Alyssa Lang traveled abroad in Novgorod, Russia this summer for six weeks. She took a Russian language and art/history class for the first four weeks. The last two weeks, she interned at a government-funded care home called Podrostok. Podrostok provides children from troubled families with breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the summer, and tutoring and counseling services during the school year. The goal of this organization is to provide these children with an opportunity to experience the world around them outside of their poor home life. Alyssa helped supervise excursions for the children around the city. Such excursions included touring St. Sophia’s Cathedral, boat rides around Novgorod, and visits to the Museum of Wooden Architecture. In addition to helping the workers supervise various excursions, Alyssa had the opportunity to teach the English Alphabet to the children with the help of a fellow intern. Interning at Podrostok not only helped her build on previous knowledge but also taught her new skills such as managing a classroom which she can use in the future. Along with the internship at Podrostok, she also helped her Russian teacher teach an English Class of seven to thirteen year olds. Alyssa engaged in class discussions with the students to help improve their conversational skills. The four students she talked with worked for the United Party of Russia headed by prime minister Putin himself. She got an opportunity to engage in a lot of political conversations about the war and the situation in Iraq. Such conversations not only broadened her view of the world but also encouraged her to become even more of a global citizen. Alyssa plans to return to Russia as soon as she can and is finding ways to continue her learning experiences in Russia here in the United States.
My group and I lead a Community Engagement Experience to fund a TOMS Shoes Program to provide shoes for less fortunate children in Greene County, Pennsylvania. We raised $1,500 from prominent businesses in the community, and were given a matching grant of $1,000 through the Community Impact Grant team. This money allowed us to initially fund the TOMS shoes and require less money from individuals. We asked community members to donate money to sponsor shoes for a child under the poverty line in Greene County. We presented at three churches in the area, as well as at a Waynesburg University staff meeting. We educated these members on the goal of Tom’s shoes, and gave them an opportunity to reach out to others in their community, while opening their eyes to the issue of global poverty. We advertised that another child in need overseas receives a pair of shoes along with a child in our community. The purchased pair of shoes goes to one of the less fortunate children in Greene County, and the second pair will be sent to a child in one of 23 participating countries. We gathered children from the Produce to People initiative in Waynesburg. The children who received the shoes in Greene County participated in a decorating party at the Salvation Army. During this time, they were able to personalize their own shoes with paints and markers, and learn about global poverty through the TOMS Documentary. Overall, we were able to purchase 72 pairs of TOMS shoes for children in Greene County.