In June 1-9th, 2013 International Cultural Educational Association (ICEA) hosted a group of young Ukrainian leaders in Palatine, IL. The delegates were taking part in the congressionally sponsored Open World Program, which brings young political and civic leaders from Ukraine, Russia, Georgia and other post-Soviet states to the United States for short-term professional trips. This NGO development delegation focused on HIV/AIDS prevention/treatment by local NGOs as well as general fundraising techniques and grant writing by American NGOs.
Our Open World guests were:
1.Mr. Yuri Viktorovych Babchanik: Manager, chief accountant, Rivne branch of All-Ukrainian PLWH Network;
2.Mr. Serhiy Yevhenovych Dmytriyev: Director of Kharkiv branch, All-Ukrainian PLWH Network;
3.Mr. Radyslav Mykolayovych Petriv:Doctor, PSC “Prykarpattyaoblenergo”;
4.Ms. Mariyana Ivanivna Rymarchuk:Department Assistant, Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University;
5. Ms. Halyna Vasylіvna Kaluzhna: Facilitator
Accompanying them were Larisa Koval, Ph.D, President of ICEA, Sergey Likhovid, Ph.D, Executive director of ICEA and Vita Mindich, Interpreter.
Our guests were extremely interested in establishing relations with other organizations, in learning how NGO outreach affects people, managing of the decentralized NGO, coordinating NGO activities in the regions, international cooperation and development.
The delegates discussed public awareness campaigns regarding health related issues, preventive methods and treatment of HIV/AIDS, the primary, secondary and tertiary prevention and the newest treatment regimens for HIV infection, psychological assistance programs for women during pregnancy and after child birth, preventive measures among students to prevent substance abuse, reduction of stigma and discrimination in society and the role of media in the public health field. Additional topics of interest included a plan to establish partnerships with medical professionals working with these issues in American medical centers, hospitals and nonprofit organizations. The delegates did presentations about their work.
In Palatine the delegates met Sharon Langlotz-Johnson, Supervisor of Palatine Township. She introduced their mission and talked about the outreach volunteers programs for the community. Then the delegates visited Palatine Opportunity Center (POC), had a tour and round table with Kathy Millin, Executive Director of Community Services and the staff of POC. The Palatine Opportunity Center is a community center that houses a spectrum of agencies and organizations dedicated to meeting the needs of the northwest suburbs’ under-resourced population, including a large percentage of immigrant families.
The delegates paid a visit to the Palatine Police Department and appreciated their new facility. They were very impressed with the meeting with the officer Kellie Poliquin, an Outreach Coordinator of Child Safety and abduction Prevention Program Crime Prevention Unit.
The program participants learned about different models of social work, fundraising and volunteer programs in following organizations: the Chicago Botanic Garden, Forever Young Services and YMCA.
At the Chicago Botanic Garden the delegates met with James Boudreau, Vice President of Marketing and Development; Jennifer Schwarz Ballard, Ph.D, Associate Vice President, Education; Anya S. Maziak, development officer, foundation and government relations.
At the Forever Young Services senior citizen center the program participants met with Marta Litas, president of Forever Young Services. They learned about the nuances of the local non-profit operations for senior citizens.
Annette Tarchala, Relations Manager at the Buehler YMCA, a Youth nonprofit organization in Palatine (YMCA), talked about how their organization helps every child, teen and adult to become healthier, more confident, connected and secure.
In Chicago our delegates learned about Ukrainian National Museum and its operation as the largest non-profit organization in the Ukrainian Community in Chicago (meeting with President of Museum Jaroslaw Hankewych and tour with Museum Curator Maria Klimchak), they were delighted to work with the staff of Museum.
At the Museum the delegates attended a meeting with Georg Hrycelak, Executive director of the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America (UMANA). The delegates discussed health issues in Ukraine and USA and exchanged information about HIV/AIDS prevention/treatment.
The meeting with a General Consul of Ukraine in Chicago Pravednyk Andriy Ivanovych took place in the warm atmosphere and promoted further collaboration. The General Council covered the issues of government cooperation, support of the Ukrainian community and professional organizations at the local level.
Meeting with Chicago World through Citizen Diplomacy (Peggy Parfenoff, Executive Director and Maria Krasinski, Youth and Professional Programs Manager) showed the delegates how this large non-profit organization provide the local community with a unique opportunity to build business relationships and lasting friendships with visitors from around the world.
During the discussion panel with Steve Strang, Executive Board of Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Chicago, the Open World delegates learned about the strategy, support and resources for young professionals.
Social issues of prevention and monitoring of TB/HIV and AIDS were covered by the Cook’s County Department of Health representatives. Dr. Michael Vernon, DrPH, Director, Communicable Disease Control Cook County Department of Public Health and Dr. Demian Christiansen. Assistant Director & Tuberculosis Program Manager, Communicable Disease Control Unit presented the delegates with the latest HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report and discussed the statistical data about channels of infections in Cook County. The delegates had an opportunity for comparative analysis with the Ukrainian statistics followed by the Q&A session.
The discussion panel with Dr. Thomas Lyons Director of HIV/AIDS Research and Policy Institute at Chicago State University covered the issue of research, policy analysis, training and capacity building to address the HIV epidemic. The delegates shared their experience and advancement on this issue and proposed to connect on this matter with the staff of the Institute.
The delegates were impressed by the social programs of Chicago House & Social Service Agency. The Reverend Stan J. Sloan, Chief Executive Officer staff of Chicago House, talked about the innovative programs that were designed to meet the unique needs of individuals and families who are often disproportionately impacted by HIV and AIDS, including many individuals in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community as well as minority communities who struggle with health and income disparities.
During the meeting with Curtis Reed, Jr., Chair and John Peller, Vice President of Policy at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the delegates acquired information about AIDS Foundation as a local and national leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS, ways and procedures for collaboration with community organizations to develop and improve HIV/AIDS services; fund and coordinate prevention, care, and advocacy projects including champion effective, compassionate HIV/AIDS policy.
At the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center the delegates met with Marisol Gonzalez, RN, MPH, Director of Prevention and Education, Daniel C.Taussig, MA, HIV Screening Coordinator Prevention & Education, who focused on HIV Testing, Clinical Settings and Community and prevention programs. The Ukrainian delegates were impressed by their state-of-the-art equipment and work conditions.
The Chicago Public Health Department was represented by David Amarathithada, Director of HIV Prevention and Alfonco Urquidi, Public Health Administrator. They focused on Chicago’s comprehensive HIV Prevention Plan in an effort to make a difference, one person at a time, by helping individuals prevent the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The delegates had a chance to share their experience and data on this subject as well as ask questions.
Home stays with Palatine-based families allowed the delegates to experience American family life style. They took take part in several cultural and community activities like visiting an art museum, attending a jazz concert in the Millennium Park and sightseeing tour of Chicago.
A special thank you to our hosting families: Evdokija and Ilya Bunin, Sergey Likhovid, Diana and Victor Medvid, Alexi and Oksana Koval.