Category Archives: education

February 2020

Hello family and friends,

Good day to you this February afternoon. Sveta and I hope that you are having a great beginning to your year. Ukraine has had a mild winter so far. Today, high winds are uprooting trees in the city, tearing materials from flat rooftops, and tossing around anything that is not tied down.

Mark’s Moments

Back in November, Sveta and I visited an orphanage east of Mykolaiv. We didn’t know the director, but thought that it would be a good opportunity to introduce our massage therapy program to him. For seventeen years I have waited for God to introduce me to the people that He had prepared. This time I didn’t wait. That was my first mistake. When we met the director, we told him that we provided massage therapy for children with disabilities. That was my second mistake. He immediately informed me that there were no children with disabilities in his orphanage. He then made it clear that he had no more time to talk with us.

Two weeks ago, Sveta was invited to participate in a program called “Happy Family.” This seminar was created to prepare individuals to share about morality in the school system. The man leading the seminar was Paul. Sveta and I met him last year when he visited our church. He spoke about his program to help children in the orphanages find families. After the second session of the seminar, Paul invited Sveta and me to visit with him and his wife to chat about our mission.

This introduction was definitely orchestrated by God. The first time that we met, Paul was not ready to initiate massage therapy into his program. Now he was, and he had the facility to do it in. Paul and his wife Elena, have three children of their own and adopted five more. With big hearts for children, they set the example for their program.

Paul and Elena are very in tune with the emotional needs of their adopted children. We discussed our two programs, one in Dobromel, and the other in Marganets, where massage therapy was having great results dealing with emotional needs. Paul told us that they had access to four hundred children in their program that could benefit from massage therapy. I shared how our program works, with training and partial payment. He agreed with the program and said that he would begin searching for two young women who may be interested in becoming massage therapists.

It was a great meeting. When I wait for God’s introductions, thing move forward smoothly. Praise the Lord!

Sveta’s Journey

I am so glad that at the end of the “Happy Family” seminar, we will be able to conduct classes for high school, college, and university students. It is so wonderful to tell children about God’s principles of relationships before marriage. We want to improve and affirm family values before families begin. My heart burns to bring at least one child to an understanding of what God’s will is for the family. When children are becoming adults or parents, they can be happy in the most important place, in the family. This is where they will find understanding, love, support and unlock their potential. I look forward to this wonderful time!
How wonderful it is when children can learn before starting a new family! Perhaps we will never know about our influence on their lives, but I am deeply confident that we can influence children in a positive way. I remember when I was 16 years old I saw an elderly couple. They walked along the street holding hands. During the Soviet Union times this was so unusual. A dream arose in my heart to keep love in my family until my very old age. I wanted to walk hand in hand with my husband. But no one me taught how to raise my children with love and grow together. Only after many years of hardship in my first family, I found God’s love. When I met Mark, my dream came true! According to polls from high school students, they all dream of great pure love. But this love must be received from God and they must learn to grow in love. This is what we will teach.
A constant influx of children flow through the Transition Home in Marganets. Their parents do not know how to raise and love their children. Many have chosen to escape the family challenges in life through alcohol. Children come here with wounded hearts, embittered, unaccepted and misunderstood in the family. This child has been shuffled to the Transition Home and back to her alcoholic parents, for three years.
Of course, they find acceptance here, a partial healing of their soul. Our massage therapist, Albina, has a huge heart for these children. Through massage treatment, children find love, acceptance, and understanding. Some children have physical and medical problems such as scoliosis and bronchitis, but mostly these are children who need emotional and psychological recovery.
And this is where Albina helps them. These two sisters, whose mother cannot provide for her children, are forced to live in the Transition Home, as are many, many other children. In 2019, Albina treated 74 children. The flow of children through this facility is constant. Some come for the day, others live there for up to nine months. Seven of the children that Albina treated received two or three ten-day courses of massage therapy over the one year period.

