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Newsletter, September-October 2016

Ladya and Living Water programs in Bryansk

The Ladya program of primary prevention and HIV/AIDS for high-school children and youth and the Living Water program for primary school children have been realized in schools in Bryansk since 2007. The scale of the program work continues to increase.

In 2013, the programs came to include additional education institutions. Special training for the work with minor adolescents was offered to mentors in residents' clubs and teachers organizing additional education and form-masters as well as student volunteers. In total 153 specialists were trained in the period from September 2013 to May 2016, including 72 people for the Ladya program and 81 for the Living Water programs, with 30 out of them being volunteers.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, the work involved 32 residents' clubs, 19 Ladya program groups and 15 Living Water groups, in which 560 children and teenagers are engaged. Among the special features of the prevention work this year is the involvement of children who have come in conflict with law, registered in the juvenile commissions (165 children).

In total, 844 teenagers have been engaged in the Ladya program and 480 in the Living Water programs for the last three academic years.

The implementation of the programs is accompanied by continued monitoring of the results of the work in order to evaluate the formation of children's moral norms and values, the level of their conscious and responsible attitude to them, the development of their communication skills and independence in solving problems. An analysis of the results shows a stable growth of these indicators among the children involved in these programs.

Yelena Severina Director
Ladya Center for Psychological, Medical and Social Support Bryansk

Ladya training seminar

The Ladya program for preventing HIV/AIDS and risk behaviours among teenagers continues to be successfully implemented in the diocese of Shakhty, Rostov region. Ladya ('at peace with oneself') has been developed by a team of Christian and secular educators, psychologists and narcologists under the aegis of the Moscow Patriarchate's department for external church relations. It has been implemented in schools in over 15 regions in Russia since 2008.

From 2008 to 2013, the program authors held in the Rostov region two series of trainingsfor the course teachers. Some 27 teachers from Shakhty and the Oktyabrsky district were already trained in 2013 with the support of the St. John of Kronstadt Center, an autonomous non-commercial organization. This year the Rostov regional government has provided a subsidy to the center for propagating the Ladya program in its region.

A training seminar was held from July 18 to 24, 2016, at the Lestvitsa ('ladder') religious education center at the Parish of the Protecting Veil in Kamensk-Shakytinsky on 'Substantial and Methodological Aspects of the Ladya Primary Prevention Program of HIV/AIDS and Risk Behaviours among Teenagers'. It was organized by the St. John of Kronstadt Center, a social unit of the diocese of Shakhty, as part of the joint efforts of the Rostov regional government and the Metropolia of Donto counteract the drug traffic. It was attended by 31 representatives of the professional community including social educators,psychologist teachers, staff members of the centers for psychological aid to teenagers in the cities of Kamensk-Shaktinsky, Donetsk and in the Kamensk district. These Donregion municipalities are planned to become pilots for implementing the Ladya program, thus broadening the list of municipalities in which the program has already been put in motion. The group of the participants in the seminar was formed on the basis of the program's previous stage - a round table on deviant behaviours of teenagers and youth which took place on July 8, 2016, at the Lestvitsa religious education center.

The training seminar had as its aim to create conditions for practicing the program for preventing HIV infection and risky behaviours among teenagers. Before it started, wishes for its work and directions were expressed by Rev. Vladislav Kasyanov, leader of the program and head of the Shakhty diocesan department for charity and social service; A. Buzhak, chief of the support service for the Rostov regional government anti-drug commission; M. Belorusevich, leading expert of the Rostov regional ministry department for vocational education and healthcare in education; Ms. V. Gugueva, head of the Kamensk-Shakhtinsky municipal education department; Archpriest Sergiy Yatsenko, head of the diocesan department for religious education and catechism; Rev. Alexander Telichkin, dean of the Kamensk-Shakhtinsky parishes; and Rev. Vladimir Tatarkin, dean of the Donetsk parishes. All the speakers pointed to the importance of introduction of additional courses for preventing risk behaviours and spiritual and moral education of the younger generation and assured the participants in the seminar of their all-round support for the Ladya program within their terms of reference.

As leader of introduction of the Ladya program, Father Vladislav Kasyanov, associate professor of social philosophy, presented the seminar's program and trainers. The training was conducted by Victoria Afonina, art therapist, chairperson of Blago, a Bryansk regional public organization, and by Ms. Irina Demyanova, psychological teacher at the Psychological, Medical and Social Support Center at Seltso, Bryansk region, and trainer of the educational programs for preventing risk behaviours among youth and teenagers, a family counsellor.

For a week the trainers were engaged in fulfilling the substantial task of the seminar to raise the participants' interest thus enhancing their motivation for work with teenagers. To do so they addressed personal experiences, provoked emotions and helped the participants to become aware of deep-laid human feelings. Along with the introduction to basic information about HIV/AIDS, drug dependence and co-dependent behaviors, the participants familiarized themselves with manifold methods of work with teenagers and received methodological recommendations and literature on the Ladya program.

Special mention should be made of the mixed membership of the seminar, as there were psychologists working in schools, orphanages and psychological aid centers, social educators and teachers of specific disciplines. Each had his or her own experience of the group work with teenagers. This diverse membership with different life and professional experiences and different attitudes to faith and Orthodoxy, inevitably affected the work, demanding additional attention, correctness, tolerance and, accordingly, the use of special forms of work aimed at creating an atmosphere of confidence and forming group coercion. Father Vladislav Kasyanov took the spiritual care of the participants and trainers. He answered questions about Orthodoxy and the spiritual formation of personality. On July 23, the commemoration day of St. Anthony of the Kiev Caves, founder of the first Russian religious education center, all the participants attended the Divine Liturgy. Most of them took the Holy Communion and made confession. They noted that the participation in the training seminar made them look anew at some situations, rethink their views of some questions and helped enrich their religious experience. Besides, they showed a high interest in realizing the program in their place of work, as their feedback letters have shown.

The participation of the Rostov regional government and education ministry officials helped to engage the attention of governmental bodies to the Ladya program and to involve them in propagating it in the Don region. Thus, the Rostov regional education ministry, with the support of the regional administration, considers a possibility for further implementation of the program in 2016 and 2017.

As the organizers have indicated, the aims and tasks of the training seminar have been achieved and conditions have been created for cooperation between ecclesial and secular organizations in building the work for primary prevention of HIV/AIDS and destructive dependences.

Based on shakhty-miloserdie.cerkov.ru

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