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Friendships That Bring Joy Into Your Life

Nastya Rastorgueva (October 11, 2012)

My name is Nastya. I am 16. I'd like to share with you my recent bright impression of this autumn
that is to say about the meeting with our old and dear friends from California Uncle Norm and Aunt Linda.
We have known each other for five years. We became friends in a short time. Except our annual meetings we support our friendship through the ocean via the internet. I like so much to get their congratulations on holidays and their different presentations about the most unusual places and phenomena of our planet and simply to get ordinary letters.
I want to notice that for me these letters are not ordinary at all because they are full of care and warm. And for me it is especially important to know that my email is important for them too. Just imagine that I'm not an only child among the others that they help. Each year Uncle Norm and Aunt Linda try to visit more and more cities in Russia and in every city children wait for them. I want to thank them for the kind warm feelings and joy. Thanks to such people you want to live and do good.
It is no secret that the children with disabilities have some problems connected with the lack of communication. That is why Aunt Linda and Uncle Norman try to show for every child how
interesting and varied our world is. This year they came to Russia with their friends. New meetings give us hope, love and understanding. You can't imagine how pleasant to get presents and to make them. This year an unusual bell with a blue charming bird has appeared on my table. Now every my lesson starts with the sound of this bell. Oh, it's so amazing!
I want them to know that they are always in my heart...

Suzanne, Linda, Norm, Anya, Natasha, Paul, Nancy, Timo (arriving at Belgorod, Russia train station)

Norm & Linda Manzer from St. Helena, California visit children and families in need.  This is Norms 33rd trip to Russia.  He has brought some of friends, Paul, Nancy, Suzanne, and Timo, who were interested in visiting Russia with him.

Norm's first trip to Russia was after the fall of the Soviet Union on behalf of his Calistoga Rotary Club to accompany a Russian exchange student back to the United States.

Norm and his wife Linda hosted Natalia Tihoivanova, who was the Russian exchange student 20
years ago in Saint Helena High School.

The conditions of life in Russia on Norm’s first visit were harsh in compassion to life in the United States. He felt a need to help people in some way. This was the start of what has become a life long commitment to helping others.

Since his first visit to Russia Norm and his wife Linda have for the past 20 years been participating
in programs, which help Russian orphans and children with disabilities. Norm and Linda are members of the Grace Episcopal Church in St. Helena. They help organize, along with other members of their church the annual rummage sale event to raise money for their projects in Russia.
Each year that passes Norm tries to help more children and families that he comes in contact with.
He is able to do this from the generous contributions that the members of his congregation make for the sole purpose of helping children in need living in Russia.
five years ago Norm and Linda went to the Children’s Poly Clinic in Belgorod City to talk to some doctors to find out if there were any families who were in need of financial help. The doctors gave
the names of four families who might be in need of help. Norm and Linda contacted these families 4 years ago to find out what their needs were and made a contribution to each of the families. Norm always tells the receiver of a donation “we are the messengers delivering the donations from
members of our church family”.
In October Norm and Linda from St. Helena, California arrived in Moscow to visit the two orphanages that were started by the members of Grace Episcopal Church in St. Helena and the help of The Children’s HopeChest a Colorado-based nondenominational group. He also stopped off in Belgorod
City to spend some time with three families that he met 5 years ago.
Dima Kozhushkov (October 11, 2012) 
Thursday afternoon 11th of October Norm and several of his friends went to visit 17-year-old Dima Kozhushkov and his family.

Four years ago Dima became unable to walk. 

His mother Tamara and grandmother Lubov help Dima with the majority of his physical therapy.

They live on the 5th floor of an apartment building, which has no elevator in the building. So they
are not able to take him for a walk even in a wheelchair .

Tamara said that they are able to leave Dima by himself for a few hours during the day.

A Teacher comes to Dima’s apartment to help him with his studies. When Dima has a medical
problem a doctor will come to Dima’s apartment. If Dima needs to go to the hospital it takes four people to carry him down the stairs. This is why Dima’s mother and grandmother are not able to
take him out of the home to enjoy being outside once in a while.
Paul, Linda, Victoria, Natalia, Natasha, Andrey, Nancy, Marina, Suzanne, Norm & Nastya (October 11, 2012
On Thursday October 11th in Belgorod City Norm arrange a picnic at the Hotel Belogorie with two of the families that he met 4 years ago. He met with 16-year-old Nastya Rastorgueva and her parents Natalia and Andrey. He also met with 9-year-old Slava and his grandmother Marina.

On Thursday Norm and Linda made their third visit the Social Rehabilitation Center for Children in Belgorod region, where children and teenagers from age 3 to 18 are place here when domestic problems occur in the family.  

The Social Rehabilitation Center for Children opened in 2003 when the first children came to live
here. The staff members are trained to provide medical, psychological and pedagogical rehabilitation for the children and their families. The purpose of the center is to help children and families that are in a difficult situation and to help bring that child back to their family.
The government of Russia for more than seven years now has provided help for children so that
they can adapt to life better. This is accomplished by providing a home-like environment and a
caring staff. The staff tries to give all their attention, care, love and their own life experiences to the children. They work together with the children to clean up the territory, help with minor repairs, take care of flowerbeds and vegetable gardens that they grow together. They have picnics, parties and have the children participate in concerts and shows.
The center celebrates a lot of holidays, which help make the children happier. They also provides a school for the parents to help them find a way out of the difficult situation that they are in and to
help them from losing their child. The center also has a Women’s Club, which is a support group for mothers that are having difficulties with their child.
All of the work that is being done at the center is oriented to benefit the child and to work with the parent so that the child can return home. The center also provides a 24-hour crisis phone line for parents and children for immediate psychological and pedagogical help.
Norm & Linda’s donation from the members of his church and all of the volunteers that participate in the
rummage sale to help children in Russia were greatly appreciated by all of the children and their families. 
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