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A family in crisis from a child's perspective

Meet Max and his brothers. These three have been through so much since their father abandoned the family for another woman and their mum turned to drink and became addicted.

While mum attempted to quit, they spent years in and out of orphanages not knowing if she would ever be able to care for them again.

Olya felt her chances of succeeding at sobriety dwindling... but, with the persistence and encouragement of her 15-year-old son Max (top right), she agreed to go to Volkhov crisis centre. This time seemed different....

This is Max's story in his own words...

My name is Max. I am 15 years old and I have two brothers - Denis, who is fourteen, and Artyom, who is ten.

It all started when our mother began drinking too much and they learned about it at school. Two weeks later, they took us to a hospital where we stayed for almost a month. Then they moved us on to an orphanage where we stayed for ten months.

Mum got better, found a job and took us back - life seemed OK. I thought everything would be fine, until she began to come home drunk again. I didn't like it and we would run away from home. We did not like being there when mum was drunk.

She was offered another place in hospital rehabilitation so we were sent back to an orphanage where we stayed for another six months. After rehab, mum took us home again – this time she managed to remain sober for about eight months.

My grandmother suggested that mum could find help at the crisis centre in Volkhov, a place where we could all go as a family. Mum didn’t want to go, drinking seemed more important. I was very upset as I desperately wanted us all to go there… so, I took money from my mum and saved up for our train fares to the crisis centre. After six months of waiting, she finally agreed and we all went!

We are very happy here…. our mother does not drink at all and she is now working with small children. I am in college and my brothers are in school. We go to a youth club and as one of the older kids I help out - we celebrate birthdays and talk about God. My brothers and I like it so much. We have friends, and we don’t want to leave – we want to stay here forever!”

What makes the Crisis Centre different?

The family approach and not treating addictions in isolation makes the difference and has been the encouragement Olya needed to break her addiction. It's now over a year since they arrived and today, Olya is still sober and training to become a Montessori nursery nurse. Her boys are safe, stable, loved and supported and they can trust their mum again. Most recently, Max began learning car mechanics!

The crisis centre invests in children through;

  • supporting education

  • celebrating birthdays

  • running a youth club

  • holding Bible studies

  • and providing fun activities.

Max, Denis and Artyom witnessed things that will affect and stay with them forever. This can show in behaviours, mental health problems and attachment issues but by supporting children through their own recoveries, whole families have the chance at healthy futures.

This year Christmas appeal 'FOR THE CHILDREN' focuses on areas of our work that directly benefit children. Futures have been transformed through this work and we are excited to invest in the lives of many more children over the coming years.


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