On February 1, 2014 a charitable Masquerade Ball took place in a former villa of count Saltykov (now the Culture Center of the Russian Armed Forces). The event was organized by HOPE worldwide – Russia and „Games of the Future”(an interregional public organization) with the support of the Strategic Initiatives Agency…
120 children from 16 orphanages in Moscow along with 100 volunteers who work with the children and 40 guests who represent large companies and Charitable Funds took part in the charitable Masquerade Ball.
The ball, part of Noon’s Project, was designed primarily for the children and is an integrated part of the curriculum. The main purpose of the ball was to give orphans the opportunity to interact with adults in a new format – as equals. In order to help the children with this, a special game was prepared that promoted constructive meaningful contacts between children and adults. The children earned points for interacting with adults according to specific rules; these points were then exchanged for gifts.
The following representatives from the companies who organized and worked together for this event, gave a welcome speach to all participants and guests of the Ball: Vladimir Molodyh (Chairman of the Board of “Future Games”), Sergei Korobenko (President of Hope Worldwide – Russia) and Nadezhda Smirnova (Director of the Department of ASI social projects).
As Nadezhda Smirnova from the Agency of Strategic Initiatives noted, promising techniques should be launched not only in Moscow where boarding schools are taken good care of, but also in the Regions where the situation is much worse. Some guests who visited the ball include: Anna Puchkova (President of CF “Mosaic of Happiness”), Alyona Makova (Executive Director, “Yopolis”), Oleg Molodyh (Chief Financial Officer, “Infosystems Jet”), Margarita Telunts (manager of the charitable program “Blue Bird”, Bank Home Credit), Nadezhda Smirnova (head of Department of Projects Support, Agency of Strategic Initiatives), Ekaterina Pustynskaya (Project Manager, Agency of Strategic Initiatives), Vlada Muravyova (coordinator of the Expert Group on NGO Legislation in the Analytical Center of the Government of the Russian Federation), Nadezhda Yanushkevich (Senior Manager of Human Resources, «КРОК» (CROC)), Natalia Gridneva (Public Relations Manager of the “Rusfond” Directorate), Anna Alexandrova (Head of Marketing Department and Public Relations, “PPF Life Insurance”)
Some of the participants of the ball shared their impressions:
Vlada Muravyova (Analytical Center of the Government of the Russian Federation):
„Being engaged in the implementation of various forms and tools of the non-profit sector in Russia for a long while, I am convinced that it is pointless and disadvantageous to implement projects supporting different categories of people (elderly, disabled, children-orphans, children left without parental care, and others) without any initiative from below or without people who care as the law is imperfect and lies await at any time and place”. I was happy to find out about the “Noon Project” last autumn. First of all I am glad because though a large number of non-profit organizations and volunteer groups are working in this area in Russia, many children are still not being reached by their successful socialization initiatives. Secondly, the projects initiated for the youth in Russia are less than for the older generation which is a dangerous trend. At the ball I saw many people, children and adults, confidently dancing the waltz, the gallop, and other dances: it was just beautiful. This is a skill that transforms and makes the children self-confident – and it will always stay with them. It will always have an impact at other balls and dance parties which I hope will be many in their future life”.
Alyona Makova (Executive Director, “Yopolis”):
This “ball” is a real fairy-tale for both children and adults which I am sure they will remember for a long time. It is a beautiful opportunity which allows us to dream and believe. ”
Yuliya (a volunteer, CF „To help children-orphans“):
There was a wonderful, even fantastic atmosphere at the ball! There were a lot of children and adults dancing, playing, taking pictures; joyous laughter was echoing everywhere! Everyone looked elegant: ladies in dresses looked like princesses and gentlemen looked like real lords! In the beginning, the children felt embarrassed to dance, but organizers quickly helped them by forming a big circle. The dances were varied and organized in a way that children could get to know several partners during the songs. ??There were also traditional dances, dances alike “brook” game, etc. If someone was tired or hungry, they could enjoy some food or a drink in a nearby “cafe” where a large range of snacks and drinks were prepared. The children who didn’t feel like dancing were playing different games earning colorful tickets and exchanging them for something they wanted in the store. I even enjoyed the games! They were extraordinary and since we never played games like this with our children, we will remember them for our own use! We split up on teams and ran in groups around the hall which was very exciting. Then we played in the play area, and afterward we searched for those who had rare yellow and turquoise tickets so we could take a picture together with them. Sometimes children from other institutions were joining us. The children were enthusiastic! I would especially like to personally thank the organizers of this ball. It was a great pleasure to be at this event!!!
Nadezhda Yanushkevich (“CROC” (КРОК)):
“It is impossible to dance the polka with a serious, indifferent or unhappy face – the atmosphere of the ballroom had quite a different emotion. Waltz! Cotillion! I cannot express how happy I was to watch the inspired, festive, happy faces of visitors to this charitable ball. Everyone enjoyed the atmosphere where girls danced easily and gentlemen showed a great gallantry. I was amazed because I know from experience that it is difficult sometimes to encourage even bold adults to dance and here I saw children dancing too. I watched many couples who kept dancing, learning and enjoying without any shame even when some moves didn’t go perfect. I don’t know exactly how to describe what I saw going on – socialization, co-creation, physical and aesthetic development, and probably other things – but its usefulness for the children is beyond doubt. Thank you, organizers! Do not stop, keep dancing!”
The “Noon Project” is a three-year course of educational role-playing games where children-orphans acquire social skills needed for successful life in society. Thanks to the “Noon Project” children learn to be independent, set goals, organize teamwork, communicate with people and constructively solve problems. The method of educational role-playing games was developed by the Center for Interactive Educational Technologies of Lomonosov Moscow State University This project is approved by the Expert Community, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives under the chairmanship of V.V. Putin, the President of the Russian Federation.
HOW TO HELP?
At this time, the “Noon Project” works with five orphanages in three cities in Russia, but for further development of the project, financial help is needed. The developers are ready to launch this program in hundreds of orphanages in the whole country and are looking for partners who can help to make that happen.
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