Here is an encouraging update from one of our partners in Ukraine:

Last Bell works with over 200 orphanage graduates every year. We have five programs: Educational Outreach, Stop the Cycle, the Support Center, the Shelter, and the Restoration Project.

Through the EO program, our staff reach out to recent orphanage graduates who are at trade schools and in social dorms. The staff keep up ongoing relationships with them and provide weekly Life Skills classes in eight trade schools, along with special activities every few weeks.

Stop the Cycle is our program for orphan moms (and a few dads) and their little ones. We provide a lot of practical help alongside parenting training. We have two big groups that each meet once a month, and we provide babysitting for the kids — babies up to 10-year-olds — so the moms can take part in the parenting lessons. In the summer, two big Stop the Cycle groups go on retreat for further training, and babysitting is provided there as well.

The Support Center is the hub of our operations, and houses our legal and counseling services, as well as discipleship groups. Young people are in and out of the office all the time getting help.

The Shelter is a residential home that currently houses several young people who are attending trade school. They live in community with our staff 24/7.

The Restoration Project is a housing and job training program in which orphan boys are trained to restore the uninhabitable homes and apartments orphans have inherited. This provides housing for those who desperately need it, and a marketable skill for our young men.

We’ve found the Ball Project grant to be most helpful in two areas: for our Stop the Cycle “grandchildren” — the kids born to orphan moms — who need lots of entertainment while their moms and dads are learning how to be better parents; and for the Shelter teens, who are learning how to live in a family environment and need ways to gather and spend time together over the long Ukrainian winters. The board games have been great!

Some of our youngest Last Bell “grandchildren” have grown up in such difficult circumstances that they don’t know how to have fun, even when given the opportunity. Our staff are on hand to help them enjoy the scooters and other sports and game equipment the Ball Project has provided.

Ball Project is grateful for all of our amazing partners working in their communities around the world & playing a part to help kids play.