paying dividends. Irina sent word one of the kids needing
therapy would not cooperate. After allowing her to play in the playroom
for an hour, she complied and went to therapy.
This center is a revolutionary concept for
Russians. This type of shelter just doesn’t exist there. Irina has studied
all forms of child therapy. It is surprising to see the concepts she has
already employed, as they are some of the same techniques we have seen
used in Tanya Goldbeck’s clinic, in Beaumont.
Irina took us into the adjacent building where they have begun remodeling.
We were amazed at the work they were doing, rooms with one way mirrors to
observe the kids as they play, therapy rooms, rooms to aid in breathing,
physical therapy rooms, and others.
We cannot express our feelings, what excitement this brings. In the past,
these children, the true misfits of society, along with the physically
handicapped, were warehoused, literally, never to be seen in public,
again. How encouraging.
to view slide show of our visit to the shelter.
Click the buttons below to read about
each part of the story.