Comfort Cherepovets

Comfort Foundation in Cherepovets ministers to underprivileged children through Image Studio and Lighthouse Club after-school programs in Cherepovets' poverty-stricken neighborhood of New Corners ("Novye Oogly").

In Cherepovets our staff regularly:

We also operate a 12-step program for adults in New Corners, and we frequently work with young moms to help them learn how to support and better care for their children.

Image Studio

The Image Studio program was developed in 2007 for teenage girls living in New Corners, and is intended to help young women develop a sense of self-esteem. Facing abandonment issues, young women from underprivileged homes (and orphanages) often have difficulties with self-esteem, which, in some cases, leads to prostitution and drug addiction. Through the Image Studio program, Comfort Foundation staff work with these young women through a series of classes including cooking, make-up and dress to instill in these ladies a sense of their inner beauty. Each year, they hold a fashion show in which the young women model clothes they have made and/or outfits they have put together - an event which is always a huge success! The Image Studio program has been so successful, it is now run in Vologda as well.

Cat sandwiches made in Lighthouse Club cooking class

Lighthouse Club

Lighthouse Club is an after-school program for boys and girls in the New Corners neighborhood. The club sees 35-40 children a week, ranging in ages from 5 to 15. Birthdays and holidays are celebrated. Lessons based on the Bible are regularly taught, with craft projects designed to reinforce the lesson. Fun cooking lessons are offered as well (see picture on right).

The children of New Corners are routinely ignored by their adult guardians. Left on their own, they are destined to perpetuate the cycle of hopelessness that brought their families to New Corners. Lighthouse Club seeks to break the cycle by providing a consistent, loving environment that supports each child and teaches them that they have worth in God's eyes.

New Corners Ministry Center

The New Corners program had its beginnings in the home of a single mom with 9 children. It then moved to the home of another woman from New Corners, who had joined the Comfort Foundation staff part-time and had opened her small apartment to the program. Next, the program moved directly downstairs to another apartment that was available to rent. Then, the program met in a room at the school in New Corners. Meeting places were becoming increasingly scarce, so the program moved back into the small apartment of our part-time staffer Tanya.

Tanya faithfully opened her tiny apartment to children and teens for several years. For the children, her home was a place of comfort, safety and joy. They came often. Tanya's apartment was cramped, and she was getting weary. At the most, 15 children at a time would fit in this gracious lady's home. Yet the club saw 35-40 children or so a week (they came in shifts). Three times that many that would have come if they could fit. During the summer they could meet outside with the children, but the winters are cold and long, and meetings could only be held in the cramped apartment.

In June of 2014, Comfort Foundation purchased a one bedroom residential apartment with a large living room area. This residential apartment required some extensive renovations to make it suitable for use as a ministry center. The first phase of the renovations were completed in June of 2016. This included new, more energy efficient windows, removing interior walls to create a larger space for accommodating larger groups of children, installing a new kitchen area with cabinets and appliances, renovating the bathroom, installation of materials to reduce sound transfer to adjoining residences, new flooring, ceilings, wallpaper, lighting, and large storage cabinet for supplies.

Comfort Foundation is actively working with the local authorities to re-zone the apartment as a public (or non-residential) space. This is a complex process, and one that presents major hurdles to comply with Russian law. Once the re-zoning process is completed, phase 2 renovations can begin. Russian law requires a public space to have a minimum of 2 entrances, so a second entrance to either the front or rear of the apartment will be created.