I have submitted this letter to a local newspaper...
Some times all you need to do is ask. If you want your dream to come true you need to do something about it. Things just don't happen overnight, or at least that's the rule of thumb, with a few exceptions. Sometimes it's somebody's kitchen before it becomes a popular bakery or a restaurant. Sometimes it's somebody's basement before the business grows and you can afford to have an office or a show room. Sometimes an idea comes up, but never grows into anything and stays to be a dream...
In our case it was an idea, a living room, and a determination of two excited families. And that's how we started the first in the Poconos Russian Speaking Club. Getting together every other Sunday and switching between the houses for a meeting place, our mission was to encourage our children to learn Russian, the language of their heritage, to establish a circle of Russian speaking friends and to build an ethnic Russian community in the Poconos.
And that's when a Holy Trinity Orthodox Church has become such a blessing. We approached Fr. Nicholas in November 2008 and introduced our idea and simply asked for help. And even though Fr. Nicholas didn't know us that well at the time he still agreed to provide a meeting place for our growing group, and the fellowship hall of the church has become a new home for our Russian Club "Teremok".
Since December we've been getting together every Sunday for a few hours. And during those few months we were able to not only establish friendships, but to teach our children about the beauty and uniqueness of the Russian language, literature and culture and to appreciate a life long gift of being able to speak, read and write in another language.
Children (ages 4-9_ had a Russian class where they would learn the Cyrillic alphabet, hear poetry, prose, fables and tales from classical Russian writers, play Russian games, sing songs and participate in a children's theater.
The adults, meanwhile, would have an opportunity to socialize and have a cup of tea or coffee with some home baked goodies.
Last Sunday we had our first annual spring concert where children were able to show to their families and friends all the wonderful poems they'd memorized, tongue twisters they'd practiced, and songs they'd learned. Everybody's favorite was singing "Head, shoulders, knees and toes", "Mary had a little lamb", and "The wheels on the car" in Russian. And the culmination of the program was the play we put up with the kids. Our young actors were so excited about their hand made costumes, acted very naturally and did a fantastic job saying their lines in Russian.
Our vision for the Russian speaking club is to grow and attract more interested families and create a Russian Sunday school with a few levels of learning. We are planning to provide translation services and help families with adopted children from Russia and other Russian speaking republics of the former Soviet Union to overcome the language barrier and be able to connect with their children faster.
Celebrating cultural holidays, having an annual picnic, organizing a choir with Russian folk music as a repertoire are other things we have in mind for the Russian Club.
Therefore, we would like to thank Fr. Nicholas and the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church for supporting us in our endeavor of establishing a strong Russian ethnic community in the Pocono region.
Founder of the Russian Club "Teremok"