December 7, 2009
Growing up in this neighborhood has imbued me with a rich sense of community and helping others.
This summer, I participated in a volunteer service trip sponsored by New York University. During the trip, we traveled to Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, where we helped rebuild a community center, made arts and crafts with children and cleaned the homes of seniors.
One of these seniors was Yulia Mednikova, whose apartment we cleaned. The 75-year-old former biology researcher is now a widow, living in a dilapidated apartment building. Her poor eyesight and ailments make it difficult to leave her apartment.
Two months before we arrived, the community center had found her and cleaned her apartment for the first time in five years. In addition, they provide her with an aide who visits several times a month and delivers meals.
“Thank you for visiting me,” she told us as we left. “It is good to know that people halfway around the world care about me.”
These community centers provide invaluable services and enriching learning environments, serving hot meals for seniors, holding winter clothing drives and giving language lessons to children.
In 2010, these community centers are slated to provide services for more than 1,800 seniors, including 80 for the “Meals on Wheels” program. Already we students have raised several thousand dollars. Our goal is to raise $7,000, which would provide half of the seniors with with one meal per week for one year.
As the holiday season approaches, we are reminded about the power of miracles. Similarly, you can help give these Kazakhstanis a holiday miracle. Though we gladly accept any donation, we suggest that you give $30 – the cost of giving one meal to half of the seniors who need them.
Please send your check to me by December 21st. You may make it out to “NYU.” I will hand-deliver your check to New York University in January. [You will receive a separate thank you card from NYU.]
Thank you for your consideration and hope you have happy holidays!