Society bears particular responsibility for a special category of children – children of Ukrainian defenders. This category of teenagers is outside the regular agenda of social and psychological projects, but they experience tremendous emotional tension caused by the war and family losses. Some of them have been experiencing war trauma since 2014. Against the backdrop of the war, Ukrainian teenagers are dealing with regular challenges of their age: immersing in the outside world, getting to know it, testing their capabilities in it, and figuring out a way to realize their potential.
The formation of healthy values shapes the capacity of the next generation to build a happy and prosperous future in Ukraine. Caring about the future of Ukraine, Razom fully sponsored a project called “School of soft skills development SSSD” designed and implemented by the Ukrainian NGO “ReSOURCE” and their team of experienced educators, psychologists, coaches, and activists.
From August 15 to 23, 2022, they organized a summer camp for teenagers from the families of Ukrainian soldiers who died defending their homes and those who continue fighting for peace and freedom on their land. Forty-six teenagers (12-16 yo) spent nine days at the sanatorium “Dibrova” in the Kyiv region. They had full board, attended workshops and excursions, and relaxed and socialized with peers.
Every participant got to learn how to:
- assess their capacity for offline learning after almost two years of attending classes only online;
- listen to each other and communicate productively;
- work effectively in teams;
- believe in themselves and inspire others;
- share individual experiences;
- respect and hold each other up.
Statistics of the 9-day program:
- 30 hours of studying;
- 20 hours of cultural and educational workshops;
- 6 hours of joint teamwork on self-started projects.
During the workshop “Ukrainian charms” on the first day of camp, the participants made patriotic guardian angel charms and bracelets. Some kids even made several charms to gift to their family and friends.
Soulful conversations and evenings together created unique emotions and joy that helped the teenagers get to know each other. They shared personal experiences and sang Ukrainian songs supporting the Armed Forces of Ukraine at the Karaoke evening “Guess the Melody.”
Together drew the picture “Ukraine is all of us!”; presented short TikTok videos “Soft skills of teenagers”; and simply chatted while playing board games.
One of the days, they watched the movie “Miracle” and discussed the questions about the meaning of life, family, friendship, love, and, most importantly, choosing to do good at every stage of life.
Another day, during the English-speaking club, they developed a business project called “Around Ukraine.” Working in teams, the participants chose exciting places in Ukraine they’d like to visit with friends, developed the route, supplies, and marketing plans, and then presented their business plan in English.
Morning group exercises energized and prepared the participants for the daily workshops. Inspiring hikes along the Ros River and the Arboretum of Oleksandriia provided an opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of the place where these children grew up. During the breaks, they talked about the Victory and plans for the future.
During the whole stay at the camp, each participant had the opportunity to receive individual psychological support on the issues concerning them.
This help wasn’t imposed, but instead offered casually during daily life. At times, psychologists and coaches supervising the camp noticed the change in the mood, behavior, or unwillingness to partake in one task. They asked them questions, trying to get to the root of the problem and find a solution together.
These conversations addressed a variety of issues: concern for the fate and health of parents fighting at the front lines; parents’ divorce; social anxiety; struggling with self-presentation and self-expression; isolation (as a result of remote schooling); inner conflicts in teams; uncertainty in choosing a future career.
The coaches were thrilled to see the drive, enthusiasm, and openness to knowledge that teenagers took with them into the world, and the feedback was the most gratifying thing:
“Everyone has to experience this.”
“This is a school that prepares for real life.”
“I finally became myself.”
The “ReSOURCE” team completed this project with great faith in Ukrainian youth and admiration for their capabilities, ideas, and desire to do great things for the country. After all, youth is the driving force of any society, and Razom and “ReSOURCE” are happy to help Ukrainian children grow.
The Razom Grants team aims to help local Ukrainian volunteer organizations to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to the people affected by the war.
Additional donation options available at www.razomforukraine.org/donate