Echoes of Russia

In the space available discuss the significance to you of the school or summer activity in which you have been most involved.

Towards the end of my trip to Russia this past summer I volunteered for over one hundred hours at a summer camp for partially deaf and partially sighted, most of whom are also mentally imbalanced. Though I have volunteered with disabled children back home, this new experience with so many children, so much poverty, so much need not only tested my Russian, it endowed me with unparalleled knowledge. From each day I enriched more than my vocabulary; I gathered the only wealth that can truly be defined as human an acceptance of the ineffable interdependence between hope, hardship, joy, pain, and survival and harbored it in my heart as more than just memories.

The children's willingness to share, to welcome so honestly, the courage with which they prepare to face a world that may not be ready to welcome them as equals, and the power of their faith in human goodness, made the weeks I coordinated their activities campfire performances, games, competitions and spent time with them emotionally engaging and memorable. Aside from eating with them, playing their games, participating in their classes, and answering their questions about life outside of Russia's boarder, I endeavored to plan activities on my own, which included a...

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