If you have made another person on this earth smile,
your life has been worthwhile.
-Sr. Mary Christelle Macaluso 
 
 
 
Meet Our Volunteers

AOS History

 

 

 

 

Friends from California, Kansas, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Israel shared a special vision to create an organization that values and supports the older orphaned children of Ukraine.  Together after countless hours of discussion and collaboration, they formed An Orphan Smiles.  In November 2008 they held their very first in-person meeting in Denver, CO where they planned and kicked off brand new programs and projects.  In 2009 An Orphan Smiles became incorporated, and the organization has been helping create many smiles since!

 

 

 

 

 

Bogdan Bashtovyi

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Bogdan runs the Graduate Support Center in Kyiv. He works with young adults that have "graduated" from the orphanage system providing mentoring, skills training, legal assistance, help with food and housing, and whatever it takes to keep these kids in vocational school or employed, off the streets and safe. Bogdan is our in-country contact for the GAP program at Tsurupinsk and Kyiv. He provides valuable support to all our programs in an advisory capacity. Bogdan has a degree in law and is also a freelance translator. He has visited with several of our volunteers in the United States.

 

 

 

Kathy Dabundo

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In addition to An Orphan Smiles volunteer, Kathy is a mechanical engineer, wife and mother of four children: Three sons and a daughter, all still in school (high school through university).  Kathy lives in Pennsylvania, USA.  She likes to travel (whenever possible), read, stay fit, get together with friends and spend time outdoors - especially near a body of water.

 

 

 

 

 

Dan Frost

Hello!  My name is Dan and I live in London, England.  My desire to help orphans in Ukraine was sparked when I was volunteering in Cherkassy, Ukraine on another program where I met a guy who had been sponsoring a child in a Ukrainian orphanage.   After checking out An Orphan Smiles I decided to jump into the deep end and sponsor three kids, and haven't looked back.   I’ve had the privilege of visiting Mykolaivka Internat and I look forward to the day when I can return, and have rings run around me on the football field by these very talented kids!

 

Christi Guess

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Christi is a Native Texan, raised about 2 hours northwest of Dallas in the small city of Wichita Falls.  After graduating from Midwestern State University with degrees in English literature and history, she began a career with the U.S. Air Force as a procurement officer and contract manager.  Eventually, Christi transitioned away from federal employment and moved to Dallas, Texas where she has resided for almost 20 years with her partner, Kathleen and their three awesome dogs – Atticus, Millie and Rosie.  Christi remains in the professional contract management business, having worked in the healthcare procurement industry for more than 10 years.  Hobbies and interests include reading military history, traveling to National Parks and scuba diving destinations, watching television documentaries, listening to music and swimming.  In addition to volunteering with An Orphan Smiles as a child sponsor and Donations Opportunity Coordinator, Christi also serves as an officer of the Board for the Spay Neuter Network of North Texas.  Prior philanthropic work includes a long tenure as a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society TEAM IN TRAINING race walking captain and fundraising mentor for distance volunteer athletes working to raise money for blood cancer research and patient support.  Christi also tutors individuals wishing to improve their English language skills on a private, unpaid basis.  

 

 

Wendy Hite

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My husband and I adopted our first daughter, Aleeza, from Ukraine in November 2004 near Odessa. She was 8 years old at the time. When we were there for her adoption, we discovered that she had a biological sister, Olivia (Olga), who was 13, deaf, and in another orphanage for deaf children 3 hours away. We returned to Ukraine in June 2005 to adopt Olivia. Our family wanted to volunteer for An Orphan Smiles so we can give back to the country who blessed us with our amazing daughters. We have a special place in our hearts for the orphans who are older and also have disabilities. Seeing how much a difference even small contributions make to the children's lives is so rewarding. The volunteers with AOS share a common love for the welfare of the children in Ukraine, and this is what truly makes this organization unique!! Our daughters are also able to give back to their country and embrace their heritage.

 

Phyllis Hunsucker

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I live in Kherson, Ukraine with my husband and four children. They keep me busy most of all, but every week I also visit Tsyurupinsk Children's Home to work with the most severely disabled and bed-bound kids there. Other than my usual weekly visits, I also get to help some through various projects for these orphans and others, and travelling a bit to keep in touch with "my" kids who have aged out. We have lived in Russia and Ukraine since 2001 and truly consider this part of the world our home. Our focus is on serving orphans here.

 

 

 

 

Natalia Kandybin

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Natalia is a chemical engineer by training, and works as a process engineer in environmental services area.  She is also a mother to a grown daughter, who works and lives in Manhattan, and a teenage son, who is a budding violinist.  In her free time, when she has it, Natalia likes to hike, listen to a lot of music (either by her son, or with her son), cook with her daughter, play piano and read.  She is happy to put her bilingual skills to a good use, to help An Orphan Smiles with translations.

