Millions of lives – with the potential for restoring Russian society – are ignored and thrown away, viewed as a lost cause. But graduates from The Harbor are proving that this doesn’t have to be the case.
The Harbor is breaking the ruthless cycle of poverty and abandonment among Russia’s millions of children-at-risk by offering them real hope. Nurtured, educated, and taught essential skills, Harbor graduates have become accountants, computer programmers, teachers, seamstresses, nurses, social workers, businessman, and Christian leaders. At The Harbor, orphans are finding not only a reason to live, but also the skills to live.
Not taking the band-aid approach to the complex problem of Russian orphans and street children, The Harbor stands apart from most models of transitional childcare…
We are called to find the young adult orphans forgotten and neglected by both their own nation and the international community. Branded “hopeless,” these orphans are too old for adoption. Yet we find them in the orphanages or on the streets and know that they are far from hopeless. The Harbor is shattering the national stigma placed upon orphans, unveiling their God-given worth, dignity, and potential.
We base all that we do on our understanding of Jesus and his ways of relating to us…
We are highly individualized. Since Jesus is concerned about each person as an individual, so are we. Each participant receives a plan based on their current skill level and their academic potential.
We address the whole individual. Just as Jesus is committed to emotional healing as well as physical well being, so are we. We care about the entire being.
We emulate “family.” Since family is God’s design for providing both love and discipline, we believe that transformation of character happens in relationships, not institutions. We provide Christian mentors for our participants to live life with 24/7, with no more than eight participants in each residential facility so that the family unit is kept small.
We emphasize service. God created us to serve. But orphans tend to have a welfare mentality. Having grown up in orphanages, they are used to being provided with what they need without being expected to give back. Severely handicapped by this mentality as they enter adulthood, our emphasis on service has been crucial in their transformation.
Our Strategy of Growth
Our strategy for growth is designed according to our understanding of God’s plan for both the Church and the nations. We do not believe that God is calling The Harbor to grow endlessly, recreating another institution for these young adults. Rather, we believe that we are to grow to a capacity of 24 full-time residents, no more. Limiting our growth will enable us to maintain our focus on family along with highly individualized and comprehensive programming.
However, we do desire to reproduce The Harbor throughout St. Petersburg, Russia, and the entire CIS, multiplying the number of orphans reached and empowered. We are currently in the process of training leaders from eight different cities and three republics to start similar programs.
Our Commitment to Staff
We are committed to empowering national staff with a program relevant to Russia’s needs. Since we believe that nationals are best able to prepare orphans for life in their home country, we desire to create an indigenous program. We want The Harbor to be reproducible by Russians. Therefore facilities and salaries must correspond with a Russian lifestyle.
We are also committed to the continuing education of our staff. We desire for them to be professionals with extensive knowledge in their respective fields. As their expertise grows, so do the skills that we are able to pass on to Harbor participants.