In January, students from Kharkov Hillel in the Ukraine put the spotlight on underprivleged youth — literally! As counselors at the “Road to Success” camp, which teaches life skills to at-risk teens, Kharkov Hillel students directed an educational drama performance for nearly 100 teens from group homes around the country.
The production is part of a 10-day educational program. Ukrainian teens who participated this winter will soon graduate and leave their group homes, equipped with a new understanding of the "real world."
Ukranian teens work with local Hillel students.
Hillel students led motivational and leadership development sessions, in addition to classes about the environment and respect for the earth. Students and the teen campers also had the opportunity to showcase their creative talents through musical performance based on a famous Ukrainian folk story. Hillel students worked with the campers to learn dances and songs, record music, construct sets and rehearse for the culminating event: a performance in front of a packed house at the Kharkov theater.
Renewing the teens' self-confidence is one of the goals of "Road to Success."
“Being here reminded me that sometimes miracles do happen and dreams come true,” reflected 16 year old Alena Lukyanets. “What an incredible week!”
The camp also made an impact on the Hillel student leaders who facilitated the experience.
“Working at this camp with these teens was an unforgettable experience,” said Dima Golovinov, a Hillel student. “[It] pushed me to look differently at the world and people around me and forced me to rethink my values.”
Kharkov Hillel has already been invited back to work on future "Road to Success" camp experiences.