 

 

 

 

Jane Mitchell

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Jane was our in-country liaison for the KIDS and GAP programs at Mykolaivka Internat prior to moving back to her home country of Australia, and has served on the Board of An Orphan Smiles.  Her many experiences of traveling to the orphanages regularly have provided valuable insight for our programs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leslie Reinhold

altHello! I am Leslie. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have sponsored 5 kids through An Orphan Smiles and have volunteered coordinating our sponsorship programs.  I've been fortunate to visit Ukraine a few times and to host some of the older kids in my home. Before focusing on the older children, I was helping a baby orphanage in Western Ukraine. This has been such a blessing in my life and the life of my family. If you are considering involvement in this wonderful cause, I say go for it! These children are precious. You will never regret putting smiles on their faces. I am so grateful that I can associate with wonderful people who wish upon my same star and have gigantic hearts. One of my favorite sayings, because it makes it all sound simple…“By small things, great things are brought to pass.” My hope is that together, we can do some really great things.

 

 

 

 

Victoria Rybalov

altHi, my name is Victoria. Originally I am from Ukraine. I was born in Kiev, finished school and University there, but one day my family moved to America. Now I live in Los Angeles, California and I love it. I live with my husband and 2 children. Also I have a big family in LA and every holiday we have a big table for 25-30 people. All my life, since 15, I wanted to help kids without parents. But my life was so busy with immigration, my kids and family, work, etc. Last year I got to the point that something is missing in my life. My kids are already grown- son is 17 and daughter is 22. Everybody in my family has income and do not worry much about the future. I have my own business, BuyRussianGifts.com, but I always was thinking about kids without love. I search many different websites and AnOrphanSmales.com was the most interesting for me. I am proud that I am involved with this organization. I believe every kid deserves love and care from someone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diane Sitkowski

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Diane is an adoptive parent of two daughters. Her family spent a month in Ukraine in 2003 while adopting their younger daughter.   This journey was an unforgettable family experience. Since that time Diane has devoted many volunteer hours giving back to the country and the orphanage where her daughter lived. There are so many needs not only for the babies, but the older children as well. She is looking forward to sharing in the effort to help these children through An Orphan Smiles. Diane works part time as an Engineering Consultant for Valero Energy Corp.

 

  

 

 

Elizabeth Sitkowski

Liz SitkowskiElizabeth Sitkowski is a Communication major at Edinboro University with minors in Cinema & Journalism and will be graduating in May 2016. She traveled to Ukraine in 2003 with her family for the adoption of her younger sister and has helped her family support various orphanages since that time. She is excited to help promote An Orphan Smiles through various Social Media outlets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missy Smith

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Hi! My name is Missy and I am from Surprise, Arizona where I live with my husband and our four kids.  I have always wanted to help orphaned children so I was happy to find An Orphan Smiles where I am able to volunteer my time, and hopefully make a difference in the lives of as many kids as possible.  Our family currently sponsors three Myko KIDS and we have sponsored a GAP student in the past.

 

 

 

 

Staci Stroud

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I am a big proponent of SMILES and helping these kids, so AOS is a great fit for me!  I grew up in California but now reside in Michigan.  My job includes newsletter creation, so I am happy to use those skills for such a great organization.  Along with sponsoring kids, I am a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters.  My hobbies include penpalling (I have several penfriends), photography, reading, crafts, movies, and all things creative.  

 

 

 

 

 

Evan Villwock

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Evan is a graduate from Drexel University in Philadelphia with a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Management Information Systems.  Evan enjoys working with computers and is glad to have an opportunity to volunteer with An Orphan Smiles as Webmaster. 

Evan's cousin was adopted from an Ukrainian Orphanage.

 

 

 

 

 

Debbie Walker

alt Debbie and her family reside near Seattle, Washington, where she practices professionally in healthcare as a Registered Nurse. She and her husband currently have four children... two home grown, and two who were adopted from Tsurupinsk Childrens Home in Kherson, Ukraine. During both adoptions from Tsurupinsk, Debbie and her family grew to know and love many of the orphans there. They also recognized how the resources for these children were stretched very thinly to cover their medical, educational and physical needs. Upon returning home, Debbie began seeking organizations who could help this orphanage. She was thrilled when An Orphan Smiles began the Tsurupinsk Graduate Assistance Program and next, the Art Supply program, for which she currently volunteers to send art supplies to the dear children left behind.

 

 

 

Petra Zaggman

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My name is Petra Zaagman. and I live in the Netherlands.  I am studying Child Development and Education and am currently majoring in Education Studies at Leiden University.  My parents always emphasized compassion and love in my and my sisters’ upbringing, so when I was introduced to An Orphan Smiles,I was sold instantly! I have been a sponsor for the KIDS program for a few years now, and have recently become coordinator of the Tsurupinsk Birthday Program.  I’m glad I can help out with this wonderful project, these children are so very deserving!

 

 

 

 

Our Special Thanks

To all of our volunteers, present and past, who have faithfully dedicated their love, time, gifts and talents in brightening the lives of many orphaned children… An Orphan Smiles thanks you!