The after-school program in Kharkiv, Ukraine provides hope for children from troubled, broken, lower-income families, and families with many children. Twenty-five children take part in this after-school program, that provides educational opportunities, life skills training, recreational activities and cultural field-trips. Children receive holiday clothing, gifts, and sweets. Everyday they are given hot meals.
Many of the children who come to the afterschool program have also participated in corps programs such as Sunday School, their music programs, etc. Some of them have become soldiers. Many become leaders of various corps ministries. Nastya helps the Sunday School teachers, Anya is part of the corps worship team. They have both been enrolled as Senior Soldiers recently.
Here is the story of Katya: Four years ago a thin, small and pale girl came to the social center. Her father had died and her mother drank a lot of alcohol. She had two brothers of school-age. Their family was in a huge need. They lived a small, bare room in a plant.
Everyone liked Katya because she was kind and joyful despite her hard life. Now, after four years, Katya is a beautiful person. She participates actively in Sunday school, other Salvation Army programs, sings in the choir and takes part in drama activities. Katya prays for her mother and asks our team to pray as well. Now her mother drinks less. Several times, she has come to Sunday services. We continue to pray and hope, that God will touch her heart and change it. We glorify God, because He cares about children like Katya. We are happy, that God uses us in this His work.
For Christmas, the program hopes to receive laptops for their computer classes, table for table tennis, board games for teenagers, and sports equipment.
PROGRAM ACTIVITY IDEAS & RESOURCES:
- “Hello”: Привіт (Pronounced”Pryvit”)
- “My name is”: мене звуть (Pronounced “mene zvutʹ”)
- “Merry Christmas”: щасливого Різдва (Prounced “shchaslyvoho Rizdva”)
- “Christmas Joy”: радість Різдва (Prounced “Radistʹ Rizdva”)
Children perform in plays, go to parties and sing Christmas carols. One tradition they enjoy is going from house to house singing carols in return for sweets as pay for their songs. This tradition similar to our Halloween tradition of trick or treating, is called kolyadka.
TRADITIONAL HOLIDAY FOODS:
Christmas dinner is a twelve course meal to represent the twelve apostles. It must include Kutya – a dish made with wheat, poppy seeds, honey, nuts, raisins and dried apricots. All of the dishes are vegetarian/meatless.
GAME: Freeze Tag
Usually, the games starts with one person being designated “it.” There are four or five other players “it” tries to chase and catch. When the chaser tags a player, they are frozen as if by the cold wind and may not move. They may cry out, “Help me.” Unfrozen players try to sneak up without being tagged by it and touch them so they are unfrozen and can run once again. Play continues until all players are frozen at the same time.
CRAFT: Christmas Spiders
Make spiders of pompoms and Pipe cleaners. Read the Legend of the Christmas Spider here.