Josh's Yolka Project
My name is Josh Kennedy-Noce. I’m 16 years old. I was adopted from the Kirov Baby Home Orphanage in Kirov, Russia when I was four and a half. My birthparents placed me there when I was ten months old. My birth mother and father were injured in a factory accident and were unable to return to work. They put me in the Kirov Baby Home Orphanage so I could be clothed and fed. For three and a half years, they visited me with the intention of bringing me back home. Eventually, they realized that I would have a chance for a better life if I was adopted. This is not about me, it’s about the kids from my orphanage that need our help. The Kirov Baby Home Orphanage is extremely poor. There are up to 135 children living there from infants to four years old. The staff loves the kids very much but due to limited funding, the children have very little. Last year, I made a commitment to do whatever I could to make my orphanage better then it was when I left it. I know what it feels like not to have nice toys and good equipment to play on, and a family to love.
In 2010, I started a fundraising project called Josh’s Yolka Project and through the generosity of many, I raised $4,700. This money went directly to the Kirov orphanage to buy “Yolka” or Christmas gifts for all of the kids. Even better, there was money left over to help buy soft balls and toys which helped complete an indoor playroom.
In 2011, my goal was to do even more. The Kirov Baby Home Orphanage is in desperate need of a new outdoor playground. The existing playground is old and unsafe for the kids. My goal was to raise $15,000 to cover the construction costs of a new playground and also provide the kids with their Yolka gifts for the holiday season. I have great news to share! As of today, we have raised $29,000 in donations. With the additional funding we were able to provide support for the following needs:
üKirov Baby Home Yolka Celebration:We were able to provide Christmas gifts for all of the boys and girls from my orphanage. Contribution: $2,500
üKirov Baby Home Outdoor Playground:My orphanage will get a new outdoor playground! Construction will start in late Spring. Contribution: $13,000
üKirov Oblast New Beds for Orphans- Fifteen new beds were needed for the orphans. This facility is not the Baby Home where I came from, but it is one of several facilities which takes the children who unfortunately, have not been adopted, after they become 5-6 and can no longer reside at the Baby Home. This center is one of the poorest in the system and sadly, is one that receives the least amount of private funding. Contribution: $3,000
üKorovo-Chepetsky Sanatorium Boarding School Computer and Educational Materials - This orphanage houses older school age children with tuberculosis. Thesechildren are not permitted to attend public schools due to their illness.We were able to cover the costs for educational materials (computers, resources, etc).Contribution: $3,000
The goal of the Yolka Project is to find and support the most pressing needs that will bring hope and joy to these most worthy children.To ensure that the funds we raise get to the orphanages quickly, we have partnered with the adoption agency that works directly with orphanages across the former Soviet Union, the Frank Foundation. I am in discussions with Frank Foundation now to identify ways to make a broader impact across their network of orphanages. I’ll keep you posted as the needs in 2012 get further defined.
Please keep The Yolka Project in mind for your holiday giving this year. To make your tax-deductible donation, simply visit our Donate Now page. Every dollar you donate goes directly to supporting the orphanages of Kirov and the surround area.