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.
Co-Founder & CEO
Alex was abandoned by his mother when he was just a month old and placed in the Russian state orphanage system. His tumultuous childhood included adoption, abuse, running away, living on the streets, and returning to the orphanage system.
Since that time, Alex has earned an AS degree in Business Administration Management. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Franklin University (Columbus, OH) in 2005. In 2018, Alex married Amy. They now have two boys, Levi and Jayden. They minister as a family to staff, residents, participants in special programs, and graduates of The Harbor.
Emeritus, Co-Founder and Consultant/ Educator for Trauma Informed Care
Melinda resided in St. Petersburg from 1992 to 2002 with her husband, Mark, and their three children. Before their time in Russia, Melinda lived in the US. She practiced individual, family, and marriage counseling in various settings. Her caseload has included victims of incest, adult children of alcoholics, addiction, depression, and numerous family and marital issues.
Melinda received her MA in Counseling Psychology from Trinity International University in 1985. She completed TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) Educator Training in 2015 at Texas Christian University. She now trains and consults on trauma-informed therapy and The Harbor model of residential care with those working with orphans or foster kids in any capacity. Her training in TBRI principles has been enthusiastically received in the US, Russia, Ukraine, Mexico, Bolivia, and other countries.
Amy was born in Minnesota and moved at the age of 14 to Washington State. She graduated college with a BS in Business Administration, then passed the CPA exam and became a licensed CPA.
Amy worked for five years in Seattle as a CPA before moving to Siberia, Russia. She completed a two-year Russian language program in Siberia at a local linguistics university. Amy joined The Harbor in St. Petersburg in October 2017 and has been instrumental in handling the financial reports for the Board, teaching English, hosting Harbor graduates, and building relationships through baking classes.
Oleg Krasnikov was born in 1983 and raised in Kazakhstan. He holds a Bachelor of Theology degree from St. Petersburg Christian University. He is married to Yuliya, and they have three children.
In 1993, Oleg’s family moved to Lipetsk, Russia, where they attended a Baptist church and later accepted the Lord. In 1999, he received the Lord at a Christian youth camp and began to work with youth. After high school, Oleg studied at Bryansk Bible College for one year. He then returned to Lipetsk, where he ministered at a Christian mission, organized youth ministry at a church, and worked at a Christian camp.
Oleg is a minister at the Resurrection Church in Pushkin, leading youth and music ministries. In 2011, he graduated from a state university with a law degree. Oleg has served The Harbor since 2006. In 2018, he received a Bachelor’s degree in Existential Psychology.
Leader of the Theater – Imagination & Analysis Specialist
A graduate of The University of Bremen, Germany, with a Master of Science in Applied Polar and Marine Sciences, Daria worked as a research scientist and engineer at the Institute for Arctic and Antarctic Research. Her dream was to be a famous polar scientist. However, she felt a nudge from God to go back to church. After deciding to turn her life over to the Lord, she realized He had different plans. She began teaching English in a Russian school and a hospital for low-functioning orphans. There, her heart was turned toward helping orphans. She is delighted to be a part of The Harbor.
Leader of the Vocational Training Center
Zhenya was born in Udmurtia – in the central part of Russia – to a large, wonderful family. She has a degree in sociology–anthropology from a State University in St. Pete’s and became a sociology anthropology teacher after graduating. She then completed her Master’s and Ph.D.
Since 2006, Zhenya has taught as a professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology disciplines. She has worked in higher education institutions such as Saint Petersburg State University of Pedagogic and Saint Petersburg State University of Economics.
Zhenya started work at the Harbor in 2015 as the Director of the Vocational Training Center, which teaches orphans additional life and work skills/vocations. She coordinates different groups, leads children from orphanages to understand professions and life skills, tutors them in various school subjects, and socializes them with the real world. While it is sometimes challenging, she absolutely loves her work.
National Leader of Development & Marketing
Irina was born and raised in Siberia. At 15, she became a Christian and dedicated her life to being a Sunday school teacher and a youth leader at her church. After getting her degree in linguistics (Russian language and literature), she became a missionary in Tuva. For two years, she traveled around Tuva, helping to create new Sunday schools and educating local teachers.
