US Sailors Bring Joy to Children in Vladivostok and Vice Versa
June 23-27, 2010
On June 23-27, the USS Vandegrift and the USS Patriot visited Vladivostok to participate in Russian Navy day. During their visit, sailors from both ships visited with children in the cancer ward of the Children’s Regional Oncological Center and at “Parus Nadezhdy” Rehabilitation Center for children coming from troubled homes. The sailors spent the afternoon at the cancer ward drawing, painting and playing with the young patients. They brought presents - puzzles, paints, crayons, color pencils, modeling clay, balloons, etc. for the children to play with. When some of the young cancer patients couldn’t leave their hospital rooms, the sailors visited them there, playing, communicating, and painting with them during the hour and a half visit. The children were delighted to see the Americans, and didn’t want them to depart at the end of the visit. At the “Parus Nadezhdy” Rehabilitation Center, sailors listened to the children sing lively Russian folk songs, accompanying themselves with clanging wooden spoons. They had a tour of the center and saw a documentary on the center’s origins. The sailors and children were then divided into teams and participated in relay races and numerous games, including soccer, volleyball, etc. At the end of the visit, the sailors were treated with homemade donuts. Prior to their departure, the sailors invited the children – many who suffer from domestic violence, who do not have one or both parents, or whose parents are drug/alcohol addicts – to have a tour of the two ships in port. The children were thrilled, so, two days later, they enthusiastically went from one ship to the other, tried out the captain’s steering wheel, and excitedly received photos of the vessels and had juice and cookies. They will remember these days fondly for a very long time!