Thank you very much, dear family and friends, for the financial and prayerful help. Without your support, it would be impossible to provide such great help for MUCH children.
Living my dream,

God continues to improve the quality of life for His children. Be a part of it and be blessed! Thank you for your help!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

November 2017

Hello family and friends,

If you tried to donate online, we apologize that our website was offline. It is working now and waiting for you visit again.

We trust that all have had a blessed Thanksgiving experience. God has blessed Sveta and I with many joys in our life these past six years. We pray that each of you take hold of the many blessings that God has waiting for you.

Sveta and I spent 7 weeks in America with our families and friends. We stayed with new friends in Virginia, and visited two home schools and a church. We were interviewed on a local Radio Station, WPAQ. It was a nice experience. We visited sponsors and spoke at a church while staying with four families of my relatives in North Carolina. We enjoyed meeting with our MUCH Board of Directors. Two weeks in Florida was a special time. My Dad and step-mother, Bob and Jean Koehler, helped us by organizing opportunities to present our story. They organized a meeting at supper with different people every night. It was wonderful to talk with people from all walks of life. We made new friends! It was such a blessed time!

Thank you everyone who helped us with housing and food, transportation, and all our needs!

Our Christmas fundraiser is moving forward! We are improving education in four village schools and two orphanages. Help us spread the joy of Christmas by providing many of the educational tools that will help these children change their future in Ukraine.

Thanks to the friends of MUCH, we have raised $1,500.

We still need to raise $2,720 to meet our goal by Christmas.

Donate Here


Shostakovo asks for help to improve their Biology, Physics, and English classes …

In September, MUCH provided a few educational tools! It was a great beginning.



Maksimivka asks for help to improve 5 classes with wall charts …

Migovo asks for help to improve their Chemistry, Biology, and Physics classes …

Ternava asks for help to bring instruments into its Music Program …

Veleeky Lubin asks for a tablet for the psychologist …

Dobromel asks for tools to teach the children to work with concrete and plaster …

In September, MUCH began to provide tools for the construction class.

Let’s meet this goal together!

May 2017

Hello family and friends,

Spring has sprung! The gardens are green and growing very well. Grass needs cut and weeds are being pulled. Life in Ukraine is moving forward!

Mark’s Moments

The War Continues

Traveling by train from our home in Mykolaiv to L’viv, and from there to Dobromel by bus, we saw the beauty of Ukraine’s farmland. The more we traveled west, the more peaceful everything seemed. Unfortunately, the war in Eastern Ukraine continues. It takes on a different style every so often. Before the war, Russia controlled gas for home heating, trying to weaken Ukraine. Now, coal is the energy weapon, but it is Ukraine’s own coal that Russia is trying to control.

If you are an honest man working in the Russian government, your days are numbered. Russia has its own form of terrorism.

The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia is now in the International Court of Justice. This story is a good update on the progress of the war.

Veleeky Lubin Orphanage

Our bus travel from L’viv to Dobromel passes through Veleeky Lubin. We stopped to visit the orphanage and meet our massage therapist who began in January. Igor has fifteen years of experience with massage therapy. We watched as he gave two of the children massage. He connects with the children very well, calming their anxiousness about physical contact.

As with all of our massage therapists, Igor gave me a massage. This helped me understand his technique. I was impressed.

Ternava Village School

The Ternava school is located three and a half miles from Dobromel. Last year MUCH provided sewing machines to enhance the experience for the children in the sewing class. Sveta and I visited the class to see the children in action. The girl in the back showed me the phone pocket that she sewed with cloth.

I asked the boy what was interesting to him about sewing. He told me in his shy manner. I encouraged him with a story about a man in Ternopol who had a dream to have a sewing factory of his own. I told the boy that this friend of mine is very successful. I saw a light of enthusiasm in his eyes.

The war continues, but MUCH helps Ukraine fight the war with education. We provide educational tools to improve the future of Ukraine. You never know who will influence Ukraine or the world in the next generation of leaders.

Dobromel Orphanage

Last year MUCH provided a number of the items for this hair care class at the orphanage. With the help of other sponsors, the class is in full operation. Although the pupils have the skills to create designer haircuts for the boys, the director forbids it. He is very careful about what may influence the fragile lives of these children.

