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In 2002, I began to support the Emmaus Food Program.

This program, operated by the local Baptist church, reached out to children from difficult homes. Some of the children came to eat without having showered for days; some of the children arrived with lice in their hair, and others appeared in clothes that seemed to stick to their bodies.

After interacting with the children for a few years, I realized that no matter how good the program was, the children aged out when they graduated high school and had nowhere to go for help. What was next for them? This was the big question that entered my mind. My evaluation was that the children would continue to live with their parents, and many would follow in their parents’ footsteps, using alcohol and drugs to escape the seemingly hopeless situation of their lives. How could this cycle of poverty be broken?

One very powerful answer is higher education. In 2007, I had a vision of helping students who qualified for higher education, but needed transportation funds to and from Odessa. MUCH began the Transportation Scholarship Program, beginning with two students enrolled in a four-year university program. Transportation to and from Odessa universities in 2007 cost about a $1 a day. In 2012, the cost has risen to $3.33 a day. One of our students graduated, see our January 2012 Newsletter, but it was unfortunate that the second student dropped out of our program. Our third student began university in 2010, and she is doing very well. You can also read about her in the June 2012 Newsletter.

Our first student to complete the program studied to be an English teacher.  She has since married, and she has given birth to a baby girl. In the future, she will use her education to help get a good job, but for now, her education will help her to be a better mother. Our third student, still in the program, is studying pharmacology. Each student has worked through difficult times, but their desires and goals are stronger than the challenges that they faced.

I began to investigate the number of children in Illichevsk who are in need of financial help for higher education. I didn’t have to go far to learn that there are many. My current goal for the school year beginning September 2013, is to add three students to our existing program, which will total three students in Illichevsk and one in Froonza. To send these four students to university, the transportation cost will be about $80 for each student per month.

You can help a student afford university. One year for 4 students costs only $3,040

$10 will go a long way!

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