Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dear TOUCH Sponsors and Donors,

Happy Leap Year Day to each of you.


Often, during our delegation trips to Ukraine, children stick letters or notes in our pockets and say, "Give to my sponsor" or "Please pass this onto my friend in the U.S." When we arrive home and try to sort out the notes, we realize that most of them are in Ukrainian and some of them do not have a name. Such is the case of this poem that was written in Ukrainian on a piece of paper with a drawing of cranes in a nest at the top of the paper. Vita, an exchange student from Uzhgorod, who is living in Philomath, Oregon translated this poem for us and we thought you would enjoy reading it. Since we do not know to whom it was intended, it is for all of you.

By an anonymous child in Uzhgorod, Ukraine

There's a creeping ant.
There's a gushing river.
Don't tear away the chamomile flower,
Don't trample down the grass.
The forest is green,
The nutwood is green.
Look how beautiful our homeland is!
Cranes are flying in the sky.

Speaking of the Fall TOUCH-8 Delegation trip, it is already time to begin making travel arrangements for this event. We are planning to travel to Ukraine for 11-14 days leaving in late September or early October. As always, it will be a great experience, but we have two additional highlights this year. Five young women in Girl Scout Troop 199 will be accompanying the delegation with two of their scout leaders. These girls, who are about 15-16 years of age, have been saving for this trip for the last 5 years and will be meeting the young woman who they sponsor in Ukraine, Anna Yurik. In addition, the Maharimbas, a Marimba band from the Corvallis area, will be traveling to Ukraine and will be playing at City Days in Uzhgorod, Ukraine. Our plan is to meet the Maharimbas in Ukraine and enjoy their company and music. The Maharimbas are planning to do a concert for the various programs in The TOUCH Project. We know the TOUCH kids will love the Maharimbas! If you’d like to listen to part of a Maharimba concert from the Corvallis, Oregon Fall Festival in September 2007, click on this YouTube video:

So, if you are thinking about coming, we would like to know as soon as possible. We can get reduced airfare by booking early and as a group. Right now, we are planning to fly the new direct Northwest Airlines flight from Portland, Oregon to Amsterdam, Netherlands and then to Budapest, Hungary. From Budapest, we will take a van to Uzhgorod, Ukraine. Sabra Killen is working with a travel agent. Please email her SOON if you are thinking about coming. Her email is If we book early, the airfare cost will be under $1000 per round trip.


The Corvallis-Uzhgorod Sister Cities Association board recently voted to approve the allocation of $9000 to purchase a new fence at Public School #14 in Uzhgorod. Currently, the playground for the school is unfenced and used as a pathway for the public. This often creates an unsafe environment for the children when some of those public members may be drunk or hostile. The fence will give these children room to play soccer and other sports in a safe location. We thank the C-USCA for this support of Public School #14.


Thanks again for your renewals and donations. We will begin now to work with our program directors in Ukraine to determine what their needs are before our delegation trip in the Fall 2008. Currently, all children in the T OUCH Project have sponsors. This is our goal each year. Thank you! If you know of someone who would like to be a sponsor, we are always accepting sponsors of Public School #14. Donations can be sent to:
P.O. Box 176
Corvallis, OR 97339 (Write TOUCH-PS14 in the memo)


Sara Cropper, a recent college graduate from Ashland, Oregon, is currently in Ukraine volunteering with The T OUCH Project. Sara’s parents, brother, sister-in-law, sister, and brother-in-law are all longtime TOUCH sponsors and she decided that she would like to go to Ukraine and volunteer to work with these children for about 6 weeks. Sara has been busy teaching English to the children at the Chaslivtsi Orphanage, rocking abandoned newborn babies at the Children’s Hospital in Uzhgorod, and visiting the public high schools. We thank Sara for this gift of her time and expenses.


Alice Rampton, Co-Chair The TOUCH Project

Sabra Killen, Co-ChairThe TOUCH Project