The new focus at this orphanage is to train the children who will not go on to trade school. If special needs children do not qualify for some type of higher education, then their ability to earn money is very limited. Developing work skills while the children are in the orphanage is a vital aspect for their future.

Sveta’s Journey

Yura, 11 years old, came to the Dobromel orphanage four years ago from the Baby House. When he arrived, he was wild and uncontrollable. His diagnosis is cerebral palsy and kyphoscoliosis. During four years, he received 14 courses of massage therapy. He became calm soon after his first course of massage therapy. Our massage therapists Natasha and Paul see good results after the massage courses. More importantly, the doctors see change in Yura’s overall physical and emotional health.

For two years, Luba, our computer teacher, used a computer tablet to teach simple skills to the less able children. She used training programs designed to teach children with disabilities. Mark and I were very surprised and impressed with how well Yura coped with the tasks! Although he says only a few words, he understands very well! We see great changes in his character, health and intellectual development. This time our hearts were so full of joy for this wonderful child. God, the Defender of orphans, has touched the hearts of an American family to adopt Yura! Soon he will be a part of a family in America!

Luba does an excellent job helping 14 children learn how to use computers and computer tablets on a daily basis. Taking into account the personality and level of development of each child, she prepares tasks for each one of them. Some educational games are more complicated. Some are simple puzzles. The higher skilled children are learning to use the key board with the goal to learning to touch type.

Two years ago, as an experiment we bought one tablet for the computer class. Teaching children to use the tablet has brought tremendous results. It helps Luba give lessons to the children more easily and in an interesting way. After amazing results last year, we bought one more computer tablet for Luba’s classroom.

Last year MUCH bought three additional tablets. Oksana, the defectologist, Melany, the speech therapist, and Julia, the child psychologist each expressed a great interesting to have a tablet to enhance their progress with the children. They are very grateful for these tablets.

Oksana showed us how the children she is preparing for the first grade demonstrated good results using the tablet. Children study colors, count to ten, classify vegetables and fruits, wild and domestic animals, and much more.

Melany, is delighted with the results that children achieve through learning with the programs in the tablet. Children learn much faster and more efficiently. They are very interested in the lessons. The musical reward brings delight to the children when they complete the task correctly. This girl was so stimulated because of the tablet that she began to form sounds and speak simple words.




For these therapists, the computer tablets are a huge help in providing an exciting teaching technique. The children happily showed us what they had learned. They are so proud! They have the confidence that they can do it!

Our time spent with the children was so wonderful! The last evening when we said that tomorrow we will leave, some of the children cried. I remember how every day they pressed themselves with all their heart to us and hugged us. I miss them and love them.

Living my dream,


Sveta and I are very grateful to everyone who makes our work possible. The children thank you! Your contributions to MUCH are helping change Ukraine. We are setting examples in healthcare and education. Many teachers and administrators had no hope for change. Now they dream of ways that they can do their job better, change the lives of the children they serve, and change their country, step by step.

Thank you for reading our stories and sharing them with your friends!

You can see all of our videos at our Youtube site

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

September 2016

Hello family and friends,

Our search for God-led people to join our mission continues. We are looking for people to fill the positions of children’s ministry and tech support ministry. If you or someone that you know has a passion for children, please share our website with them. We can be contacted at [email protected]

Sveta and I traveled in September. We rode in the train for nineteen hours from Mykolaiv to Lviv, northwestern Ukraine. There, we met the director of an orphanage for children with disabilities that is located in the village of Veleeky Lubin. He and his driver took us to the orphanage to investigate their needs in respect to the philosophy of MUCH. From there we rode in a bus to Cambir where we changed buses to continue on to Dobromel, a total of two more hours. After spending five days with the children of the Dobromel Orphanage, we rode in a bus to Lviv, and then in the overnight train to Kiev. There we stayed two days with friends who coordinate the Ukraine Challenge mission. It is always good to talk with our friends and other Americans who are visiting on short term mission trips.

