Happy Independence Day everyone! This year has flown by so quickly. Let us take this opportunity to share some wonderful news regarding our wonderful orphan college students. On June 24, UCARE held a party to celebrate the graduations of twelve of our students! Previous graduates were also invited to the party, which was held at a restaurant on the banks of the Dnieper River. We enclose a photograph taken at the graduation party.
UCARE’s U.S. volunteers prepared a message to the graduates, which was read to them by Marta Kolomayets, a very dedicated and hardworking UCARE volunteer living in Kyiv. Marta works closely with Tanya Hrytsiv, UCARE’s employee who spends much of her time working with our sponsored students. Tanya teaches English at the Kyiv Mohyla Academia, so she brings not only her English skills, but also a special empathy for our college students to her work. Thank you so much to Marta and Tanya for all of their hard work, patience and efforts on behalf of our wonderful students!
We also provided a small monetary gift of $50 to each graduating student. With their graduation, the students will face new financial challenges and a high cost of living in Kyiv, so they were grateful for this small gift. But, if these smart, hardworking, talented students have challenges now, imagine where they would be without the education which you helped them acquire!
At this meeting, UCARE also presented a speaker from the governmental center of employment, who advised the new graduates about their job search. A Ukrainian psychologist, who has supported UCARE by providing service free of charge, also presented a workshop for the students. Our students come to us with a variety of needs, which we do our best to address. UCARE also helps the students locate free medical and dental care. As you may imagine, many of these young people need such assistance.
We also have an extraordinary UCARE graduate to tell you about! Darya Trushkina, who was sponsored through UCARE, graduated and has provided many, many hours of dedicated volunteer service to UCARE, has recently achieved some amazing things. First, Darya earned a Fulbright Scholarship. As if the Fulbright were not enough, Darya also earned a Muskie Scholarship.
Because the Muskie program better met her academic goals, Darya accepted the Muskie program’s offer and plans to study in the U.S., starting this coming fall. Darya will student the management and administration of non-profit organizations. Upon completion of her Master’s Degree, Darya plans to use her education and considerable skills to assist orphans in Ukraine. Darya is such a splendid example of our students’ talents and abilities, as well as our hopes for all of our graduates. We are grateful for her dedication to UCARE and will proudly watch her progress in the years to come.
Finally, UCARE volunteers are busily working with Tanya Hrytsiv to plan a route for this coming September. We expect the route, at which we plan to visit some extremely needy orphanages, to take about two weeks. During this time, we will travel with one or two sponsored college students. In the past, we have found that traveling with these students not only provides the college students with a useful experience, their presence also enriches our trip and provides a true beacon of hope to all of the orphans the students meet.
Without our saying a word, the mere presence of these college students teaches the orphanage residents that there is hope and that other orphans have managed to attend college and succeed, so they can too. Last year, sponsored college students spoke to older children at the orphanages we visited, urging them to apply to college and telling them about the UCARE sponsorship program. Many of these children had never before heard that college was an option for them. To hear this from someone who grew up in similar circumstances adds a whole new level of credibility to the message.
At the conclusion of our upcoming route, we plan to meet with more sponsored college students, for interviews typically taking about an hour. During these interviews, we try to get to know your students a bit better, so we can tell you more about them. If we have interviewed a student you sponsor, we already sent you a report about your student, their letter to you and their photograph. Our goal is to interview each student at least once, during their years of sponsorship. It is such an honor and privilege to get to know these extraordinary young people. Thank you so much for participating in their education, helping them leave their orphanage years behind and transition to a brighter, more hope filled future.
Very truly yours,
Margaret Lynch and Alexandra Kosogof UCARE Scholarship Committee