A US - Russia Peer to Peer Dialogue Project
Between Duluth and Petrozavodsk

Welcome to the New Steps Project for At-Risk Children and Families!

In this project, partners in Social Work, City Social Services, Russian Area Studies and a wide array of community organizations and city social services in both Petrozavodsk and Duluth are working together to articulate best practices for dealing with emerging areas of concern for at risk children and families. Our work is collaborative, and the areas of focus in this project are determined as the conversation continues between experts and practitioners working in our communities. At the outset of the project we identified several areas of focus, including Sex Trafficking, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Domestic Abuse, Child Abuse and Raising Emotionally Healthy Children. As we continue, we work to keep our eyes and ears open for new areas of focus, learning as much as we can from each other in what has proven to be a powerful international exchange of experience and expertise.

- during the Student Delegation Program in Duluth in April, 2015

This project has already enabled dozens of primary participants from each city to engage in professional exchanges, as well as a series of ongoing video-conferences, and extended online conversations. Selected students and faculty working in the fields of Social Work, International Studies, Russian Area Studies, Criminology and Legal Studies are working to develop new areas of research and public outreach from the work already accomplished. This project is having direct impact in our communities through several organizations and individuals who have also been involved in presenting and attending the video-conferences and contributing to our broader discussions online.

In Petrozavodsk, a core group of professionals, faculty and students have benefited from participation, including staff from the "Nadezhda" rehabilitation center, the Social Work Department of Petrozavodsk State University, City Social Services, Mother's Heart, Istoki, the Nadezhda Center, and the Minor Affairs Department. Through best practices exchanges, consultations and visits, participants are jointly working to develop new methods of early prevention for at-risk families in our communities.

- group meeting after a conference during the May, 2015 US Student Delegation in Petrozavodsk

In Duluth, faculty and students in Social Work, as well as community organization leaders, practioners and students from the fields of Russian Area Studies, Criminology and International Studies have benefited from dialogue with their partners in Petrozavodsk. Social Work faculty and Russian Area Studies faculty students from the University of Minnesota Duluth, the University of Wisconsin Superior, and the College of St. Scholastica have worked together with community organizations to prepare presentations and develop projects related to the areas of focus outlined above. Community organizations include DAIP's Family Visitation Center, Life House, LSS Youth Crisis Shelters, Men as Peacemakers, Mentor Duluth, Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center and Woodland Hills. For more information on Petrozavodsk and Duluth partners involved in this project, see our partners pages for detailed descriptions and brief biographies.

- Community organization leaders and faculty from Petrozavodsk State University with American hosts during a visit of the Russian Delegation at Woodland Hills in Duluth, December, 2014

Everyone involved in this project has come to recognize that we have much to learn from each other! And we eagerly look forward to the stimulating and enlightening conversations at upcoming video-conferences. Video-conferences last between two and three hours. A presenter or panel of presenters typically introduces a topic for a period of approximately ninety minutes including translation, followed by an extended question and answer and discussion period. Since translated materials are provided in the preceding month, attendees are encouraged to submit questions in advance, whenever possible, so that presenters can be prepared to address them. Local Duluth and Petrozavodsk professionals from several social service agencies are encouraged to attend the video-conferences, and thus offer public outreach and new perspectives for future project development. Email us to join in the discussion online!


Upcoming Video Conferences

Apart from our frequent delegation visits in Duluth and Petrozavodsk, partners from the US and Russia continue to hold videoconferences.
Contact us for more info and please come and participate!

Humanitarian Award

We won the Innovation Award for Humanitarian Assistance! Yay! Let's keep up the good work.

Our Partners:







And many more, click here
to visit our partner pages...