It’s hard to trust a person when you’ve and been burned so many times. That’s how Nastya felt in 2013 when she attended a Kidsave picnic on Russia’s Children’s Day. There, she met Svetlana (Sveta) a mentor who volunteers to help orphans as they approach adulthood to prepare for and create a good future for themselves.
Nastya was living in a group home, without a family, and felt isolated. She was lonely and quiet and she lacked confidence and communication skills. She wasn’t easy to get to know.
But Sveta helped change that — gradually, and with a great deal of patience. Sveta is a positive, active businesswoman with Mary Kay. When they first met, Nastya’s strong temper and clear mistrust of Sveta were evident. They struggled to find common topics of conversation. It was rocky, and at one point Sveta nearly gave up. But then she dug a little deeper and asked herself, “If I don’t help this girl, who will?” With that, she resolved to work harder to gain Nastya’s trust.
Then, on Sveta’s birthday, Nastya gave birth to a son. Both women considered this a good sign. It was also a turning point in their relationship. Nastya began to grasp the example Sveta was showing her – how Sveta’s experience in child-rearing, housekeeping, budget planning and communication could help her in so many ways. She began to believe in herself.
Today, Nastya is self-assured and has learned to communicate and to compromise with the girls in the group home she lives in with her son. Nastya and Sveta’s relationship has gone from icy and cautious to warm and trusting. Nastya has honed her hostess skills, and now helps prepare meals and the table. Svetlana takes delight in Nastya’s blossoming talents in needlework, jewelry-making, flower-making, poetry, drawing, cooking and — most of all — caring for her baby.
Nastya has forgiven her family and communicates with them. But her time with Svetlana is all about progress. They discuss ideas, plan, budget, train, and prepare for examinations. With the skills Nastya has gained through this mentorship she has a real future and is able to raise her baby on her own – two major accomplishments.
Kidsave trains mentors like Sveta, works with youth living in institutional care, and provides events for these pairs to be made. Since this program began Kidsave has supported more than 350 teen moms, and given most of them mentors.