Kirill and Nikita

“I became a volunteer in the program “Big Brothers, Big Sisters” in 2012, and in the first months of 2013 after all the tests and trainings I had a younger one – Nikita. I must say that I was thinking about getting into this for a long time – two or three years. However, it is not because I was thinking about if I was fit for it or not. I absolutely, clearly knew that I had accumulated enough emotional background and was ready to share it with the children, or rather with one child. But the majority of non-profit organizations that work with orphans practice mass outreach to groups of children, and I wanted to find a program where the individual communication of an adult and a child is organized, because I understood that children in boarding schools need more attention and individual communication than just gifts. It took some time to find a suitable program, and suddenly, at the end of 2012, the society stirred violently after the adoption of the “Dima Yakovlev’s law,” all volunteer programs became very active on the Internet, including “The Big Brothers Big Sisters.” After reading the first page on their website, I thought, ‘Here it is!’ I immediately filled out an application for participation in the program.

The first months of friendship with Nikita were difficult – we were getting used to each other. I took him to museums, parks, to interactive classes, told him a lot of things, and Nikita did not believe that I was going to stay in his life for a long time, so he did not try to get closer and often did not say anything or gave short answers. Vacation helped to break the ice. When I first accompanied him to a winter camp, he said that he did not want to leave, because when he returns, I will not be around. Promises and assurances that I will not go anywhere did not help, and even the fact that after the holidays I stayed, did not add to Nikita’s confidence in the long-term friendship. The situation repeated in the summer, leaving for the camp, he again feared that our friendship would end, but I again met him in the fall. After that, Nikita realized that I was in his life for a long time and began to trust me. For example, I can call and say that this weekend I will not be able to come, and he absolutely calmly asks if I will come the next one.

Now everything is fine, and I am very pleased with our meetings and communication. Inspired by the fact that he could began to talk more about his life and friends, he became more open and sensitive. He even remembered the date of our first meeting, realizing that this is an important date for both of us. We called this date the birthday of our couple, and when we reached three years together, he told everyone in the group about our birthday and invited them to have a piece of cake.

Another joy is that he learned to discuss and understand his needs, while choosing what he likes best. For an outside observer, this seems to be anon-obvious achievement, but if one knows how reluctant the orphanage pupils are to use their heads, especially in the situation of making a choice, then everything will become clear. Nevertheless, I sometimes have to make some efforts to ensure that he argues his choice. For example, when I ask: “Where do we go, to Gorky Park or to the cinema?” – he tries to guess the “right answer” for a while, but when he sees that this does not pass with me, he starts to explain why he made that choice.

In the three years of our friendship, I noticed how Nikita grew up. This is reflected in the fact that he began to believe in himself and his strength. Previously, he simply refused to do new activities like snowboarding or skateboarding, and now he starts everything himself. Once on the playground, we found a small climbing wall, and Nikita decided to climb it. The first time was unsuccessful because his hands got tired in the middle of the way, and he asked for help to get him down. He managed to climb it only at the third attempt and even reminded me: “After all, you told me that you should try, even if it does not work the first time.”

For me, our friendship is an opportunity to transfer the knowledge and share care. For Nikita, these long-term relationship gives a sense of permanence, which is so lacking. He often changed educators and roommates, and such a relationship with his older brother is an island of stability where he can get support and grow.”

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