Implementation of the Ladya program

A series of seminars on the Ladya program was held in November-December 2013 in various parts of Russia. “Ladya” (“Being in harmony with oneself”) is a value-orientated program for the primary prevention of drug addiction, HIV/AIDS and risk behaviours among teenagers. It has been developed by a team of ecclesial and secular educators, psychologists, psychiatrist and narcologists.

Seminar in the city of Shakhty (after The seminar was held in mid-December 2013 for six days at the Sakhty Cossack Cadets Corps. As the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations had recommended, two experts from Bryansk were involved in holding it, Victoria Afonina, chair of the Blago regional NGO, a psychologist, educator for training programs for preventing risk behaviours among teenagers and youth and art therapist, and Irina Demyanova, a psychologist educator from the Psychological, Medical and Social Support Center at the Seltso town near Bryansk, an educator in training programs for preventing risk behaviours among teenagers and youth and counsellor on family issues.

All the logistics for the preparations and conduct of the seminar was assumed by the St. John of Kronstadt Integrated Center of Social Initiatives, a non-commercial association which is a structural part of the Shakhty Diocesan Social Department. The seminar was organized as part of the diocesan program “Primary prevention of drug addiction, HIV/AIDS and risk behaviours among senior teenagers” supported by the Shakhty diocesan Department for Religious Education and Catechism.

The municipal education department sent in total over twenty specialists working in schools, colleges and boarding schools and youth clubs in the city to be trained for teaching the Ladya program.

During the seminar, its participants met with Bishop Ignaty of Shakhty and Millerovo. In the beginning of the meeting, His Grace welcomed the participants and trainers. In the lively and meaningful talk that followed, he pledged the full support of his diocese for the psychologists trained at the seminar. The experts from Bryansk, on their part, explained to His Grace the Ladya program and the methods used in training for it.

In conclusion of the meeting with the psychologists, Bishop Ignaty wished them spiritual and physical strength and expressed the hope that the fruitful cooperation initiated between his diocese and secular specialists in spiritual and moral education of youth would be broadened in the future.

Summing up the work of the seminar and the meeting with the Bishop of Shakhty, the Rev. Vlaldislav Kasyanov, head of the Diocesan Social Department, made two important points.

First, the participants in the seminar agreed to unite and found in Shakhty a society of Orthodox psychologists. Secondly, the Shakhty diocese plans to request the municipal education department to consider the introduction of the Ladya course in municipal schools and colleges in view of the fact that the municipal administration has already demonstrated a good tendency to support the diocesan initiatives as parts of the long-term program “Shakhty is a land of spiritual legacy”.

Seminar at Odintsovo (after A course on the Ladya program for training teachers in Odintsovo schools was conducted from November 18 to 23, 2013, at the parish center of the Church Our Lady of Grebnevo. The week-long training was organized by the Odintsovo deanery together with the municipal education department. Lectures were given by psychologists from Bryansk, V. Afonina and Ye. Severina.

A seminar on the Ladya program was held from December 16 to 23, 2013, in Lipetsk, at the Lipetsk Institute of Education Development; and from December 16 to 21, 2013, in Dzerzhinsk, Moscow region, at the Ugresha Monastery of St. Nicholas. It was organized by the Solnechny Krug (sun circle), a center for social and psychological support of children and teenagers, with the financial support of the municipal administration.

In addition, seminars on the Living Water and Road to Home programs as follow up of the Ladya program for children of other ages were held in October-November in Barnaul and Chelyabinsk.

Since 2008, the Ladya program has spread to 15 regions in Russia including Chelyabinsk, Rostov-on-Don, Lipetsk, Nizhniy Novgorod, Dzerzhinsk, St. Petersburg, Surgut, Kaliningrad, Bryansk, Barnaul, Moscow, Yekaterinburg and other towns and cities. Over 700 specialists have been trained and over 15.000 children have been taught under the program. In these regions the Ladya program received a positive feedback and was recommended for introduction in all the general education schools.

In three regions including Chelyabinsk, Rostov-on-Don and Nizhniy Novgorod, trainers’ teams have been formed to train local specialists (200 people) for the Ladya program.

The Ladya program is also functioning in Belarus, Ukraine and Armenia.