|Meet Lana (Krstich) Manikowski
Lifeline Associate Group Member
In 2013 I was fortunate enough to join Melanie Sever and a group of 30+ others on a Lifeline Mission to Serbia. I don't think I was prepared for how the experience would change my life. In the years leading up to this trip, I attended a few of Lifeline's Chicago area fundraisers and participated in the annual Christmas clothing drives with my church in East Chicago, Indiana. I later learned that the work is way beyond that - it is never ending and those that volunteer with Lifeline, put their heart and soul into helping the people of Serbia on a daily basis.
I saw so much on that first trip in 2013. The experience changed me. Cribs full of sleepng infants with no mother to feed them. Beautiful, smiling preschoolers proudly showing off their neatly kept rooms. Teenaged boys and girls who are victims of human sexual trafficking. Mentally ill adults sitting dazed in the corner of an old army barracks, that they now call home. It was hard for me to fathom. These are our people. Serbians. I had to do more.
I've now been on two mission trips to Serbia. Each time I see more and more of the help that Lifeline Chicago has given - it is astounding. I've met hundreds of children and adults who have been helped by Lifeline.
As a member of the Lifeline Chicago Associate Board, we've been fortunate to help:
- raise money to rebuild a school in Grabovac that was severely damaged by floods;
- provide new mattresses for Kovin mental hospital and several orphanages;
- deliver livestock, sewing machines and tractors for our Serbs in Kosovo;
- build a greenhouse to provide occupational therapy for the mentally ill.
And the list goes on.
I am so grateful for the many people that have attended our events and donated to our causes. We could never do it without their generous support. The truth of the matter is, as much as we have helped our Serbian people, the gift of giving is much greater. I'm beyond grateful to be part of Lifeline Chicago.