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Two Northwest Parishes St Spiridon’s and St Catherine’s have teamed up to host children from the affected Chernobyl region for a respite in the NW.
For the Children of the World is a Northwest non-profit organization that brings children from the Chernobyl region each summer for a health respite in the local area. Bringing the children away from the radiation for several months each year has been shown, and recognized by local health experts in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus (the regions most widely affected by Chernobyl radiation) to help them in their physical development, and lower their risk of diseases associated with the low levels of radiation still present in that area. While here they will have medical screening for one full day which will include dental, lab tests, and exams by specialists. The rest of the time they spend with their host family.
Reader Basil Miller, an Orthodox Christian of St. Spiridon’s in Seattle and board member is encouraging Orthodox families to host children. Hosting for the upcoming summer requires a commitment before the end of March, so if you are interested please check out the For The Children of the World web site, and/or contact Basil (basilflyGmail.com) personally for more information. Both St. Spiridon’s parish in Seattle, and St. Elizabeth’s parish in Poulsbo have grouped together and pooled their resources to host children. Basil would love to bring more Orthodox parishes and families into this rewarding outreach.
“As an Orthodox Christian who has hosted two different children over the last four years, and am now involved on the board of directors, it is my personal vision to try to get more Orthodox families involved in this program. Yes, it is a sacrifice, but it is something that is well worth it, when you consider that the children return home healthier and more vibrant than they were before, not to mention that they’ve had an opportunity that they will remember and cherish forever. As an Orthodox Christian, I’ve noted that many of these children have been baptized Orthodox as children, but haven’t attended Church in years, or perhaps never since their baptism, because there aren’t active Churches in the villages where they live. I have yet to meet a child that wasn’t an Orthodox Christian, sporting an Orthodox baptismal cross, and I’ve only met one child so far who attended Church on feast days because their family was wealthy enough to travel to a major city that had a Church. I envision a wonderful opportunity for a parish to basically “adopt” a couple of children for the summer and host them. Hosting can be split between families, for example, if several families are interested but only able to host the child for half the time. Also, it is a beautiful thing to see a parish come together and raise money for something like this that several families will be participating in directly.”
( “It is not necessary to know the Ukrainian or Russian/Belorussian languages to host these children. In fact, outside of my family, and one or two other families, we have 50 to 80 English-only speaking families each year host these children. The children come with generally one translator per 10 kids who travel with them, and help out as needed while here.” )
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