Our Story

On April 26, 1986, the worst nuclear accident in history took place at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Soviet Ukraine. The Unit #4 reactor exploded sending a deadly plume of radioactive material (more than was released at Hiroshima and Nagasaki) into the air. Today, an estimated three million people, including nearly one million children from the republics of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia are suffering the effects of radioactive fallout on their agricultural lands and waterways.

The Chernobyl Children’s Project is one of many groups in Europe, North America, and Asia that have organized grass-roots relief efforts to bring some of the children living in areas affected by the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant. Over a decade after the disaster the legacy of Chernobyl’s environmental, medical, economic and social devastation continues as a daily reality for the people of Belarus, Ukraine, and Western Russia. Fortunately, the effort to bring children out for summer home-stays also endures.

In 1990 Cliff and Connie McClain of Petaluma California traveled to, what is now the former Soviet Union and witnessed the hardships suffered by many as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. They learned of respite programs that sent children throughout Europe to breathe uncontaminated air and eat uncontaminated food and water in hopes of strengthening their immune systems. In the summer of 1991, at the invitation of the McClain’s, a group of ten children with their interpreter arrived in Petaluma for six-week respite.

In order to facilitate a continuing program of summer visits the McClain’s joined with others to establish CCP as a California not-for-profit corporation. CCP is comprised entirely of unpaid volunteers from all walks of life. Since the first group of visiting children in 1991, CCP has helped to bring between 20 and 35 children each summer (depending the availability of host families). CCP collaborates with humanitarian organizations in Belarus and the Ukraine to place 6 to 16 year olds with families throughout the two northern California counties of Sonoma and Marin for approximately six weeks during the summer.

To learn more, please contact our PR coordinator Tatiana Saniuk.