After having this remarkable experience, Irina moved to St. Petersburg and enrolled in a Christian University. She then became one of the first volunteers of the Harbor and worked with our residential program participants. Years later, she joined The Harbor’s team as the National Director of Development. Irina also has a degree in marketing from St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Holland University (Netherlands). In 2022, Irina got married, and her spouse’s name is Pavel.
Leader of Sports Outreach
In Nikita’s early childhood, he considered himself to be a Christian. When he turned 18, he began helping people by donating blood, feeding, and clothing the homeless, as well as helping the rehabilitation center for drug and alcohol addicts where his brother Grigoriy was staying due to alcohol addiction.
Upon leaving the rehabilitation center, Grigoriy brought Nikita to his church where he has attended ever since. Thus, it is his brother who truly brought him to the Lord.
Nikita has always maintained a heathy lifestyle and been involved in different types of sports. He always treasured Christian values. Nikita joined The Harbor first as a mentor in 10 Knots – the boys’ residential program — and after his brother Grigoriy passed away in 2022, he became the leader of the Sports Outreach in 2023. Nikita is an honorable blood donor of Russia and has been involved full-time in charitable work for over 10 years.
Leader of "10 Knots" - Girls Residential Program
Maria was born in a Christian family and grew up attending church. In her church, she was involved in musical, children’s, youth, and social ministries. When she turned 14 years old, Maria became a volunteer at a charitable fund visiting and helping orphans in the city of Vologda.
Maria became acquainted with The Harbor through her husband Grigoriy and in 2017, she joined The Harbor team and became one of the long-term mentors in the post-residential program. In six years fulfilling her role, more than 10 young adult orphans have lived with Maria and her husband and children. In 2023, Maria became a leader in “10 Knots” – the girls’ residential program.
Leader of "I am Valuable" and Alcohol & Drug Prevention
Roman grew up in the city of Ukhta, a Komi region. In the time of Perestroika, a tough time for the Soviet Union, Roman’s family became alcoholics. As a result, he spent a lot of time with his grandmother and other relatives and was unable to finish school in his hometown. Eventually, Roman went to St. Petersburg, where he was able to finish school and graduate from a university.
Roman became a Christian in 2007, when he was at a rehabilitation center. After a prayer, he experienced a deep change in his heart. He had a personal encounter with God and heard His voice saying, “You are my beloved son, I opened your eyes, you are a new person, I have given you a new heart and baptized you with the Holy Spirit.”
In 2008, Roman received a call to minister to children who were in difficult life circumstances, and he helped develop a ministry called “A Restoration House”. This ministry worked with kids who were homeless because they ran away from their alcoholic parents, as well as runaway orphans and aged out orphans. Many of these children were brought to “A Restoration House” to recover and be helped, and sadly it was obvious that many of them did not have any life or social skills. As a result, Roman began to look for organizations and ministries who were providing such services and this is how he first heard of The Harbor Vocational Training Center.
Since 2012, Roman has filled various roles at The Harbor, first as a sub-mentor at the Transitional Residential Program. He has also been a soccer coach in the Sports Outreach, as well as a leader of Alcohol and Drug Prevention, and “I am Valuable” Outreaches. He is also a co-mentor of older orphans, visiting them at their homes and providing support and training in life and social skills.
Roman lives with his wife and daughter Yana, who is truly a gift from the Lord. Roman is grateful to God that he can be part of The Harbor and impact the lives of orphans.
Co-Leader of "I am Valuable"
Denis was born and raised in a poor family, residing in the Leningradskaya oblast. His father was absent, and his mother worked in a factory and drank a lot. As a result, Denis was basically raised on the streets. Until he was 27 years old, he lived as a slave to sin, yet God found him and He had a different plan for Denis. Denis became a Christian, was baptized, completed a Biblical missionary college, and ended up serving in a rehabilitation center for addicts.
In 2021, through a sporting event along with FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), Denis met Grigoriy who was the leader of The Harbor Sports Outreach. Grigoriy extended an invitation to become part of The Harbor. Denis has since been able to show the love of Christ to teenage orphans, and help them accomplish their goals and find salvation through various programs of The Harbor.
While earning a master’s degree in counseling from St. Petersburg State University, Natalia struggled to figure out how she would combine her faith with her profession. Through working in a shelter for orphans during her last year’s practicum, Natalia began to see the value of her education, particularly in child psychology. Some friends introduced her to The Harbor, and she began working with us as a professional counselor in 2005.
Leader of "School of Rap"