The results of the volunteer autumn of the Foundation of Saint Andrew the First-Called
In autumn 2020 with support from the Foundation of Saint Andrew the First-Called over 55 distance meetings for volunteers were organized to meet people who appeared to be highly isolated in social welfare institutions.
Experts of the Foundation emphasize that people who stay at psycho-neurological institutions, residential facilities for children and at special centers of assistance for family upbringing do not cope well with the pandemic period.
Lack of contacts with the outer world, no new impressions or positive emotions worsen the comfort of their life; that’s what volunteers are trying to improve.
Regular online meetings with volunteers make it possible for people from the facilities to feel the warmth of communication, the attention and support, to meet new friends and people to talk to, to visit new places in the virtual world (for example, they get a chance to be a guest at the volunteer’s house or join an excursion around the Russian Museum). The people get the opportunity to express themselves and feel acknowledged, to acquire new communicative and creative skills. All of this is a chance for the person who got stuck in the institution due to the quarantine to feel that he or she is not alone, that such a person is part of the larger and active human society.
The list of activities the volunteers use includes discussions of vital topics, joint singing, intellectual games, creative workshops, virtual visits to a volunteer’s home, around museums or going for a walk, and even rehearsals for a joint online performance.The volunteers help different institutions including psycho-neurological care homes, the care home for children and the special center of assistance for family upbringing in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, along with the Kostroma region, the Kaluga region and the Vologda region. Gradually volunteers and the people they help establish trustworthy contacts, they write to each other and see each other as friends. Both the volunteers and residents of the facilities are looking forward to the moment when the pandemic restrictions are over and they will be able to forget the virtual world and meet face to face in the real one.