Welcome to Norya!

A small village located near Izvesk, Russia. Currently our goal is to raise enough money ($1500) to bring a 24 year old girl to the land of opportunity, to find the education she needs to go back and help her village.


Dear friends - I am writing this with a little embarrassment, because I know what a person MIGHT think when they read something like this. ... But I need some help.

You see, 6 years ago I went on an exchange to a small village in Russia. While my life has continued on a path in a different direction, I find myself remembering good times, good people, and very different living circumstances.

I recently discovered a young girl from our exchange, is here - living 39 miles away from me in North Carolina. My head cannot even wrap itself around how crazy a coincidence this is. But it can wrap it's head around the idea that it's not a coincidence at all, but what some would call a blessed opportunity. Irina Kuznetsova is here, and will be moving to Provo in December because she came here on a travel visa, found a job, changed her visa status, applied for an English Learning program through BYU and was accepted. She's having a chance at the American Dream - a chance for something more.
I have spent time with her, talking about Norya, and it sounds so sad. Everyone is leaving the village due to no jobs, etc. My point is, that Elena Kuznetsova, who lived with my family (Irina's sister) is there in the village struggling. Irina and Elena's mother died a few years ago of cancer, their father is not able to help much. My parents have invited her to come live with them for a few months on a travel visa and see if she can get a job to save money to recieve some further education here. Irina and Elena cannot afford to go to school full time in Ivzesk. So they go part time, which is only two months a year. They need help, and opportunities. Like so many others in Norya.
I hesitate to ask this, but there is no other way for us to get Elena over here in time. Our goal is to have her over here with Irina for Christmas. I am asking for donations that will go towards her travel expenses. We need to raise $1500. Please, if you can spare $10, $20 or $30, this money has the ability to bring so much to one person.
I have two weeks to collect as much as I can, so she can spend her savings on all the paper work and visas to come. Please Please Please help if you can. There is a Donate button in the top right corner for convenience.

I assure you that this is not a wasted effort. What is only a new shirt, or a meal out for us, can help to jump start someone into believing again in a dream. Believing that there are others out there to help us along our way.

Please know that I would not ask this of others if I was not truly invested in the idea myself. I believe this is something that can be done to better improve lives, one dream at a time. My dream is to help someone I know and care for out of a troubled situation, and into a position where she can change her circumstances, and her life. My dream starts here, with her.
If we can't help, I'm afraid her dream might never come true. But if we can help light the way, I can already see a glimpse of who it can reach.

One of my favorite memories from our experience there was sitting out in the dirt street with 10 little children. Handing them each a toy we brought, it was magical to play with them. If I can help in any way to give even one of those children a reason to believe there is more they can accomplish, and a dream for opportunity, it's worth it.
This last picture here was taken during a day when the American group of students helped the Russian students to plant what we called "Friendship Trees" around the yard at the school. My hope is that I am able to take action on that idea now.
Thank you for anything you can do to help.
To read more about my experiences in Norya, click on the tab at the top of the page.


NOVEMBER 1st, 2010

I feel like I cannot possibly put enough "Thank yous" to everyone on this page. With the help of so many people, we made our goal and Elena is ready to come over just in time for a very merry Christmas Season.
When I started this journey three weeks ago, I had so many doubts and wasn't sure if this was the right thing to do - to ask people to care about something that I did. About someone they had ever met. I am so humbled by the response that came without much effort on my part. I feel so refreshed - so aware of just how many people surround me with big hearts. Thank you for your thoughts and willingness to give.
Together we are giving Elena such a hopeful wonderful new start.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.