SEE’s Independent Professional (INP) initiative supports collaboration among U.S. and Russian social experts in Social Inclusion, Community Engagement and Volunteerism, Social Entrepreneurship, and Youth Engagement and Mentorship. Past participants have worked to:
- Reduce violence against women in Seattle and Samara;
- Increase the capacity of mentors in Tyumen, Los Angeles, and Phoenix;
- Launch an educational course on volunteer fundraising in Richmond and Moscow; and
- Many more projects in the U.S. and Russia!
Selected INPs travel individually to their host country (Russia or the U.S.) to collaborate for 2-3 weeks with partner organizations, which they have independently contacted and selected prior to applying, to seek new solutions for social challenges. Upon their return home, independent professionals implement activities to convey and apply their new knowledge and expertise for the benefit of their colleagues and local communities.
The INP initiative offers a unique opportunity for applicants to expand their professional networks and gain international perspectives on their social projects.
Anastasia Baradacheva is co-founder and president of the Moscow-based Children’s Disabled Hockey League and focuses on increasing the capacity of Russian and US organizations and professionals to support youth with disabilities in adaptive hockey programs. As part of her SEE project, Anastasia traveled to Tampa, FL, for two weeks in early April, where she attended the 15th annual USA Disabled Hockey Festival. Upon her return to Russia, Anastasia led a webinar and two in-person seminars for Russian sports professionals in June 2019.
Ekaterina Grishunina is project manager at the Need Help Fund in Moscow, Russia. Her project focuses on increasing the capacity of Russian organizations and professionals to implement crowdfunding campaigns for social projects. Ekaterina traveled in June to the US to study volunteer fundraising practices. After returning to Russia, she conducted a seminar at the 2019 Moscow Innovation Forum and launched an online educational platform featuring crowdfunding lessons. Ekaterina held a volunteer soccer tournament in September to raise awareness of fundraising activities for Russian NGOs.
Anastasia Ruppel is project manager at Stellit, a non-profit social work organization in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Anastasia’s project aims to increase the capacity of Russian professionals working with at-risk youth. In August, Anastasia presented at the “First Things First” Childhood Summit and visited local organizations in Phoenix, Arizona. After returning to Russia, Anastasia conducted a seminar for Russian professionals at NGOs in Saint Petersburg, a webinar for Russian professionals, and two in-person seminars for social work students from regional universities and other interested parties.