Mark’s Moments

Veleeky Lubin
Stepan Yoceepoveech, the director of Veleeky Lubin Orphanage, showed us classrooms, their medical rooms, a fully functional dental room, and the playground. He and his wife, who is the nurse, shared a small lunch with us. Sveta’s and my goal was to see if they had needs similar to dscn3884those at the Dobromel Orphanage. It was very clear to us that they had all of the material equipment that they needed. So, how could MUCH help?

The same as the Dobromel Orphanage, they did not have additional teachers to teach computer classes. They have a beautiful computer room. It seems that the government likes to give the appearance of a fully operational orphanage, but in reality, they are not interested in committing money to the monthly cost of additional teachers for the program. They do not have a massage therapy program for the children, but they do understand the need. We are investigating different possibilities.

For MUCH to begin new programs, after they are approved by the Board of Directors, such as funding a computer teacher and/or a massage therapist, we will need more regular monthly support. The support that operated the clothing program in Marganets that we recently closed will support one massage therapist at $100 per month. We would need an additional $62 per month to support a computer teacher. If you have friends who are passionate about children, particularly children in Ukraine, please share our story with them.

Sveta will share about our time with the children at the Dobromel Orphanage in Sveta’s Journey.

dscn4150Our time in the Kiev area, north central Ukraine, was centered in Voronkiv, at a church camp. The church provides camp for three weeks in the summer for children with disabilities.

Buddy and Janada, coordinators (and much more) of Ukraine Challenge (UC), took us to visit three other churches that UC is sponsoring. These churches are in the process of being built or expanding. It was exciting to see hunger for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in these villages and small communities on the edges of cities.
dscn4168 dscn4171 dscn4173
We talked about many things with Buddy and Janada. Most important to me, we talked about our purpose as missionaries in Ukraine. Their twenty-one year of service to Ukraine and our fourteen year of service to Ukraine approach the same goal. We are helping the people of Ukraine help themselves to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ through action and word. It is an honor for me to be a missionary in Ukraine, being part of this country in the midst of change.

Sveta’s Journey
The Dobromel Orphanage is my favorite place of all the places that Mark and I visit. Maybe it is because I lived in the orphanage while I gave the twenty-day massage therapy demonstration that started the program there. I always look forward to meeting with the children and our team of two massage therapists and two teachers for the computer classes. Children greet us, and every day during the week we hug them, talk with them, and take their pictures. Whenever I hug the children, I use this great opportunity to pray for them and bless them. I see in their eyes a big need for love and acceptance.

This year, the Ukrainian Ministry of Education (MOE) has finally created an official computer class and provided a teacher. The program created by the MOE teaches theory only, and is taught only two hours a week. When the teacher began her first class, she was very surprised to see what the children already knew about the practical application of computer. Because she was hired by the MOE, she is required to teach the given curriculum.

Therefore, the two computer teachers, Olga and Luba, supported by MUCH, will continue their work. Our teachers work with the children five days a week for one hour each day. It is important for these children to learn and apply their experience every day. It is so wonderful that Olga and Luba can choose the programs which are necessary for their particular group of children and also create an individual plan for the different learning style of each child.

dscn4034Olga not only teaches children computer skills, but she also encourages each child with hugs and words of encouragement. She builds nice relationships of trust with the children.


Volodya continues to change. I was surprised when I saw this former fidgety, naughty, and wild boy in the computer class. During the whole lesson, Volodya was doing his work patiently and diligently. He was proud and happy to show us the text which he typed. It’s so wonderful to see such a huge change in the lives of these children!

Olga takes a short break in the middle of the lesson. With her fluency in English, she combines learning English words and sentences with physical exercise. The children surprised us with how quickly they grasped what they were taught, in spite of the mental limitations of some of the children. Olga has a great love to help the children. She takes an individual approach with each child.

Luba teaches her computer class in the library. She has a beautiful maternal love and patience for the children. She is instinctive about what programs will help them in the future. In her library, she uses older computers which sometimes lock-up. This causes the children to become upset because they cannot continue their work. They have to turn off the computer and reboot it, taking computer time away from them. When this happens, they look at their classmates with envy.
She also works with two computer tablets provided by MUCH. Luba uses these tablets to work with non-verbal children like Misha. We wrote about him in previous newsletters. This visit he surprised us! He learned several words and began to understand some of the actions that Luba taught him! It is not so easy to teach children like Misha. It requires patience and waiting for the results. Luba has a lot of patience!

