Dear CIRPCA Community, I realize that you all probably get a lot of these on here, but I thought I would give it a shot. After all, any little bit helps... MyMessage 1 of 1 , Apr 19, 2012View SourceDear CIRPCA Community,
I realize that you all probably get a lot of these on here, but I thought I would give it a shot. After all, any little bit helps...
My name is Andrew Cartwright, and I'm a native Hoosier--I graduated in 2001 Decatur Central HS on Indy's southwest side and have since earned degrees from both Wabash College in Crawfordsville and IU-Bloomington. I'm currently serving as a TEFL volunteer in Ukraine and I have about 7 months before I come back home. Not much time, but still enough to do something worthwhile.
Which brings me to my next point. for the most part, my role here is teaching English, both language and literature, to university students, and this has been a great experience. But, the most rewarding time in my service was one week last summer when I worked as a counselor at a summer camp for Ukrainian youth who are infected and affected by HIV, called Camp OHALOW (Overcoming HIV And Leading Our World). Last year was Camp OHALOW's first year of existence; over 30 kids showed up to a small woodsy camp site in eastern Ukraine, and we all had just about the best week of our lives. No kidding!
Ukraine has currently has the highest infection rate in all of Europe, and as such it affects a lot of children, many of whom not only have to deal with the disease itself but also the stigma and discrimination that come along with it. I can give more background about the defined goals of the camp--things like "increasing personal knowledge about HIV/AIDS" and "fostering social development" (if you are interested, email me!). But, at it's foundation, Camp OHALOW is a place where these kids who don't often get to be real kids can have a place to play and run and laugh with other kids like them. These kids are amazing! They have been through so much--some of them are orphans who have lost their parents to the disease, some have spent long spans of their young lives in and out of hospitals--but they aren't defined by these trials. They are not just kids with a disease; they are soccer players, actors, singers, dancers, musicians, comedians, artists, dreamers.
OHALOW 2012 is scheduled to run from July 4-14; we have about one more month to go before we have to close our Partnership grant. OHALOW is free for campers (many wouldn't be able to go otherwise) and it also includes sessions with both a doctor and a psychologist--the Partnership grant needs to cover all of this and more. I have already hit up my friends and my immediate and extended family for donations and so far the other volunteers and I have raised over $1700 toward our goal of $7400 (the community contribution is over $3700). But, that leaves us over $5000 short, and I thought it would be a good idea to enlist the help of my extended extended hometown family. The link to our Partnership Grant is here (note that I am the grant coordinator and Indiana gets a big shout-out there in the sidebar) - https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=343-303
Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to the day when I can join your group and help out other projects like this!
Peace Corps Volunteer
Group 39 TEFL