Helping One Girl Find Safety, At School & With Friends

Advance’s advocacy and development center was established in 2000 in Beregovo, Ukraine to improve the welfare of children in at-risk families. The organization focuses on the children’s mental and physical health and helps them improve their abilities at school. Since January 2014, Childhood has been funding their after-school program, providing local at-risk students with tutoring and psychological support.

Students at Advance's after school program.

Every year, Childhood’s project managers travel around the world to conduct interviews and meeting with the staff we support. During our most recent trip to the Ukraine, teachers from local schools told Childhood about how the students attending Advance’s after-school program had dramatically improved in class. After joining the program, one girl stopped starting fights and began making friends. This is her story:

Before her teachers referred her to Advance’s after-school program, one 5th grader named Anastasia* rarely paid attention in class or talked to teachers or classmates. She lived with her grandmother, great grandmother and uncle in a one room apartment. Her uncle often drank and became violent, forcing the Anastasia and her family to flee their home. Without an outlet to discuss the traumatic experiences from home, unable to understand why this was happening, the girl turned away from the other children and became distracted in class.

Since Anastasia began to receive psychological and educational support, she has never missed a day of school. Advance’s counseling and education support is helping Anastasia cope with her trauma, giving her tools to keep safe and showing her that school can be a fun place to go each day. She now participates in class and has developed friendships with other students.

By intervening in the lives of at-risk youth, Childhood, and projects like Advance, can strengthen their educational, social, and psychological futures.

*Anastasia’s name has been changed for her protection.

Text by: Thomas Brande

Photo Credit: Advance