With MUCH money we acquired a printer for the library computer class. Children learn to print text and photos with great pleasure!

Olga and Luba began the first month of the school year dsc02793with a review of what they taught last year. It is common for children to forget over the summer what they learned during the previous school year. The children surprised their computer teachers with how much they remembered. It is obvious that the children want to learn how to use the computer. They are very interested in using the computer and are showing great results.

Mark and I saw many physical changes in the orphanage at Dobromel. One example is the newly remodeled adjoining rooms that were created for the massage therapy and exercise programs. A wash basin was also installed in the room for the therapists to wash their hands between massages.

The director of the orphanage always has a vision to improve the quality of life and rehabilitation for the children. The government does not always support his vision financially. With money from MUCH, we helped move some of his projects forward. In future newsletters we will talk more about these projects.

Living my dream,

We thank all of you who make our mission a reality! Without your prayers and financial help we could not carry on with our work.

You can see all of our videos at our Youtube site

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

March 2016


Hello family and friends,P1010003 (2)

In Mid March we had snow flurries! The freezing temperatures come and go, but spring in Ukraine is just around the corner. My friend from Louisiana told me that he plants according to ground temperature, so we are thinking in that direction.DSCN3001



Our tomatoes are planted and growing toward the sunshine. I knew that those toilet paper rolls would be good for something. — Sveta planted the onions outside yesterday.



Mark’s Moments

May of 2002, I boarded a plane set for Ukraine. Everything that I owned was packed in two suitcases and a hanging bag. I was moving to Ukraine for the rest of my life, although I was unsure of many things. I was certain of one thing. My faith in God would be tested more than it ever had been. I knew one person in Ukraine and I knew that I would help children. Everything else came to me a day at a time.

It happened that the father of this one person would lead me to Marganets. He would become my manager there. I had money from an American organization that I was to deliver to a church in a city call Illichevsk, wherever that was. July 7 I would begin CDTS (missionary school) in Ternopol, Ukraine for 5 months.

My faith would now be put to a test of time. I settled in Illichevsk in April 2003. By that time I had grown spiritually by leaps and bounds. Even though I was involved in the food program in Illichevsk and my clothing program in Marganets, I had much free time. The American work ethic would not let go. Eight months of waiting for God’s next step for me left me in one big knot of stress. And that led me to the development of the massage therapy program for children with disabilities in March of 2004.

The next twelve years tested my faith in many ways. God was my provider, and I was constantly challenged not to forget that fact. I was introduced to people most unrelated to my mission. Surprisingly, they would unknowingly lead me to a new outreach for the mission. Along the way, there was much down time. Thanks to the missionary school, I learned to hear the voice of God. I developed that relationship, and continue to practice listening for His voice.

Sveta and I met in 2010 and were married in 2011. Together, we look to God for provision. We love the children of MUCH, grow in faith in our church, and grow closer together as “one body, one spirit, one ministry, in Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 4:4)

Sveta’s Journey

Dobromel and Marganets have facilities that we commonly call orphanages. Technically, the term is ‘internat’. The children who live in the facility may be:
– true orphans,
– children whose parents have lost parental rights,
– children who had to leave their homes because of alcohol, drug abuse, or immorality in the family
– children from difficult homes
– children who live in such poverty that the parents are not able to care for them

In addition to these situations, all of the children in the two orphanages that we help have some type of physical or mental disability

The children at the orphanages who do have families, seldom go home or are visited by their parents during the school year. Some do go home for the summer, and sometimes on holidays. For most children, the orphanage is more of a home than any other experience in theirs lives.

The children at the Dobromel and Marganets orphanages require more time to learn what other pupils learn in less time in regular schools. Although education is very important for these children, that which is most important is the care and protection of the children.

