Katie Schnable ('05)
Raising support for Russian orphans
"I knew nothing about Russia, other than people telling me it had a lot of orphanages. I like kids and I like experiencing new things, so I took a leap of faith and hopped on the plane," says Katie Schnable, about her first trip to a Russian orphanage in 2003. This world changer has since traveled to the country 10 times and she says, "Each trip is completely different from the last." A typical orphanage that Katie visits consists of approximately 400 mentally or physically disabled children, and she completes tasks ranging from feeding the kids to repairing the buildings. Reflecting on her experiences in Russia, Katie says, "These forgotten children of society have taught me more than I could even put into words. They have shown me joy does not come from our possessions or our circumstances." Back in the states, Katie, a special education teacher in Loudoun County, Va., works to raise support and awareness for these orphans. She recently organized a charity exhibition, "Orphans Expressing Themselves Through Art," and sold the children's artwork and her own Russian landscape photography to benefit the children. "I work with disabled children in my job as well as at the orphanage. All of these kids can create things that express their feelings in a way they are not normally able to express through language."
"I am a firm believer that if we all took on a cause to be passionate about and serve, the world would take care of itself. Positive change would be a natural byproduct of all of us serving and learning from one another."