Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mission trip August 2016

I have finally returned to Ukraine, to the orphanages to continue the work I felt called to do over 7 years ago when I met a tiny little boy names Volusha in a Baby House in Vorzel. I had not returned in 4 years due to the was occurring in Eastern Ukraine and my grief over my son Lee's death.

After much pray and support from my parishioners at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, I was determined to return and pick up where I had left off. This meant that I would be traveling to 5 different orphanages: Zaluchchia, a level 3 orphanage in Western Ukraine, Nivranda, a Baby House in the Ivano-Frankovic region, Znamenka, Vorzel, and another level 3 orphanage in Kyiv where some of the babies from Vorzel had been transferred.

So I packed one very large suitcase with over 200 toys sorted into large ziplock bags each label for a different orphanage. The toys were donated from caring parishioners, family and friends and were mainly rattle and crib toys so that I would have plenty to stimulate the children.

Luckily I packed my clothes and personal supplies in a carry on,  since my luggage got lost somewhere between New York and Lyiv. If I understand correctly, it never made it to Munich in time to be transferred to Lyiv. The important thing is that I made it one time, although they DID have to page me in Munich as I was late for boarding. If you know me, being late is just one of my annoying habits!

But I am here in Ukraine waiting to meet my driver to take me to Nivranda. SO FAR, all my connections have worked out just fine. At the airport, I was met by Vera and we then traveled by foot, bus, and trolley around Lyiv which is a beautiful little city in Western Ukraine and the port way to Europe, before boarding our train for a five hour ride to Synatyn where we were met by Helena and her husband and driven to Zuluchchia. SO in one very long day I traveled on a plane, a train, a trolley, a bus and a car!! And you better believe it, I fell asleep with no problem once settled into my room at the orphanage!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Passion Of Sandie Flannery

I have been a Parishioner at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church for 29 years.  During that time I have grown in my Faith and have come to know and Love many here in our wonderful parish.  For those who know me, they are aware of my passion for Special Needs Children.  After receiving my Masters Degree in Early Childhood Special Education, I applied my studies by working with Colonial IU 20 which services many of the School Districts here in Pennsylvania assisting them with the Special Needs Children in their schools.  I spent my entire Career at CIU 20 and have just recently retired after 25 years.  I loved my career and the many children that filled my days and heart.

Approximately 6 years ago, I accompanied a friend and her husband to the Ukraine on their journey to adopt special needs children with Down Syndrome.  While there I had the opportunity to tour an Orphanage that housed special needs children.  It was then that I knew God’s plan for me.  From that time to the present I have made multiple trips back to the Ukraine in order to assist the Orphanage in the training of their staff and caring for the many “unwanted” special needs children there.  Many of these children have been brought to the orphanages at a very early age because of the expense and strain on the family to raise them.  I am not judging these families for what they have done.  However, the Ukrainian Orphanages do not get enough government assistance to provide the necessary care that is so desperately needed  in raising these children.  Many of these children, because of their disabilities are never adopted.

Over the past few years I have been sponsoring events (Tricky Tray) to raise money that is sent to the Orphanage in order to buy the bare necessities required in the caring of these children.  The money is used for items as basic as Diapers, but often is used for special equipment required in assisting the children.  In the up-coming months & years I will be launching new initiatives to support these special needs orphans.  I hope that you will join me in demonstrating to these children that they are loved and are truly God’s gift to us.  Your prayers & donations will help do this.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Our Lady Queen of Peace Adopts Orphan Outreach Ministry!

I have so much to share and really feel badly that I have ignored this blog for so long. I started posting on Facebook and have a FB site called Serving Special Orphans. Check it out for daily updates and postings.

After my last trip to Ukraine, I knew my ministry was not over, however, my personal life was overwhelming.  Unfortunately, in May 2013 I lost my son Lee at age 26 to drug withdrawal while incarcerated. I then went into a down hill spiral and subsequently took early retirement from my Early Intervention teaching position, ended a long term relationship and concentrated on survival. My daughter was finally, at age 20, diagnosed with a syndrome, Mowat-Wilson Syndrome, and I became very involved in helping to start the Mowat-Wilson SyndromeFoundation . The marriage of my son Kris to a wonderful girl, Miki, and suddenly becoming a Grandmother to a little 6 year old, Syun, kept me busy. However, I never forgot the orphans...............

In late spring of 2015, after much prayer, I approached my Pastor, Fr. M. Quinnen of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Gilbert, Pa., the Pastoral Council and Social Justice Ministry and asked to bring my ministry to the Church. Fr. Mike agreed to allow me to form the Orphan Outreach Ministry and to raise the awareness of the orphans with disabilities in Ukraine to our parish.

After the Ministry was formed a fund raiser was planned in November , around Orphan Sunday.  The intent was to send all donations to an orphanage in need.  We choose the orphans of Zulancchia/Synatyn whom I had visited 3 years previously. With the support of a small group of woman from the Altar and Rosary Society, we went about making over 100 assorted theme related baskets and received over 40 gift certificated for a Tricky Tray. The students of the CCD classes became involved, donating items for a class basket, and various parishioners, not only donated items, but also money!

I presented at all the Masses on Orphan Sunday, sharing the plight of the orphans throughout the world and the situation in the Ukrainian Orphanages, focusing on the orphans in the Level 4 orphanages for those with disabilities.

The following Saturday , the doors opened at 12:00 in McCawley Hall were over 140 baskets and gifts certificates were available for the auction!! There were a few snags but it was quite a success with the crowd cheering, ringing bells and waving wands as their tickets were called and basket awarded! I think I was in semi shock when the doors opened, and I saw the line of people in the hallway waiting to buy their tickets and get in the door! For once I WAS SPEECHLESS! And if you know me, that doesn't happen EVER!

The day was a success! The Orphan Outreach Ministry became a reality and between Church and individual donations received, over $8,00 was raised for the orphans!  I'll add the pictures later, just want to get this posted!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Exciting news!! I'm going to Ukraine back after 3 long years!!