Addiction affects us all. Addicts, their families, friends & children, victims of their crimes, bystanders, and society all suffer. Helping those affected by addiction is my area..
In early February this year I prayed, "I'm a little bored if You have some new project for me to do to help people. And remember when I used to travel a lot doing education work? Well, that would be nice too. But anyway, just making myself available if I can help. Thank You God!"
The next day I answered a random stranger's question about how to help addicts in an addiction support group on Facebook. He asked me more questions and I took time to share what I know. It turns out that he had prayed to find someone who could help his community in Russia.
[insert goose bumps]
He invited me to Moscow and Ufa, Russia April 9-21, 2014 to volunteer my services to help those affected by addiction. I agreed to go. This organizer in Ufa, his organizer friend in Moscow and a Moscow travel agent friend of theirs sent money for my visa, arranged and sent air tickets, and are personally paying my travel expenses for 5 days of volunteer service conducting two workshops during 11 days in Russia. They invited me to some great and expensive tourist activities during my free days but I declined because I knew that the opportunity to be of service is far beyond the original plan and I saw a greater opportunity.
Knowing that addiction is a family system illness I sought to do more volunteer work during my free days in Russia. I reached out to some other organizations I volunteer with in the U.S. that provide support for families affected by addicted loved ones and those traumatized as children growing up in dysfunctional homes. There are now 4 organizations asking me to do talks, attend meetings, and help educate about addiction and solutions for addicts, families, and traumatized children of all ages. Others there and elsewhere may find out about me and ask for my services as well.
I am already booked to volunteer all of my 11 days in Russia and there is more need for my service than I can accomplish in the original time frame. Since I'm already there, into efficiency, don't have a job, and am free to stay longer, it seems wise to extend my stay in Russia, yes? My 30-day visa will allow me to stay an additional 18 days if I can arrange the funding.
I love it that this entire project is being organized, funded and facilitated by goodness of heart for community service. No fees are being charged or earned by anyone associated with this project. But there are travel expenses. The organizations I'm volunteering with cannot pay my travel expenses and travel expenses are currently beyond my shoestring budget. I have asked my Russian contacts if anyone there sees the value and can share resources to extend my trip. They want me to stay but no funding is yet forthcoming. Support may come from Russians I meet while I am in Russia but I chose to get the planning for this extension in motion before I leave home and so far there are enough donations to stay an extra week or so.
This is my first ever crowd funding attempt. I was quite adverse to doing this but two of my wisest life guides strongly encouraged me to do this so although it's quite strange for me, I set up this campaign.
***I am calling in financial help to cover my travel expenses to extend my stay in Russia to work with more addicts, family members, and those affected by addiction and other family dysfunction.
Thank you for reading about this project and for considering supporting this cause and my work. Feel free to ask any questions, share suggestions or contacts, and please share this on your Facebook, other groups, and pass this on to potentially interested parties.
Quick note because peeps are asking.. I do not have to reach the goal to use the funds. At the time of this update (24 hrs prior to departure) there are enough funds to stay an extra week or so of the 18 additional days my visa will allow. I must change the air ticket before April 20 so whatever is available by that date will be it for this project. Any funds that are not utilized on this project will fund the next one. I intend to continue this work.
A peek into my greater life goal is that for the past 25 years I have worked jobs to earn money to pay bills and done this fulfilling, meaningful, and important volunteer work in my free time. I left my last "job" in December 2012 and have enjoyed dedicaing much more of my time to volunteering with organizations providing family support services and I want to continue this work.
Perhaps there is an organization I don't know of that would compensate me for my contribution in the community, or some other kind of sponsorship, grant, or other funding? Any ideas are appreciated. I hope to continue to do more of this work in more communities as I am able.
Thank you for sharing this project with others who might enjoy being of service. Hugs & Love..
To Russia with Love..
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