TOUCH project

The TOUCH Project (Take One Ukrainian Child’s Hand) was formed as a sponsorship program for Ukrainian children. In 1999, Sabra Killen and Alice Rampton traveled from Corvallis, Oregon, USA to Uzhhorod, Ukraine to help distribute a shipment of humanitarian aid from the Corvallis Sister Cities Association. This shipment of humanitarian aid was one of many projects between Uzhhorod and Corvallis since the inception of their sister city relationship in 1989-90.

Killen and Rampton visited 3 orphanages and recognized that there were many children with special needs. Upon returning home, they envisioned a program that would help meet some of these specific needs. To help with the support of these children, the concept of a sponsorship program was developed. Zita Bathori-Tartsi, a citizen of Uzhhorod and a professor in the University’s School of Social Work became the TOUCH Director in Ukraine.

The children at the Chaslivtsi Orphanage outside of Uzhhorod, Ukraine were the first to receive sponsors. The TOUCH Project has grown to include additional children in Uzhhorod with disabilities, abandoned or neglected children, and orphans. There are now over 350 children in The TOUCH Project with sponsors for each child or for an entire school. The majority of sponsors are from Oregon, but there are sponsors now in 21 U.S. states, Germany, Iceland, and Canada. Sponsors include families, individuals, businesses, civic & religious organizations, youth clubs, and school classrooms. Each sponsor contributes $75 annually. This money is hand carried each year to Ukraine each year. In addition, various sponsors have covered the cost of dental surgery, college expenses, or tutoring for the child that they sponsor.

Approximately 200 individuals have traveled from the U.S. to Ukraine since 2001 as part of an annual TOUCH delegation to help these children in various ways. These volunteers travel at their own expense. Delegation members meet and visit with the children, take them shopping for school clothes, on outdoor excursions and hikes, and to movies, museums, parks, and cultural events. Sponsorship funds are used to purchase glasses, school supplies, food, furniture, toys, books, etc.

Additional funds have been raised from TOUCH sponsors and other individuals, foundations, organizations, and corporations (including NuSkin Force For Good Foundation, Peery Foundation, Altrusa, Zonta, Kiwanis, and Rotary International) to support various projects including the installation of a septic system at the Chaslivtsi Orphanage, playground equipment for 3 facilities, remodel of 11 classrooms, a minivan, a laundry facility, 2 computer centers, library, sports field, 350 quilts made by women in Benton County, a sports field, 120 beds, mattresses, and bedding, and painting a Roma school. Nearly $400,000 has been raised and donated to improve and brighten the life of each child in The TOUCH Project.

The TOUCH Project has grown to include five sponsorship programs for about 350 children at:
• The Chaslivtsi Orphanage- 70
• The New Family Program – 110
• The Medical-Social Rehabilitation Center – 65
• Pavlovo Farm Home – 20
• Uzhhorod Public School #14 – 80

The Chaslivtsi Orphanage provides a boarding school situation for children, ages 7-17, who have been abandoned or orphaned. Most of the children reside at the orphanage on a fulltime basis, but a few children travel home to relatives on weekends or certain occasions.

The New Family Program includes children whose parents are deceased, deprived of their parental rights, in prison, or have abandoned their children. These children are often under the care of a grandparent who lives on a small pension. The program provides a center where children may receive a hot meal, meet with friends, study, take a shower, wash their clothes, and gain instruction in singing, dancing, art, sewing, languages, and computers.

The Medical-Social Rehabilitation Center includes children from 3 years of age to adulthood with various physical and/or mental disabilities who usually live with a family member and come to the center for school, physical therapy, socialization, and training. 14 children with disabilities have now been mainstreamed into the public schools.

Pavlovo Farm Home provides opportunities for young women who graduate from area orphanages. They are given a safe & nurturing environment in which to learn and develop talents and marketable skills.

Public School #14 in Uzhhorod is a Roma school where most students come from very impoverished circumstances. Sponsorships contribute toward books, supplies, musical equipment, and improving the school facilities. The TOUCHProject provides bread and milk each morning for the children during the school year.

The TOUCH Project Sponsorship Guidelines

• The TOUCH Project is a friendship program, not an adoption agency.
• Limit of two children per sponsor.
• Each sponsor contributes $75 annually.
• Donations are hand carried to Ukraine by volunteers who travel at their own expense.
• Donations are used to purchase needed items for children in the program. The funds are also used to improve facilities where the children live or gather.
• Each sponsor receives an Annual Report and a photograph of the child.
• Correspondence through letters is encouraged between the child and sponsor.
• All donations are tax deductible when checks are written to the Corvallis Sister Cities Association.

We are under the umbrella of the Corvallis Sister Cities Association and are grateful for that support. We do not represent any political, religious, ethnic, or other organization. Additional information about The TOUCH Project and sponsorship forms are available at the following website.

You many also contact the volunteer Co-Chairs for more information:
Alice Rampton
541-753-5170 hm, 541-231-6238 cell
email: alice.rampton@gmail.com

Sabra Killen
360-834-1240 hm, 541-760-6515 cell
email: rankil@aol.com