Barke Ekaterina

I was 18 the first time I came to Step Up – just after I finished school – and I came for an interview to take part in the Summer Camp at Belskoye Ustye. I was looking for experience working with children with developmental delays because this was my future profession (special needs teacher) and Step Up’s Summer Camp was the first and only such project that I found.

The first Summer Camp was a month of unlimited happiness and love for all – for the children, for the volunteers, for the organizers and for all the people that I met during those long and delightful days. After coming here for all the other times, I realized my calling — not to try and take on the role of magician who can alter the fate of various children — but simply to try and be a real friend for one or two of the kids.

After all the experiences together at Summer Camp, it’s impossible to shake off thoughts about volunteers and kids until the next summer (or winter). So you go to Step Up. To make sure you don’t lose what you have acquired. One of the students at Step Up once asked me: “Why do you come to Step Up? Don’t you have anyone?” At that moment I didn’t have an answer, but now I can say definitely that I haven’t had, and I won’t have, anything like Step Up. A place where you are always happy. And it’s not important whether you are a student, teacher, volunteer or simply a friend or guest.