DSCN0180Luba is the librarian and also one of the MUCH computer teachers at the Dobromel orphanage. She works very well with the children. She has wonderful compassion for the needs of the children. Her patience is remarkable! She projects her enthusiasm and love to the children.

Normally, Luba teaches five children. Because of her kindness, she has accepted five additional children. Two children must share a chair and a computer, but their hunger to learn about the computer eliminates their comfort zones.

These children need individual instruction. Luba has devised a plan to meet this need. She works with two children at a time who are on the same or similar skill levels. During this time, the other students are paired, a better student with one in need of help. They review the previous lesson and practice.

The children are very excited about learning new computer skills quickly. Luba considers their memory skills and different levels of learning. Some need to repeat and practice to maintain their new skills. It is a challenge for Luba to encourage the children to repeat the process over and over until they grasp the concept. Others have difficulty grasping the concept and putting it into practice.

Last year, we purchased one computer tablet for children in Luba’s class who can not speak. We wanted to see how it would result in contrast to the physical keyboard and monitor computer. We spoke with Luba recently, and she said that the kids really like the touch screen, and they tend to prefer the tablet. But it is too early to acquire more tablets because she must be close to the pupils to control their actions. Many of the children are unpredictable.

Of the 120 children at the Dobromel Orphanage, only 5% of those who have families, have computers at home. The children really like studying computer lessons. Luba uses interesting and easy-to-play games so that children with intellectual and communication disabilities can learn to use the mouse, keyboard, and examine other simple things on the computer. This is a great opportunity for children to learn to use the computer in this boarding school/orphanage. We believe that many of them, even with learning disabilities, will make great progress.

Living my dream,

Sveta and I thank you for your interest in our work with the children. They are so very grateful. Their lives are changing in amazing ways. Better health, better education, and new experiences are making their world grow day by day. You are changing their futures. We all thank you for your prayers and support.

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

Vika, Nursing Scholarship

Vika is our second scholarship student. She is doing well in her program at the medical college. She reported last term that her studies were challenging but she was maintaining her grades.

This young adult lead a life of uncertainty as a child. Her parents did their best to give her a positive life in the midst of their poverty in Illichevsk. She had a good relationship with her grandmother. She told me about how she helped give her grandmother injections. This was the catalyst for her interest in nursing.

I met Vika long before I saw her at Emmaus Food Program. That was in 2004. I saw her a few more times, walking in the streets of Illichevsk. She seemed to be without friends, yet calm and pleasant .Vika’s mother was not happy about her interest in the Emmaus Food Program. The Baptist Church is viewed as a sect by many people in Ukraine. This did not stop Vika from building a strong relationship with the manager of Emmaus. She saw the value and kindness of the people.
By the time I met up with her at Emmaus, she was full of enthusiasm and hope. She continues to project the same personality today. Don’t miss seeing her video. [youtube][/youtube]

Our goal for Vika in the coming school year is $760.

Will your $10 help Vika complete her nursing degree? Click here

Sveta’s Story

“Poverty has many roots, but the tap root is ignorance.”
“Poverty should not be a barrier to learning, and learning must offer a way out of poverty.” Lyndon B. Johnson.

Poverty is often associated with limited access to knowledge beyond the classroom. During Soviet times all education was free, and everyone had to work or face imprisonment. Today, the Ukrainian government provides limited free assistance other than trade school or college for orphans, in preparation to enter the work force. Unemployment is high, wages are low, and fewer jobs are available. Ukraine continues to struggle to stabilize its economy even after twenty-two years of being an independent country.

Living in poverty is not living, it is survival. The main task is to earn money for food, clothing, and shelter. Education is the key to the destruction of poverty. It helps people become more confident in themselves and be responsible citizens.

In many families, fathers who were educated in professions during the Soviet system are not able to succeed in life. They are seeking to find work that is suitable for their professional training with appropriate financial compensation. It is almost impossible to find appropriate work, especially after the age of 40 years. They cannot give their children an education, and they start drinking.

