Supporting bright futures for children

I am truly inspired by the humanitarian efforts my fellow Russian-Americans are doing to improve the lives of children around the world.

Bright Future International, founded by Russian-Americans, is dedicated to encouraging children to develop compassion, self worth, humility and a desire to help others. Based in Kildeer, IL, the organization aids children in Russia, Rwanda, Panama, Burundi and the United States.

On Jan. 21, I was privileged to attend a fundraising gala in Chicago for Bright Future International that featured exquisite ballet performances, singers from the Metropolitan Opera and famous musicians from Russia. Many Russian-Americans from all over the Chicago area attended the black-tie affair to support the cause.

The goal of the gala was to raise money for BFI’s new initiative, “Everything Real ― to Children,” which will launch after-school programs at local community centers in Chicago that will encourage children to help each other, work together as a team, and enhance their self-esteem.

Founded in September 2010, BFI has already organized several projects and awareness campaigns. This Christmas, stars like Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, Jordin Sparks, Larry King and others came together to make a music video to promotes the idea of peace and tolerance despite differences in race, religion, sex and class.

At the gala, I was moved to bid on an auction item to appear in the organization’s next video campaign, and I was lucky enough to win!

I am proud to support such a forward-thinking organization, and I wish them the greatest success.