Vera is energetically involved in her host school and community. For her school senior project she was able to bring them together in a joint venture to raise funds for the Kids Club after-school program. She recruited more than 20 musicians to perform a variety of music in a benefit concert. Teenagers who sang popular songs to old-time fiddlers and a college student who played the guitar, the harmonica, and sang his own original songs, were a big hit! Over 80 people attended, ranging in age from 3 to 83, and $320 was raised for the Kids Club. This wasn’t Vera’s first time volunteering to help with the Kids Club. For International Education Week, she planned and presented over two hours of activities to teach children, ages 5 to 13, about Russia. She taught Russian songs, dances, and games and served some of her favorite Russian dishes. Vera is also an excellent student, a member of the school yearbook staff, cross-country and track teams, and managed the girls’ basketball team.
Vera brought together her host family and natural family. For New Year’s, she treated her host family to a traditional Russian New Year’s Eve celebration. She showed them Russian traditions in which they participated through Skype with her natural family, not once but twice, when it turned midnight in Russia and again when it was midnight in Oregon. On New Year’s Day, friends came over to enjoy Russian food and learn and share traditions. She also volunteered at her host family's church as well as a local senior center.
Vera is an excellent FLEX program ambassador. She energetically learned about U.S. culture, government, and community service and enthusiastically shared Russian culture and traditions, successfully fostering mutual understanding.