I want to tell you an example from my personal life. After the death of my first husband, I raised two children alone. When my son Misha graduated from high school, he had to choose where he would study. Even though I had good income at my job at the seaport, I did not have money to pay for university education for my son. My entire salary went to pay for utilities, food, clothing and other general living expenses. He did attend trade school to study appliance repair because it was free.

Sveta’s Son, Misha, Ira, and Masha

My father, who was a highly licensed welder, was concerned for Misha’s future. He and Mom paid for my son’s five-year study of agriculture at the University. With a diploma, Misha was able to get a good job, where he now is a supervisor over thirty workers. Now his goal is to save money for his three-year-old daughter to attend higher education in her future.



Misha’s wife, Ira, also attended university, but only had funds for one year of classes. She works now and has a great desire to complete her university education as soon as they have the available funds.

Sveta’s daughter, Olga

My parents paid for a three-year education for my daughter in college. Her education cost as much as university studies. Now she has a wonderful profession as a hairdresser; she loves her work.

Many of Misha’s friends did not have the opportunity of higher education. They did not have parents or grandparents who had the interest or the means to help with their education. His friends had no motivation. Because of this, they have chosen the lifestyle of their families. They drink alcohol to excess and have no vision for their future.

You can give the four girls in our program a great opportunity to start their adult lives with the best knowledge that will help them realize the potential which lies within them. Don’t miss seeing two of the girls talk about their futures. [youtube][/youtube] They will, in the future, encourage and help others. I think the hearts of these four beautiful students are filled with compassion for people who have needs, and they will encourage and support others because others encourage and support them now.

$10 will help Nastya and Natasha change their communities in Ukraine!
Click here

Crime Prevention Through Education

In 1975, I was studying Criminology as my college major. I wrote a term paper entitled “Crime Prevention Through Education” for one of my courses. I received a top grade from my teacher, but the students, many of whom were police officers, saw things differently.

In the 1970s, new approaches of preventing crime were being investigated. Of course, the general methods of crime prevention that the police officers in the class reported on were also good. The difference was that they were dealing with preventing the criminal from acting. I was writing about preventing the individual from becoming a criminal.

There are a multitude of methods used to prevent the criminal from acting. Motion-activated lights, glass windows on lighted stairwells, car alarms for theft detection, and keeping shrubbery cut and giving the property a look of being lived-in are only a few. This was the mindset of the police officers and other criminology students in my class. So much so, that one of the police officers stood up after my presentation, and challenged my “theory”.

My thoughts and the thoughts of a growing number, were that crime is the result of poor education. Not only poor education, but the lack of particular subjects in the education curriculum. Does education prepare student to know how to find employment, participate in an interview, raise a family, and become active in local community affairs? How does society, or education as a product of society, prepare teens and young adults for marriage? When should sex education be taught in the schools? That remains a hot topic. Parenthood is not something that should be a surprise. It should be desired and planned. Good education provides opportunities for students to become members of society who will be successful in life and not turn toward crime.

Why do girls turn to prostitution? Here is a video about prostitution in Ukraine which shows the result of poor education and bad family life.


The need for higher education in Ukraine and the effect that it will have in breaking the cycle of poverty can’t be overstated. MUCH believes that higher education is one big answer to changing the future of the small cities and villages in Ukraine. That is why we continue our scholarship program. If you can believe it, transportation from Illichevsk to a university in Odessa and back per school year, cost about the same as tuition for a university degree.

Will you help us help the students of Ukraine? It is amazing that $80 a month will put a student through the university program in Ukraine and provide a bite to eat each day.

Your $10 will help MUCH help our university students!
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How Does Education Break the Cycle of Poverty?

What is the cycle of poverty? How does it begin? It can begin with financial crisis or it may be the person’s physical or mental abilities that limit them. There are other possibilities. However it begins, the cycle will pass from generation to generation, unless there is a desire for change. The desire for change is stifled by a number of factors. The sense of family is very strong. “If this life (poverty) is good enough for my parents, it is okay for me.” Peer-pressure pushes children into class-cliques, developing groups that accept their station in life. These are the two main obstacles, but there are others. Having a mindset for the status quo is quite powerful.

