Misha Wines was adopted from Russia when he was an infant, and his start in life set the stage for his passion for helping others. Misha, a member of St. Monica Boy Scout Troop 412 and a junior at Dallas Lutheran School, completed his Eagle Scout project on a recent trip to Guatemala. This was Misha’s third trip to Guatemala with Women for Orphans Worldwide (WOW), an auxiliary of Orphan Outreach. This summer alone, five trips to Guatemala were filled with WOW families and youth who reside in and around the Park Cities and Highland Park communities of Dallas, Texas.

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Misha’s Eagle Scout project included designing and constructing safety and directional signage, working with friends and members of Troop 412 in Dallas. He then brought the signs to Guatemala and supervised their installation at the Ravine School in Chimaltenango. In addition, he brought both smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Last summer, Misha had visited both the school and the dump where many of the students’ parents work. He was overwhelmed by what he saw. “It is hard to imagine watching children much younger than me digging through trash to make enough money to eat. When I learned about how excited the children are to be able to go to school and read and write, it made me reflect on all the years my family has provided me to attend private school.”

It was there that Misha learned about the school’s need of the safety equipment and signage as part of their accreditation in Guatemala. He knew immediately he wanted to help. “All of my life I have known I was adopted, and I’ve wanted to ‘pay it forward’ by helping orphans and vulnerable children.” In addition to helping the school, he created another 30 signs for Mi Especial Tesoro, a home that offers safety and refuge to young girls who are victims of abuse. “It was touching to see first-hand how much they loved the signs and how happy the children are.”

Misha’s return to Guatemala was made even more memorable by those who joined him on the journey. He traveled with his family (Brad, Tiffany and Inna, who was also adopted from Russia) and his Godmother, Margo Isbell and her son Andrew. The Isbells had been at the airport to celebrate Misha’s adoption when he arrived from Russia in 1998. They then followed suit, adopting their daughter Olivia from Guatemala eight years later. Tiffany and Inna Wines, along with Margo, are two of the founding families of the Dallas WOW auxiliary, and Margo serves as WOW’s current President.

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Tiffany added, “Our adoption from Russia allowed both the Isbells and our family to see the desperate need of orphans and vulnerable children, and through the WOW auxiliary we have been able to give back to these children by making a difference in their lives through education and meeting critical needs. We are so proud of Misha and his decision to help orphans with his Eagle project. We will forever be thankful for all the leaders at Troop 412 for their support. We thank God everyday for the gift of adopting Inna and Misha, and allowing us to serve children in need around the world.”