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January 12, 2011

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January 12, 2011

It is my pleasure to tell you about the fantastic nonprofit organization, YouthReach International. I have had the great pleasure of joining YouthReach for two campaigns in the past seven years.

On my first trip, I taught English at a camp for children for three weeks. Our manual for
teaching English was the Bible. We taught fundamental truths to them... forgiveness, grace, love, honesty and so on. It was a tremendous opportunity for me. I was able to see that God is actively working in all countries and not just in my sheltered community. I was in high school during that time and that was the most valuable lesson that i could have ever learned. YouthReach gave me this opportunity.

On my second trip, I stayed at one of their partner orphanages in Novosibirsk. I was able to interact with the orphans as well as their mentors. It was a huge blessing to be around the mentors, men and women who have a heart for God and for children. They are living out the mission of God. They are looking after those who have no one to look out for them. These mentors provide love, commitment, hugs, and so much more.

All I can say is Praise God for the group of people that make up YouthReach International.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in that I have seen young men and women devote their lives to God. These men and women in Russia love Christ and want to share the love with orphans there. I have seen the smile on a orphans face when a mentor extends the love of God by throwing his arms out and hugging a child. They are planting seeds that will have a eternal impact. Praise God!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Let me be candid here. With the resources they have, they are maximizing their possibilities with excellence... Not to say there are never any road bumps, but they manage and manage well. At the end of the day they do not have the financial resources as some of the more well known nonprofits have, however they have a great faith that is far more valuable than any sort of earthly treasure.

December 13, 2010

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December 13, 2010

I have made four trips to Eastern Ukraine facilitated by YouthReach International. The first trip was to a public camp, sharing Christ with local children and orphans. The camp was formerly a Pioneer Camp that indoctrinated children in communist ideology. The second thru fourth trips were to government orphanages, all orphans. The children were glad for us to come, and we taught and played with them. Our mentors continue to visit the children, and we continue to recieve reports of children that are now out of the orphanage and attending technical school. These children have changed my life, and I continue to pray for them. Our mentors are excellent, and care about the children.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The arrangements made by YouthReach make these trips possible, safe, and effective in the lives of the children.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wouldn't.

December 3, 2010

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December 3, 2010

I have been on six trips to Ukraine with Youth Reach over the last five years, working with orphans in camps and in orphanages. The children have carved out a permanent place in my heart and I'm impressed by the friendship and dedication that has developed between the in-country mentors and the children in the orphanages. I have been a team leader once and co-leader twice. Youth Reach is diligent in helping to build and train teams and train the in-country mentors. I was privileged to be a part of the training of mentors in Ukraine this fall. Youth Reach stresses the on-going ministry to the children after the American teams have gone home.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I met a girl who had been abandoned by her parents when she was six years old and grew up in an orphanage. Youth Reach volunteers and mentors helped to change her life over several years of friendship and ministry. She recently graduated from university, almost unheard of for an orphan. She recently told how she wants to have a family some day and she said she will give her children all of the love and attention that she never had at home. She said she will never abandon her children.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

We need to get the word out more about the impact that Youth Reach has had and can continue to have. Also Youth Reach is extending its outreach to orphans who have left the orphanages after graduation so that their dangerous transition to adulthood can be successful, rather than destructive. This ministry needs to continue and continue to be supported.

November 29, 2010

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November 29, 2010

I was fortunate to participate on one of the YouthReach mission trips to Siberia with several Christian friends in the St. Louis area. The experience started with the initial fellowship and learning about the other members. We really bonded and our friendship grew through the fundraising events. We attended several meetings together to prepare for the trip and by the time we actually took the trip, we were like brothers. The time with the orphans in Russia was priceless and while we were there to minister to the kids and coordinators, we were actually growing in our own faith by the awesome experiences we had individually and as a group. Rob and all the good folks at YouthReach made our trip possible and are truly paving the way for God's word to be shared around the world. I strongly encourage anyone to support the YouthReach organization in any way they can.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Since our trip, I have been updated and visited from YouthReach members to let me know how our friends and contacts in Russia are doing. I have actually had the pleasure of hosting Ruslan, the Russian contact, at my home.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

NA

November 28, 2010

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November 28, 2010

My family has supported YouthReach for years and we've been extremely gratified with the results of their work. Having visited with the mentors that work with the Orphans, I can tell you that these young leaders are making a significant difference in the lives of these children and truly care these kids. I highly recommend supporting YouthReach if you want to help Orphans receive much needed love and support.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

visiting Russia and watching the mentors working with Orphans.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

nothing. Very strong organization with superb leadership.