One of the downfalls of living in poverty is that abuse of alcohol and or drugs, becomes a common form of recreation or escape from life’s difficulties. Television advertisements for alcohol suggest it as a reward for hard work, or a drink to share with friends. Unfortunately, this post-Soviet society has a long history of alcohol abuse that dates back more than 200 years. In Illichevsk, wine is a major business and export product. The grocery stores have aisles of alcoholic drinks with vodka and other hard liquors.

All of these factors promote a lifestyle that is not about change. To break the cycle of poverty, there must be a desire for change; there must be change. Education is the main factor that can provide change. This is a proven fact in the history of America. Here are a number of YouTube videos from the YouthBuild program in America.[youtube][/youtube]

What promotes the desire for change? Change is not easy. It takes hard work. Even more, it requires a support group, whether it be parents, friends, classmates or mentors. Even cheerleaders are important. When a student is cheered-on, his or her accomplishments take on a new value and motivation.

How does this work? In schools, teachers and guidance counselors understand the needs and potential of the student. Helping the student understand his or her own potential and interest is vital. Guiding him or her to higher education as a reality is a necessity. The student must have a dream. The dream should have achievable goals. Meet two students who have achievable goals and are moving forward.


Help us change the poverty of Illichevsk, one student at a time!

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Education Breaks the Cycle of Poverty

In 2003, I began to participate daily in the Emmaus Food Program in Illichevsk, Ukraine. Operated by a local church, this organization reached out to children from difficult homes with one hot meal a day, Bible study, a sewing club, craft activities, and lots of love. In this city of 65,000, there were 300 families where the children were identified as living in extreme need of help. Fifty of these children attended Emmaus. Many were elementary school age. Most of them attended the school for children with lower abilities. They may not have been truly limited in their ability, but their home environment lacked nurturing and had no potential as a study environment. Even more, some home environments were lice infested, or parents were alcoholics or drug users.

I interacted with these children for a number of years, eating lunch with them and participating in their other activities. When some of the older children were ready to graduate high school, I learned that they would no longer be eligible to attend Emmaus. When I asked the program manager what would happen to the children, a sad expression crossed her face. She explained that some would learn a trade, but most would remain in a negative family environment and would begin to follow the lifestyles of their parents.

I asked about the opportunities for college or university for the students who had earned high grades. The potential for being awarded a scholarship was good for those students, but they had to pay for their own transportation. Students from difficult homes who had high grades had no money for transportation. There were four students who fell into this category. One was somewhat lazy and chose to succumb to the affections of an older man. The second chose to get married to her boyfriend sooner rather than later, and passed on higher education. The third wanted to study to be a lawyer, an advocate for children. The fourth wanted to study to be a kindergarten teacher.

In 2007, I initiated the Transportation Scholarship Program through Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope (MUCH) at my Ukraine base in Illichevsk, providing funds for transportation to university in Odessa. The third and fourth students gladly participated. Both students did well during the first two years. Somewhere in the third year, one of these student disappeared from our radar. She was on her own, without any parental guidance. She may have connected with a group in Odessa and continued, but no one in our network knew what had become of her.

The first student to complete the program, Vika, is a great success story. See Vika, A Success Story in the Making. We have a second success story in the making. This student, also named Vika, is studying pharmacology in the nursing program. See her short video [youtube][/youtube].

This year we have three additional applicants.

It is amazing that tuition is about the same cost as transportation from Illichevsk to Odessa. We are interested in helping as many students as we can to break their cycle of poverty. After operating the program for 6 years, MUCH will broaden the program to offer a specific dollar figure for scholarships, either for tuition or transportation.

There are other disadvantaged children in Illichevsk who could benefit from higher education. By focusing on their need, we hope to encourage support for more of them to go on to higher education. For $80 a month, you can send a child to college or university and they will have enough to get something small to eat each day. A group of four could co-sponsor a student for $20 each per month. Imagine, you could help a child break out of the cycle of poverty in his or her life. In turn you could help stimulate the hope that it is possible to change the cycle of poverty in their community.

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