November 25, 2010

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November 25, 2010

I've been privileged to work with this great organization over the past 7 years. As a team member in at least 5 different camps and the coordinator of two follow-up fairs for the camps, I've had firsthand experience in what God has done through this organization. God has and is using this organization to transform the hearts and minds of children in Russia. YouthReach Int. has done a great job of equipping it's volunteers (both native and non-native) through the best training there is; and it empowers them to be effective mentors to the orphans and at-risk children they come in contact with. I've been on other short-term mission trips and YouthReach's far outweighs them all in preparation and focus.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing one of my first students in 2003 become one of the best mentors to orphans YouthReach has.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

do nothing.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

Nothing.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I've made life changing friendships through my experience.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

That this was what I was meant to do.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

November 24, 2010

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November 24, 2010

I have been working with this amazing organization for over the past 6 years in Novosibirsk, Siberia- as a team member 3 times and a team leader twice. There are a couple of things that really stand out in my mind that make this organization set apart from so many others. First, the amount of training and preparation team members receive before going into the field really helps everyone feel very prepared and bonded with the other team members. After the trip, everyone attends a debriefing session, which greatly reduces reverse culture shock. Secondly, the focus of the organization is to empower the people who are living there so that the work continues after team members return to the states. What is done in short term trips provides a foot in the door for others to continue what has been established and is only one part of this multi-faceted ministry.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing lives changed first hand, but not limited to orphans and at-risk youth. Mentors and team members have also experienced amazing growth in their spiritual journeys.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

no changes at this time

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

November 24, 2010

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November 24, 2010

When I first signed up for a YouthReach trip back in 2005 I was pretty scared and didn't know what I was getting myself into. Spending 2 weeks in Russia at a summer camp sounded fun, but I didn't think I was ready spiritually. I was right. But YouthReach trained me and helped me grow stronger in my faith. They have a very in-depth, organized approach to building up team members. They educate you about the culture and prepare you for what you will face, both physically and spiritually. Prayer is the key to all they do. They take a long-term approach to short term missions so that the work you do has lasting consequences, both for you and the people you reach. Working with at-risk children and orphans has opened up my eyes to the very real needs of children around the world and is something I am now very passionate about. YouthReach has allowed me the chance to use my artistic talents, such as video and drawing, to shed light on the problems orphans face. Since 2005, I have been on 5 trips, going as a team member 3 times and leading a team with my wife 2 times. Leading a team is something I never thought I could do, but YouthReach gave me the courage and the tools to be an effective leader. The experience has taught me a lot about myself, both my strengths and weaknesses, and made me more confident in knowing what God wants me to do with my life.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the way I've grown stronger in my faith. I've also seen how children in the camp have grown up to become mentors, teaching the other kids about God's love for them. Many of the orphans think of the mentors as their family because they are the ones who come to visit them on their birthday. They are the one who take them to the park.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

find new and creative ways for providing and raising funds. I want to see the number of staff grow so more can be done.

November 21, 2010

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November 21, 2010

Almost one year ago, I started what has been an amazing journey with YouthReach International. My journey started as a team-leader (in training) to lead a group of 7 Chrisitan men and women to Novosibirsk Russia. This was my first international missions experience, and I was impressed by both the passion and commitment of YouthReach staff and the carefully contructed infrastructure and missioins curriculum - tools that enabled our success. Our hearts were touched and melted as we each interacted with the children from two orphanages in Novosibirsk (St. Nich’s and Number 11). Both during and after the trip, I witnessed first hand the impact that YouthReach staff, YouthReach mentors, and short-term mentors can have and are having on orphans and at-risk children in Russia and Ukraine. We went half way around the world to try to change the life of a child and found that ours were the lives that changed. YouthReach is making a difference! Much has happened following my return from Russia; refined perspective, softened heart, invited to serve on the Board of YouthReach, and looking forward to a return trip to Russia next summer. – accompanied by my daughter Olivia (10 years old) so that she can be part of wonderful YouthReach journey.....

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

- The staff that exhibit an unwaivering commitment to the mission/vision of YouthReach International - By seeing first hand the impact that YouthReach International has had on the orphans of Russia. - By seeing the impact that YouthReach has had on the mentors of Russia. One of the first emails I found in my inbox upon my return from Russia was from a mentor asking "Tell me how you came to realize God is alive". - By the impact that YouthReach is having on my life.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

- Increase visibility and awareness of their cause. - Enhance fundraising efforts so that YouthReach could continue to do great work in Russia, Ukraine, and in expaning regions such as Belarus.

November 20, 2010

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November 20, 2010

YouthReach has matured over the years to be a major positive influence in the lives of national mentors and orphans in Ukraine and Russia. The emphasis is on equipping nationals to do their work with children 365 days a year. YouthReach recruits, trains, inspires, organizes and coordinates the efforts of Americans and others to develop relationships with the adult mentors in Ukraine and Russia. YR has networked with in-country agencies [both governmental and private] and with business people in both countries, to heighten their awareness of what needs to be done for orphans. YouthReach conducts intensive training with the Ukrainian and Russian mentors. This matures them as individuals and provides valuable skills that pay back in everyday life. Influential American companies and agencies also have teamed with YouthReach by sending their personnel to Russia & Ukraine to conduct leadership training with the young, national adults. YouthReach builds on this networking to recruit nationals into the daily relationship needs of orphans. This goes well beyond the agencies that provide shelter, clothing, and food. These kids learn that the are important as individuals. Birthday, holidays, and other events are personally remembered. Time is taken just to play with the children, or to take them on field trips away from their orphanage. In all things Christ is lived out by the mentors into the lives of these kids. Government and private agencies in these countries now count YouthReach as a trusted partner.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen the changes in adult Russian volunteers as they bought into the idea that they could effect improvements in the lives of orphans. I have seen orphans realize that they are individually important, because people took the time to know them.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Continue emphasizing to volunteers that it is not about them personally, but about the children. Stress that a minimum of two visits abroad by the Americans is critical to let the nationals know we really mean what we do. They need to see us return.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Any experience that instructs you in what should be your true priorities is valuable.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Appreciated, usefull

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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